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All is well over at the Nou Camp these days, with Ernesto Valverde’s side through to the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 2-0 win over Sporting Lisbon last night and currently sitting pretty at the top of La Liga.

However, Barcelona are expected to splash the cash in the New Year with Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho being their chief target.

The Catalan giants were criticised after spending a large period of the summer chasing Coutinho as a replacement for fellow countryman Neymar, who moved to Paris Saint-Germain this summer for a world record transfer fee.

The Reds showed great resilience to retain the services of our Brazilian star and rebuffed each Barcelona offer, insisting that the midfielder was not for sale. Coutinho, however, was adamant about moving to Spain but was forced to stay put after our manager Jurgen Klopp insisted he would not be going anywhere.

Since the move didn’t materialise, Coutinho has struggled to find his best form. However, of late, the playmaker has regained his form and again illustrated himself as a pivotal element in manager Klopp’s setup. He was just sublime in the 5-1 victory over Brighton last weekend in the Premier League and continues to flourish in a Liverpool jersey.

That being said, adding Coutinho to the squad in January would provide a mid-season boost in overall quality for Barcelona, who are also through to the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

With the Catalan outfit set to make a move for the Brazilian, ex-Reds striker Luis Suarez, however, insists he remains uninformed of any potential transfer deals at Camp Nou.

Suarez and Coutinho maintain a close bond from their time at Liverpool, having spent 18 months at Anfield together. It is believed the Uruguayan has urged the Barcelona hierarchy to step up their efforts in luring Coutinho away from Anfield in January.

Yet, Suarez says he is unaware of Barcelona’s possible signings or departures.

“There is a lot of speculation at the moment about players who can come and others who can leave, but we remain unaware of this,” Suarez was quoted in a report by Marca (h/t Daily Star).

The Uruguay striker, who spent three years at Anfield before moving to Barcelona, also defended the club’s summer transfer dealings, saying:

“Neymar is a different and special player who expected many things.”

“Different players who also contribute a lot have arrived, such as Gerard Deulofeu, who had already been at the club.

“Also Paulinho, who has quietened many critics and is performing at a very high level since he arrived,” Suarez added.

It is good that Suarez is unaware of the happenings regarding the transfer and it is probably because sometimes the board does the dealings silently behind the screens. Irrespective of whether Barcelona try to sign him or not, the point is that Coutinho is crucial to our team and we have to keep hold of him. Case closed.

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Liverpool create history: Five talking points from emphatic 3-0 win over Southampton

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Liverpool looked comfortable in their 3-0 win over Southampton as we scored all our goals in the first half.

Xherdan Shaqiri was instrumental in two of our goals as Wesley Hoedt opened the scoring by slotting into his own net.

Joel Matip made it two from a corner before Shaqiri’s free-kick was tapped in by Mohamed Salah after it came off the post.

The win made it six out of six in the Premier League and kept up our relentless pace at the top of the table.

Our next game is the Carabao Cup clash against Chelsea and here are the five talking points from the win at Anfield.

1) Back the Shaq

The Swiss star got his first start for the Reds and he was brilliant. The former Stoke City attacker was all over Southampton like a bad rash and his shot in the first half was deflected into the net by Hoedt.

The 26-year-old played an advanced role just behind the front three and his movement was key to unlocking the Saints’ defence a number of times.

Shaqiri will have more difficult games in the future but the Swiss attacker will be an important player for us this season, especially when we are up against some teams that sit back and defend deep.

2) Liverpool don’t get out of second gear

Although the first half was great from the Reds, we didn’t really rip Southampton to shreds as we have done to some of the lower-ranked sides.

Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino had chances to score more goals and make it look like a tennis score but this Liverpool side is still not as fluid as last season’s.

The recent game against PSG certainly had a role to play in our sluggishness. Our game management was great though, as the Saints didn’t trouble us and the best of the Reds is yet to come this season.

3) History made once again

Liverpool made more history after this win as we recorded our best-ever start to a season. Seven wins in seven games is no laughing matter and we have faced some tough teams such as PSG and Tottenham.

The Reds have looked brilliant this season and we all want that one thing missing in our trophy cabinet and hopefully, we will have another historic moment to speak about at the end of the season.

4) Van Dijk and Gomez are stars

Our attack is one of the best in the world but our defence is also slowly getting there. It was a surprise seeing Joel Matip start as he could have done with the minutes in midweek against Chelsea.

Virgil van Dijk

Van Dijk was great though and he kept things tight at the back before being replaced by Gomez.

Changing a defensive pairing with a young player after half-time would have been a concern for us a few years ago.

However, Gomez isn’t any young player and the Englishman was rock-solid after coming on. The youngster didn’t make a single mistake in the game and has only gotten better this season.

5) Another clean sheet for Liverpool

Liverpool started the season with three clean sheets and made it a fourth of the season after conceding goals in their last three clashes.

The defence wasn’t tested and Alisson made his first save of the game only in stoppage time.

Read more: Chelsea superstar will think about joining Liverpool after being requested by fan

This makes it seven clean sheets in a row at Anfield, which is an incredible feat, given that we weren’t the tightest defence a couple of years ago.

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“Legend”, “Never leave” – Some Liverpool fans want star to extend stay after brilliant start

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James Milner

James Milner is playing like a 20-year-old this season and that has helped us to an incredible start.

Liverpool are perfect and even recorded a fantastic 3-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League. The recent win against Southampton helped the Reds record 7 successive wins. But amidst it all, Milner has been a solid force.

The Englishman scored a penalty against PSG and has two goals and two assists to his name this season. The 32-year-old has been one of our best players and his form has kept out the likes of Fabinho and even Jordan Henderson at times.

The former Manchester City and Leeds United man is a thorough professional and he recently tweeted an image before the Reds’ game against the Saints.

A number of fans showed their support to the Englishman and a few even wanted Liverpool to present him a new contract.

Read more: “It’s disgraceful and it doesn’t represent our Egyptian fans” – Official supporters group issues support to Liverpool star

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“Imperious performance”, “Already a better career than Charlie Adam” – Some Liverpool fans go crazy after brilliant first-half by summer signing

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Liverpool handed Xherdan Shaqiri his first start of the season and the Swiss star did a pretty good job against Southampton.

The former Stoke attacker was given a free role in the midfield and he got us going with a hand in two goals. The Swiss star only got 45 minutes on the pitch before he was replaced by James Milner but he looked fantastic.

Apart from pressurizing the opposition into losing the ball, the attacker’s passing was spot on as well. The 26-year-old’s shot in the first half was turned into the net by Wesley Hoedt. He then came up with a wonderful free-kick that cannoned off the crossbar for Mohamed Salah to tap in.

The 26-year-old should receive more starts and some fans loved his performance, even though he didn’t get a goal.

Read more: Liverpool target dreams of meeting NBA legend LeBron James

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