Philippe Coutinho

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Report: Real Madrid enter race to sign Philippe Coutinho

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This is not the first time Real Madrid and Barcelona have gone head-to-head to try and sign a player and it certainly won’t be the last.

A report from Mundo Deportivo in Spain say that Real Madrid have contacted Liverpool about trying to sign Coutinho, 25, in January.

The reported fee for the Brazilian playmaker is said to be around $174 million and per the report, Real want to sign him during the January transfer window rather than next summer when competition will be greater for his signature.

Coutinho has already expressed his desire to leave Liverpool for Barcelona when multiple bids from the Catalan club were turned down in the summer transfer window.

The Brazilian star has since been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain to link up with his good friend and former Barca star Neymar, while his form on the pitch has been up and down despite stunning goals against Leicester and Newcastle in the Premier League.

Which club would suit Coutinho best?

Quite simply, he’s the type of player who could slot into any team and make it better but it would seem that Barcelona would be his best fit as a direct replacement for Andres Iniesta who isn’t getting any younger. At Real he would have plenty of competition from Isco, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric for a role in the center of the pitch but you can understand why the reigning European champs are considering a bid for Coutinho.

With Zinedine Zidane’s men struggling at the start of the season in La Liga and the Champions League, pipping Barca to the signing of Coutinho would give everyone a boost at the Santiago Bernabeu and also give them a chance of kicking on in the second half of the season.

Still, Liverpool would have to agree to sell Coutinho and with Jurgen Klopp and Co. incredibly reliant on the Brazilian forward, it seems as if that’s unlikely, particularly in January with the Reds all but sealing qualification to the Champions League knockout stages. That said, Liverpool are 12 points off leaders Manchester City already and by January their title hopes could be over.

Maybe that would be a good time to cash in on Coutinho and bring in defensive reinforcements.

Transfer news: Coutinho to PSG; Meunier to Man United

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Paris Saint-Germain have made Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho their top target for next summer, according to TF1.

[ MORE: Morata unhappy in London? ]

The French outlet claim that Coutinho’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, met PSG’s sporting director in a London hotel last week to discuss the future of Coutinho among many other topics.

As the report points out, the fact that Coutinho’s good friend Neymar signed for PSG in a world-record $265 million transfer from Barcelona in the summer could play a key part in the Brazilian midfielder joining PSG over Barca.

Coutinho made his intentions clear in the summer that he wanted to leave Liverpool for Barcelona but with the Reds standing firm and rejecting multiple bids from the Catalan giants, it appears an all-out battle between PSG and Barcelona next summer could see Coutinho’s transfer fee increase further.

Liverpool’s stance will likely remain that Coutinho isn’t for sale at any price, but the other issue here is simply how PSG can get away with this.

Already accused of wrongdoing by many other clubs across Europe when it comes to UEFA’s Financial Fair Play rules and the signings of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar over the summer, spending close to another $180 million on Coutinho would surely tip PSG over the edge of FFP regulations despite their Qatari owners able to bankroll any deal PSG need.

Liverpool fans have been treated to some stunners from Coutinho this season (see: free kick at Leicester; powerful curler at Newcastle) but despite him getting on with his business on the pitch the Brazilian continues to be at the center of speculation off it.


Staying with PSG, their Belgian right back Thomas Meunier is wanted by Real Madrid, Juventus and Manchester United, according to reports in Spain and Italy.

Meunier, 26, is said to be valued at around $40 million and the Belgian international has fallen behind Dani Alves in the pecking order at the Parc des Princes this season, much to his annoyance.

Speaking in a recent interview the former Club Brugge man revealed he was fine with rotating with Serge Aurier at right back for PSG last season but now feels totally out of Unai Emery’s plans.

“Since Alves arrived I asked myself questions, this is sure,” Meunier said. “After the good season I had last year, I told myself I would be needed, to be a bit more grateful and that my status within the line-up had changed. Emery tells me he didn’t forget the work done and that he considers me. The problem is that I feel like a second option.”

Outside of veterans Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young (who are wingers by trade) playing at right back, Mourinho’s other options in that position include an often shaky Matteo Darmian or playing center backs Phil Jones or Eric Bailly at right back.

Meunier’s ability to drive forward from right back and connect passes and whip in inviting crosses would be very useful for a United attack spearheaded by Romelu Lukaku or Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Mourinho was on the hunt for a wide player all summer long but didn’t prevail.

Is Meunier the man for Mourinho? In a World Cup year, perhaps Meunier will arrive at Old Trafford in January.

Premier League Preview: Liverpool vs. Huddersfield Town

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  • Town leads all-time 30W-17D-26L
  • Reds three points shy of Top Four
  • Town can pass LFC with win

Friendlies aside, this is a first in a while for Liverpool, Huddersfield Town, and their managers.

Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds meet David Wagner‘s Terriers for the first time in Premier League history, the “best friends” guiding the first league match-up between the teams since 1972 (Watch live at 10 a.m. ET Saturday on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

[ MORE: Kane out versus Man Utd ]

Huddersfield leads the all-time series but multiple generations would be forgiven for appreciating that, seeing as Town last beat Liverpool in 1959. Since that November date, Liverpool boasts a 7W-3D mark against the Terriers.

Sadio Mane and Adam Lallana remain out until at least the international break, according to Klopp, while Philippe Coutinho‘s status is in question for the Reds.

What they’re saying

Klopp on the injured Coutinho: “Last week he had back problems. It settled with treatment, he was fit for the game, this week he had an abductor problem, it’s not clear so far if he’s out tomorrow. We’ll make the decision after training today. He didn’t train yesterday.”

Town manager Wagner on facing off with Klopp“It is extraordinary, yes, because he is my best friend and he is the manager of Liverpool but I think the real and more important story is that Huddersfield Town meets Liverpool in the Premier League and in a competitive game; no-one should forget that this is the extraordinary story.”

Prediction

If Coutinho joins Mane on the sidelines, Town will fancy its chances to grab a point at Liverpool. The Reds have been anything but dominant in the midfield, providing a real opportunity for Aaron Mooy to further impress the Premier League. Still, we think Liverpool finds a way to a 2-1 win.

Follow @NicholasMendola

Maribor 0-7 Liverpool: Reds finally finish

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Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool has been frustrated on English soil, and let loose its misery on Maribor with a 7-0 win in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah nabbed braces, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, and Philippe Coutinho also scored for the Reds.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Liverpool finishes the day atop Group E thanks to Spartak Moscow’s blowout of visiting Sevilla.

The Reds took a 3-0 lead before the match was 20 minutes old, and led 4-0 at the break at Ljudski Vrt in Slovenia.

Ballon d’Or shortlisters revealed: Alexis, Pogba, Bale left off

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France Football has released the names on its 30-man shortlist for the 2017 Ballon D’Or.

[ MORE: Yedlin fills USMNT void ]

The list includes seven Premier League players, one each from Spurs, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, and Liverpool.

Before we get to who is on the list, how about who isn’t? Gareth Bale of Real Madrid and Wales is absent, as is Bayern Munich backstop Manuel Neuer and Premier League stars Alexis Sanchez, Paul Pogba, and Hugo Lloris.

Remember: the list takes into account play with both club and country.

Here’s the entire list. Who is the most notable omission?

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Borussia Dortmund/Gabon)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid/France)
Leonardo Bonucci (AC Milan/Italy)
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus/Italy)
Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain/Uruguay)
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool/Brazil)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City/Belgium)
David De Gea (Manchester United/Spain)
Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)
Edin Dzeko (Roma/Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Radamel Falcao (Monaco/Colombia)
Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid/France)
Eden Hazard (Chelsea/Belgium)
Mats Hummels (Bayern Munich/Germany)
Isco (Real Madrid/Spain)
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur/England)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea/France)
Toni Kroos (Real Madrid/Germany)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)
Marcelo (Real Madrid/Brazil)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain/France)
Dries Mertens (Napoli/Belgium)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Argentina)
Luka Modric (Real Madrid/Croatia)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)
Jan Oblak (Atletico Madrid/Slovenia)
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid/Spain)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid/Portugal)
Luis Suarez (Barcelona/Uruguay)