Tag Archives: Philippe Coutinho

Gabriel Jesus scores for Brazil and ends Germany’s unbeaten streak

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Gabriel Jesus scored Brazil as the South American nation defeated Germany by 1-0 in Berlin to end the hosts’ 22-game unbeaten run.

For some, it may also restore some lost pride for the five-time world champions following the humiliating mismatch between the two sides in their previous meeting, when Germany crushed the hosts by 7-1 in the 2014 World Cup semi-final in Belo Horizonte.

It also meant that Joachim Low’s side, the reigning world champions and the team top of the world rankings, lost for the first time since a 2-0 defeat by France in the semi-finals of Euro 2016.

Gabriel Jesus’s first-half header settled the friendly seven minutes before the interval when the goalkeeper, Kevin Trapp, flapped at his powerful but centrally positioned header and allowed the ball go in.

Jesus had also missed a good chance minutes earlier when he left two Germany defenders sprawling on a counterattack and then fired over with only the goalkeeper to beat.

On the other side of the pitch, Ilkay Gundogan had the home side’s best chance when he mishit the ball after Julian Draxler pulled it back.

There was also a contentious moment in the game as the referee, Jonas Eriksson, asked the Brazil captain, Dani Alves, to calm his players down after Toni Kroos felt the effect of yet another robust challenge.

Despite their lead, Brazil emerged with more intent after the break, with Antonio Rüdiger blocking Willian and Paulinho drawing a good save from Trapp off the rebound, before Philippe Coutinho fired just over.

The Barcelona forward was also denied when Joshua Kimmich produced a vital interception, and Jesus missed an open goal from the resultant corner.

As the game later, Sandro Wagner twice headed good chances wide but that was as close as Germany got as Brazil adopted a 6-3-1 formation to protect their lead.

Coutinho’s departure “shouldn’t affect” Reds — Oxlade-Chamberlain

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Philippe Coutinho’s £142m move to Barcelona will not damage Liverpool according to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The former Arsenal player who moved to Liverpool in the closing days of the transfer window last summer also described Coutinho’s departure as “strictly business”, and the responsibility of every Liverpool player to compensate for the second biggest transfer fee of all time.

“I haven’t really even thought about Phil leaving,” he said. “You pay it attention and you realise it happens but you can’t think: ‘What are we going to do now that Phil is not here?’. It can’t be that at all. It’s business as usual.”

“When Phil didn’t play in some games we still played great football and we still have amazing players who can score goals – the likes of Mo [Salah], Sadio [Mané], Roberto [Firmino] and everyone else. We have goals and creativity all over the team.”

“Obviously Phil added to that, there is no doubt about that. The fact is he has gone now and we have to think about what we have got that is going to get the job done. I have every faith in the boys that we just move on now. I don’t think it should affect us at all.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain added that Coutinho’s departure represents “an opportunity for me, just as it is for the rest of the boys who want to play there”.

“You want to play as much as possible but I am not the type of character to go bursting walls down. I knew coming into a new environment that the manager would want me to learn the way he wants me to play and how to play best with the team. I respected I was the new boy and I had a lot of learning to do.”

“The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is how this manager likes to stop situations at source and how he likes to attack is slightly different to how my manager before [Arsene Wenger] liked to attack. There’s not really one right and one wrong way but after six years at one club certain things become second nature to you and it takes time to break that instinct.”

FC Barcelona to pay Liverpool at least £130m for Philippe Coutinho

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FC Barcelona could complete a long-proposed coup for Brazil playmaker Philippe Coutinho, although it will take the second highest transfer fee in history to move Liverpool.

The Reds rejected three bids from Barcelona in the summer — but despite the third being worth up to €130m and including €40m in potential add-ons, manager Jurgen Klopp and club officials stated that the 25-year-old was not for sale.

However, it was understood that the stance has since softened and Coutinho’s representatives have continued to explore the possibility of Liverpool sanctioning their client’s departure to the Camp Nou.

There was further speculation as Nike, Barcelona’s kit supplier and a Coutinho sponsor, incorrectly announced a deal had been done on Saturday but Liverpool are not taking legal action over the story and Klopp dismissed it at Burnley, claiming he could not be less interested.

Still, it remains that the Liverpool manager, who has been repeatedly questioned about Coutinho’s mooted departure in recent weeks, has been reluctant to state the Brazilian will remain at Anfield until the end of the season — unlike in the summer and perhaps wary of upsetting an in-form player.

Despite a foiled move in the summer, Coutinho, who also had a transfer request rejected and missed the first few games of the season with a back injury, kept his best form and scored 12 goals in 20 appearances as well as playing a significant role in their progress to the Champions League knockout stage.

This meant that Barca would have to bid around €50m more than they paid to make Ousmane Dembélé the second most expensive player in the world for Liverpool to contemplate a deal that could disrupt the second half of a promising season.

Coutinho missed the New Year’s Day Premier Leaguewin at Burnley owing to a minor thigh strain and is also doubtful for Friday’s FA Cup third-round home tie against Everton.

Andres Iniesta: Liverpool’s Coutinho won’t take my Barcelona spot

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December 22 — FC Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta has said that doesn’t see Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho as someone who will come in and replace him but as a player who could improve the current Barca squad.

Barca had failed with three bids for Coutinho in the summer, but they intend to test the waters again January with CEO Oscar Grau saying the Catalan club ‘are prepared’ to sign him.

There had already been talk on where the Brazilian playmaker would fit into once he arrives, with some saying he would play take Iniesta’s place in midfield. However, the 33-year-old Spanish international — who signed a lifetime contract with the club earlier this year — indicated that he doesn’t see Coutinho as competition and would welcome his arrival at Camp Nou.

“I think Coutinho’s a great team player with a huge amount of talent,” Iniesta said. “He can use both feet, he scores goals, he links play well and gets between the lines in attack.”

“He’s a player with qualities like ours and it would be a great signing if it’s finally done. I don’t see him as competition for me, but as a step forward for the club.”

Iniesta will be leading his side in Saturday’s Clasico against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, where league leaders Barcelona are six points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid and 11 ahead of fourth-placed Real, who have played a game less.

“We are in a confident mood at the moment,” Barca midfielder Paulinho said. “We know it will be tough in all competitions but we are on a winning run and we are very solid as a team.”

“Madrid are a quality team and we will have to be on the ball for 90 minutes, but we just have to worry about ourselves and put in a good performance. A Clasico can be decided at any moment and we have to be almost perfect.”