Crystal Palace manager Frank de Boer believes that it will be impossible for Liverpool to keep Philippe Coutinho at Merseyside this season if the Brazilian does want to move to Barcelona. The 25-year-old has not played a single game this season for the Reds in lieu of a back injury with mounting speculation over his future at the club.
The Reds have rejected a third offer from the Catalans for Coutinho, believed to be in the region of £114m ($143m). Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez revealed on Thursday that they are trying their best so sign Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele but insisted any deal for the players rested in the hands of the clubs involved.
Having yet to return to training at Melwood, the unsettled 25-year-old will remain absent for the visit of Crystal Palace to Anfield and there is currently no timeline for his return. Citing the circumstances, Palace manager De Boer has cast doubts over the midfielder's future, saying that it is always the player who wins as the transfer window draws to a close.
"That is a very awkward situation, especially for the managers but also for the players," De Boer said, as quoted by the Daily Mail. "It is very hard because you always want players who give 100 per cent for the team and show it every day in training.
"When somebody is not happy and he wants to leave, you know it is almost impossible that he stays. Then you have to wait until the end of the transfer period and you are still always in doubt.
"Is he going? Do I have to get another player? It is a very difficult job but you have to deal with it. There are no guidelines or studies for that. It happens to you and you have to deal with it.
"There is almost never a happy ending for one or two. Maybe for the player when he leaves for the club he wants to go to. Still he didn't train normally, he had maybe three weeks doing nothing on his own. It is always different if you are not playing games or training with the squad."