News Live Scores

Coutinho set on Barcelona stay after convincing Catalans he can make the grade

16:31 IST 29/04/2019
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona 2018-19
The Brazil playmaker has bounced back from an indifferent start to the 2018-19 campaign and has shown some of his best form in the Champions League

Philippe Coutinho is now desperate to extend his stay at Barcelona after overcoming a rocky patch of form to show the Liga champions he has the talent to be a star at Camp Nou. 

The Brazilian swapped Liverpool for Catalunya in January 2018 and made an initial good impression on the famously demanding Barca faithful with his performances in his debut season. 

The 2018-19 campaign has been more irregular, however, with Coutinho struggling to reproduce his best form and falling in and out of the first team in rotation with Ousmane Dembele. 

That lack of playing time had led to rumours that Barca would be willing to listen to offers in the coming transfer window, with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain signalled as possible suitors. 

But a recent upsurge in form ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg, ironically against his former club, has helped convince those in charge that his services should be retained for next season.

While just a few short weeks ago the priority among those in charge at Barcelona was to attempt to recoup most of the €135 million (£116m/$150m) spent on the ex-Liverpool man, those recent improvements have changed the panorama. 

Coutinho is almost certain to start on Wednesday against his former employers, and now thanks to efforts from his family is settled and happy in Spain and in the Barca dressing room. 

Goal understands that Coutinho too is determined to push on in Spanish football, using the prospect of a Champions League title as further motivation in his battle to win over the sceptical Catalans. 

Despite the reported interest in his signature, therefore, the playmaker does not want a move this summer. 

Coutinho put in one of the best displays of his short Barca life in April to fire Ernesto Valverde's men to a 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United in the quarter final, scoring the third goal after Lionel Messi's early double. 

Indeed, his Champions League form has been markedly better than in La Liga, having netted three goals as well as contributing three assists in his nine starts so far in the competition. 

In total he has played 72 games in the Barca shirt, scoring 21 goals and lifting two Ligas, a Copa del Rey and Supercopa.