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Liverpool don’t need Coutinho back but would take £100m Hazard in a heartbeat – Lawrenson

16:00 IST 01/05/2019
Philippe Coutinho Barcelona 2019
The ex-Reds defender is not convinced that a former star now on the books at Barcelona should be targeted were he to become available any time soon

Liverpool have no need to try and bring Philippe Coutinho back to the club were he to become available, says Mark Lawrenson, but would take Real Madrid-linked Eden Hazard “in a heartbeat”.

The Reds are expected to add again over the summer regardless of how the rest of their 2018-19 campaign plays out.

A Premier League and Champions League double remains a possibility, although Jurgen Klopp’s side sit a point adrift of Manchester City in the domestic standings and have a semi-final clash with Barcelona to come in Europe.

Quizzed on where Liverpool may look to strengthen in the next transfer window, former Reds defender Lawrenson told Goal: “I don’t think you can say that any team is lacking in areas if they get 97 points. They have over-performed.

“They might need another left-back to cover Andy Robertson, they are alright at centre-back, they are alright at right-back. Maybe a bit more of an attacking midfield player, or a No. 10.

“I don’t think he will sign many players. I wouldn’t expect more than two or three maximum.

“We have also seen with Klopp that he will wait until the right player is available. He just doesn’t like getting players for the sake of it.

“Recruitment now is massive at this level and his recruitment of players has been outstanding.”

Former Reds star Coutinho, who is set to line up against Klopp’s side in continental competition at Camp Nou on Wednesday, has seen a return to the Premier League mooted of late.

Goal understands that the Brazilian is eager to remain in Catalunya, but Manchester United and Chelsea are among those said to be monitoring his situation at Barcelona.

Pressed on whether Liverpool should be in the hunt for a player they parted with in January 2018, Lawrenson said: “It’s not necessarily bridges burned, I just don’t think they need him back.

“I think Coutinho needs to be the number one player in the team, which is why he has struggled a little bit at Barca.

“If Chelsea suddenly said give us £100m for Eden Hazard, you would take him in a heartbeat. But I think he might be learning Spanish as we speak!”

Belgium international Hazard is among those said to be figuring on the transfer radar of Real Madrid.

Liverpool have also found themselves at the centre of unwelcome speculation regarding the Blancos’ recruitment plans, with the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane said to be targets for La Liga heavyweights.

Lawrenson, though, believes that the days of top talent leaving Anfield for Spain are over.

He said: “I think the days of selling [Luis] Suarez etc are all gone.

“Where would you go? Would you go to Madrid at the moment? I’m not sure you would because they have made a real mess of it this season. Barcelona? Possibly.

“You could be talking about a side that has been in consecutive Champions League finals, so why would you go anywhere else?”

Klopp will be eager to avoid seeing any prized assets depart, with Liverpool in need of further stability after forcing their way into contention for major honours at home and abroad.

“Nobody really mentions the owners, but they have been great when you think about what they have done, how they have backed the manager,” said Lawrenson.

“They signed him in the first place, which was massive. They built the new stand, possible adaptation of one of the other stands as well, the amount of money that they are making for the football club.

“It’s all very, very good and long may it continue.”

Mark Lawrenson is a Paddy Power ambassador, to read more go to news.paddypower.com