Coutinho is special to Klopp - McAllister says Brazil star must stay at Liverpool

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Philippe Coutinho is "special" to Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and the club must keep him, according to former midfielder Gary McAllister.

The Liverpool star, who captained Brazil for the first time in their 4-0 win over Australia on Tuesday, has been linked with a close-season move to Barcelona.

But McAllister is confident Coutinho wants to stay at Anfield and feels his special bond with Klopp will help ensure the attacking midfielder stays.

"He is a fantastic player," McAllister, who worked as a coach under Brendan Rodgers in 2015 before taking up an ambassadorial role, said to Omnisport. 

"I was very fortunate in that short period I worked with Brendan to work with Phillippe. 

"It was just a pleasure to train with him and watch him train every day. He is very special, he is special to the manager - you can see that. 

"But also, when I watch him play, he looks like a player who is very content here at Liverpool Football Club. 

"So it is crucial we do keep him but I think he wants to stay. As far as who comes in, those decisions are in good hands. 

"A lot of managers say they are winners but I think we have got a manager who has actually won things. 

"He is a winner. So I think he is very capable of bringing in what we need [in the transfer market] to supplement the good players we have already got."

McAllister is in no doubt over the importance of Liverpool's return to the Champions League and felt their top-four finish last season was fully deserved.

"I think it would have been very tragic if we hadn't qualified," he said.

"I don't think there was four better teams than Liverpool. We were very competitive the whole period. I just felt it would have been a wee bit unjust if they hadn't made it. 

"We finished the season really well. All players, all top players now, and all the players here, they want to be playing against the best, and the best players in the world now play in the Champions League. 

"I understand why players want to play in the Champions League because it is the barometer - that is where all the best players produce their magic."