The Phillipe Coutinho to Barcelona transfer saga, that seems to have lasted forever, is coming to an end with a fee of around £142 million being agreed on Saturday between the two clubs.
The saga began in the summer when the Catalan giants bombarded FSG with ridiculous bids for the Brazilian but, despite Coutinho handing in a transfer request and picking up an interesting back injury that prevented him from playing for club but not country, The Reds hung on to the Brazilian. Since then, the media has constantly asked Coutinho questions regarding his future as Barcelona seemed to be not put off by Liverpool’s stance that FSG were not willing to sell. In fairness to Coutinho he has been class when he has played for us this season; some might argue the consummate professional. It was, however, clear throughout the saga that he was desperate to join Barcelona, but when he was on the pitch for LFC he gave his all in every performance. Despite this fans started to question his body language, most notably during the 7-0 hammering of Spartak Moscow where the Brazilian scored a hat-trick but didn’t seem too thrilled about scoring his first hat-trick for the club in such an important game, as it put the Reds through to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since 2009. After beating Bournemouth 4-0 in December, Coutinho was again asked questions about his future at the club on Sky Sports. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain stepped in to say that Coutinho ‘has been the most professional person I’ve seen all season’ and praised the Brazilian for his performances. Coutinho’s last game for the club turned out to be in the 2-1 win against Leicester at Anfield, where Phillipe seemed to wave at all four corners of the stadium: this turned out to be the Brazilian’s goodbye. January came and Phillipe Coutinho was ‘mysteriously’ ruled out against Burnley and Everton with an apparent thigh injury. It was then reported that Liverpool had loosened their stance and were now ready to part with Coutinho: a £105 million fee rising to £142 million was agreed for the player and the deal was confirmed last night.
Coutinho’s departure may leave a sour taste but as Klopp summarised in his Saturday night statement: no player is bigger than the club. He may not have used those exact words but the sentiment shared that other big names have come and gone and the club has continued to flourish must not be lost. Future investment is now vital as we consider a replacement. This may mean waiting until the end of the season. Klopp, seemingly, thinks the squad is good enough. He has shown this numerous times with the rotation policy that he has used all season. For those doubters out there it is worth looking at stats for the current campaign in which the mighty Reds do not appear to have missed the little Brazilian when absent with a win rate of 71% compared with 44% when Coutinho is in the side. Coutinho will always have a special place in the Reds’ folklore but in Klopp we trust and this simply marks the next stage in an exciting future. And before you start to scoff and question simple words just remember, the magic 3 of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have a combined 31 goals and 13 assists in the Premier League this season.
Article by Jack Gill
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