The Merseysiders must avoid the mistakes they made following the sale of former star-man Luis Suarez to Barcelona.
It’s turning out to be a very common narrative for Liverpool fans when it comes to selling their best players and this time around it was Barcelona who picked up Philippe Coutinho for a monstrous fee of €160m. The 25-year-old has been quite the find for Liverpool when he joined the Reds in the winter transfer window of 2013 from Inter.
He made quite an impact in his first ever season at Anfield where he had 3 goals and 7 assists to show for in just 13 appearances for the club. He was slowly becoming the crowd favourite as the seasons went by and became the person that the team would go to when in need of a goal because they knew he always had a trick up his sleeve.
Jurgen Klopp has a knack for turning good players into great players and Coutinho is a testament to that statement. He matured into a world-class player under the German and when compared the stats with him under Rodgers and him under Klopp, there’s a polarising difference. Some might argue that under Rodgers, he was only settling into the club but Coutinho hit the ground running under the German’s tenure. In 89 appearances, he had 37 goals and 23 assists under Jurgen Klopp compared to 17 goals and 23 assists under Rodgers in 112 appearances.
Van Dijk had a perfect start to his Liverpool career by scoring a debut goal in the FA Cup
Although the Liverpudlians loved this exhibition of class and talent, in the back of their head, the fear of Barcelona coming in for him always haunted them. The Suarez story had the same narrative and they feared the same for Coutinho. Their nightmare did come true and he was gone leaving a Coutinho sized hole in every Kopite’s heart. To them, he was priceless but Liverpool and Barcelona settled at €160m, giving Liverpool enough funds to replace and fill in that position. It is always a tough task to replace the best player of a team. To make matters worse, Liverpool have a track record of making bad signings to replace their superstar’s departure. When Suarez left, Liverpool made a flurry of signings that can be termed as a failure overall.
The likes of Balotelli, Lambert, Markovic, Origi, Moreno, Can, Lallana and Lovren were signed when Luis Suarez left for Barcelona. Out of the 8 signings that Liverpool had made, only four players have more than 100 appearances for the club and it’s safe to say only Emre Can and Adam Lallana have truly come out in flying colours. Although Moreno has turned his fortunes around at Liverpool at the moment, he’s taken his fair share of time to perform for the Reds.
Liverpool finished 6th the season Luis left for Barcelona but all in not lost for Liverpool. The squad that finished 2nd in the 2013/14 season was definitely punching above their weight, thanks to the South American striker. The squad that Klopp is left with after the departure of Coutinho looks very encouraging with the likes of, Mo Salah, Mane and Firmino still in the ranks and performing at their best.
Liverpool’s record with and without Coutinho this season
The above-mentioned fact does not mean that the Reds will not miss Coutinho but it just goes to show that Liverpool can indeed survive well without him and with some good investments, they can do a lot better.
Jurgen Klopp has never been someone who would go out in the market and make fickle signings.
These Reds are playing some of the finest football in the world at the moment. They are unbeaten in 18 matches in all competitions and have a winnable draw in the Champions League Round of 16. The Coutinho transfer sure does seem like a big blow for them but given the position that they are in and the money in their hand, this situation can be solved with a few intelligent shopping. Liverpool is currently being linked with players left, right and centre and some of the more possible moves have been Riyad Mahrez, Thomas Lemar, Leon Goretzka & Naby Keita (pre-contract contract to join in the summer but can join the Reds in January if the clubs agree).
With the signing of Virgil Van Dijk, Liverpool’s defensive problems are being worked on and it’s a step in the right direction for the club. Reinvesting in the market immediately is quite important for the club as the club would ideally want to finish inside the Top 4, beating Everton in the 3rd round of FA Cup gives them a good boost and a realistic chance at a silverware this season and progressing deep into the Champions League should help the club massively in terms of Finance and experience with Europe’s finest.
If the suitable contender isn’t found, he will be more than ready to wait it out until the summer and make do with what he has in the team at the moment. Liverpool are taking long strides under Jurgen Klopp and with some prudent investments on players, they can make Coutinho’s transfer look only like a hiccup.