The Saga That Messed Things Up For Coutinho-
Liverpool superstar Philippe Coutinho joined the squad for training at Melwood today to much of the relief of the Liverpool supporters. This is the first time he has trained with the club since the beginning of the season after being linked with a move to La Liga giants Barcelona.
The 25-year-old play-maker was desperately wanted by the Catalonian club in high demand after the departure of Neymar to Paris Saint Germain during the summer transfer window. Barcelona received £198m in transfer fees for Neymar’s and was looking to find a replacement for the wide-man who has been so influential to them over the past few seasons.
Barcelona reportedly had a slot to fill in with a world record of transfer fees at their disposal. But somehow a deal did not manage to take place between the two clubs. The Spanish club made a last ditch bid worth £138 million for Coutinho, but the Merseyside club was unwilling to sell.
With the former Inter Milan man finally returning to training after a spell out with a back injury, it would have brought back delight to the Liverpool fans. However, Klopp did not want to rush Coutinho into playing and therefore has said that he wouldn’t be ready to start the game against Manchester City on Saturday.
Barcelona made three bids for Coutinho which were priced at £90m, £108m and the last one on deadline day which was £138m. However, Liverpool was adamant that the Brazilian was for sale. But later, Barcelona president was quoted saying Liverpool wanted €200m for Coutinho.
Coutinho also handed in his transfer request at the beginning of August to leave the club, just before Liverpool’s opening game of the Premier League against Watford, but his request was immediately rejected by the club. The Brazilian was all smiling in January earlier this year when he penned a new five-year contract with Liverpool, but just before the eve of the new campaign, he wanted out of the club.
However, the transfer window is now closed and Liverpool has managed to hold onto Coutinho, who was seen at Melwood on Thursday morning, training with his Liverpool team-mates after the international break. Coutinho scored for his national side during the World Cup Qualifiers when Brazil beat Ecuador 2-0, but came on as a sub.
Coutinho looked happy after sharing a joke with left-back Alberto Moreno in training, though things did not work out well for him on the pitch.
However, it did not reflect on his performance on the pitch, as he has just one goal and a single assist thus far in the campaign and had taken around 127 minutes/goal (prior to the game). His shot accuracy is just 40% and he has been in and out of the game at times. Not the same Coutinho that we are used to seeing on the pitch.
What Next For The Reds?
Another 1-1 draw against Newcastle United means that the Reds are now in 7th place with 12 points and have just won once in their last 7 games in all competitions, which is not a record worth boasting. They are struggling for points and need to start winning games and fast, if they wish to challenge for the league title.
The Merseyside outfit have already been knocked out of the League Cup by Leicester City and are now struggling in various other competitions as well. However, the positive from the match was that the Brazilian international scored a stunner from 20 years out and had given his team the lead, though they failed to keep hold of it yet again.
The Editor’s Word (Nitish Bhan)-
Personally, I would want to see Carlo Ancelotti take over at Anfield, replacing Klopp who should be immediately sacked. Beating a team like Arsenal is fine and even Leicester City, but Liverpool have failed to beat any other team since then. Draw after draw after draw. Enough is enough. Another league title slipping away. It is high time to take the step with the advantage that the Italian manager is available at the moment.
If more time is wasted and a decision is not made, things could only get worse. A potential Champions League elimination could be on the cards as well.