I want you to think about a hypothetical situation in which Coutinho hadn’t joined us in 2013 and had instead moved to, let’s say, Borussia Dortmund.
The Brazilian had developed in Germany in the manner he has for Liverpool and had become a starter for his national team…
He’d been Dortmund’s best player in each of the past two seasons, and despite a sticky patch this term following an injury – produced a spellbinding display for his country against Uruguay last night.
In fact, you can watch highlights of that performance, right here:
Now imagine that Liverpool were being genuinely linked with this Brazilian superstar, capable of the things you see in the above video. The entire fanbase would lose the plot, in short. We’d be praying FSG spend the £70m-odd it would cost to acquire him. Teenagers would bombard John W. Henry’s Twitter account with ‘SIGN COUTINHO’ messages and Empire of the Kop would spend hours meticulously producing ‘Where Coutinho would fit in an Anfield‘ articles.
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Of course – it probably wouldn’t happen… In all likelihood, Coutinho would move to Bayern Munich, Real or Barca. After all, he starts for Brazil and Neymar thinks his team-mate is one of the best players in the world. He’d be out of Liverpool’s league, sadly – and he’d join the long list of failed targets under the current regime.
Guess what. Coutinho is already at Liverpool. He’s already ours! He has been since 2013. He’s been our best player in each of the past two seasons, and despite a sticky patch this term following an injury – produced a spellbinding display for his country against Uruguay last night.
Yet, due to his quiet period following a foot problem, there have been genuine calls for the club to give up on him. Cash in. Offload. Throw him out like used rubbish.
There is no Liverpool fan who can convince me that Coutinho isn’t good enough for our starting XI. O Magico is a mindbogglingly good footballer and one of the most talented we’ve had on our books during the Premier League era.
Last week, Stan Collymore penned this for Boyle Sports:
“Coutinho is a great six games a season player, when we all salute his little genius, goals and creativity and I know he’s been injured but I’m just not sure Liverpool will ever be able to hang their hat on him to guarantee big performances week in week out. The fact Lallana and Mane have kicked on under Klopp so much more than the little Brazilian tells my intuition that if one of the Iberian giants were to tickle the Reds fancy, even having signed a bumper contract and get a more dominating physical presence, like Mane in that attacking three.
“Controversial I know but Phil just isn’t that consistent!”
And there’s some Liverpool fans who genuinely agree with his sentiments:
Isco available for £10m?????? Sell Coutinho now and get him
— liverpoolstuff (@liverpooIstuff) March 23, 2017
Liverpool should sell Coutinho if someone is stupid enough to bid 50m+ for him.
— Ankit (@ankitpathak04) March 19, 2017
Genuinely not arsed if we sell Coutinho.
— Josh (@markham90) March 23, 2017
For me, this is complete and utter madness.
Has he been poor in 2017? Definitely. In fact, he’s been very, very underwhelming (as have some of his teammates – may I add). But has he turned into a rubbish player? Of course he hasn’t… Before his injury in November 2016, he’d been the most impressive performer in the country. Remember that – he was on course for the Player of the Year award before injury cruelly struck him down. Fans should be loyal to our average players, but the fact someone of Coutinho’s ilk isn’t being universally backed is absurd. It redefines fickle. Tell you what, why don’t we sack Jurgen Klopp and give Roy Hodgson another go? Better yet, let’s bugger off Adam Lallana and try Salif Diao in the box-to-box role…
Have fans not learned anything from the past ten years in the transfer window? Selling our best players never, ever ends well. Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Alvaro Arbeloa, Luis Suarez. At the time, I kid you not, there were fans suggesting selling Alonso and Suarez to reinvest in the squad was a sensible move. Rickie Lambert, Mario Balotelli, Lazar Markovic > Suarez. How did that end up…?
So here’s what worried Reds have to do: Get fully behind Coutinho, who on his day, is our best player. Be grateful he’s wearing red, as if he was somewhere else in Europe, he’d literally be unattainable. Enjoy his magic. Let him do what he does best without the shackles of a tense crowd groaning his every failed shot from distance. He’ll come good again. He’s too brilliant not to. And if you think Liverpool should sell him, give your head a violent wobble.