Philippe Coutinho sent Liverpool fans a message following his transfer from Anfield to the Camp Nou and talked about the “beauty of the club and its fans”.
However, the beauty of the club and its fans was obviously not enough to keep the Brazilian playmaker at Liverpool. Coutinho became the second player to leave Anfield and join Barcelona in the past four years, following Luis Suarez who made the same move in 2014.
Coutinho went on to say in his message to Liverpool supporters, “I hope the supporters understand that choosing to experience something new is not about diminishing their importance to me or the club’s importance”.
While this may be true, it is no coincidence the last two genuine world class players Liverpool have had in their ranks in recent years have left to join Barcelona.
Yes, there were other factors which led to the sale of Luis Suarez to the Catalan giants but the Uruguayan was always keen to make the transfer and the other issues only helped in progressing the matter.
Xabi Alonso was another player who was in his prime, controlling the midfield and developing into a world class player. Real Madrid came calling and he left the club. It has been suggested Alonso never wanted to leave and it was differences with manager Rafa Benitez which made the move happen.
Nonetheless, another top talent left the club for one of Spain’s big two.
When Barcelona or Real Madrid come in for a player, the move tends to happen. So, if Mohamed Salah was to continue his tremendous run of form in a Liverpool shirt and notches close to 50 goals this season, the big two in Spain are likely to come calling.
Seeing Barcelona spend money to strengthen their team with Coutinho will have riled those in charge at the Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid are struggling by their high standards this season and Cristiano Ronaldo has been well short of his best.
With Gareth Bale injury prone, they need a new man in the forward line with pace, dribbling ability and the skill to finish chances. At this moment in time, there is only one man in world football who is consistently delivering the goods in each of those areas and that’s Salah.
While his incredible form is fantastic for Liverpool now, what does it mean for the player and the club in the future? Real Madrid or Barcelona are sure to come calling with big money, both in terms of the transfer fee and wages.
How can Liverpool get back to the top of English and European football if every time they buy a player who becomes one of the best in the world, he then moves on to Barcelona or Real Madrid in his prime?
One look at upcoming football match previews for Liverpool games will show Salah discussed as being the key man. The talk is often about the fitness of the Egyptian and how Klopp cannot afford to rest him.
In the long term, the talk could about Liverpool trying to keep another player out of the claws of Barcelona and Real Madrid as Jurgen Klopp tries to build a team capable of winning the Premier League title.