Jurgen Klopp has explained some of the tactical ramifications Coutinho could have had on the Champions League Final.
Liverpool went through the entire knockout stages without the Brazilian, although he was incredible during the Group Stages and would have been a serious benefit to us against Real Madrid in Kiev.
We started the game fantastically, but when Mo Salah had to leave the field injured, we lost our spark and the mistakes Loris Karius made eventually cost us the trophy.
Klopp reckons that with Phil, our creativity would have remained and he would have simply brought Sadio Mane to his favoured right-hand side.
“If we had still had Phil then we could have played with Phil in the final,” he told Sky Sports. “Mo (Salah) goes out [injured], but Phil still there. Phil on the left wing, bring Sadio (Mane) to the other side, bring a midfielder on – it’s a different story. It would have been nice but he wasn’t here any more. We wish him well.
“We don’t need to replace Phil. We need to make a squad for the next year. Out there on the market, there isn’t a Phil Coutinho light. It’s not there. But there are a lot of good players and we have brought a few of them in.”
What role Coutinho might have had in Kiev is completely irrelevant, of course.
What’s important for Liverpool now is how well our new signings have adapted to an already impressive team and how much they’ll boost us in 2018/19.
Alisson is vastly superior to Karius; Fabinho is the holding midfielder we’ve needed for many a year; Naby Keita is already world-class and a phenomenal addition – and we have a feeling Xherdan Shaqiri is going to surprise everybody as a versatile, running no.8.
No.19 – here we come.