Why On Earth Has Coutinho Talk Resurfaced?

This Liverpool team knows how to find a way to win. When Jürgen Klopp called them mentality monsters her really wasn’t exaggerating. For those that have been reading my recent pieces or following me on social media, you’ll know that I’ve been in Thailand for the past couple of weeks. Last night was our final night in the country, with the match against Wolverhampton Wanderers not kicking off until three in the morning local time. I knew I had to be up early to make our flight home and, to make matters worse, I’ve been suffering from an horrendous cold for the past couple of days. It’s been so bad that I’ve even briefly wondered if I’ve got that Coronavirus that has been reported in the news. It’s fair to say, therefore, that I knew it wasn’t the sensible thing to wake up and watch the Reds play, so I made a compromise with my wife Rachel and agreed to only watch the second-half.

Whilst I was disappointed to miss Jordan Henderson’s first-half goal, especially considering I’ve been banging the drum about the captain for years, I was at least contended with the fact that I saw the business end of the game. A suitable phrase, given that the Reds once more did the business for the manager, the supporters and themselves. These players don’t know when they’re beaten and simply refuse to give up, so it shouldn’t really have been a surprise that they did exactly that. Wolves deserve all of the credit that they’ve been given in the wake of the full-time whistle, having posed us problems in both of the games we’ve played against them recently. Yet it is this Liverpool team that is truly deserving of plaudits, given what it’s been able to achieve so far in the campaign. Both bookies and pundits are acting as if we’ve already won the title, which is why I find it so curious that some supporters seem to want a return for Philippe Coutinho.

He Was A Great Player On His Day

One thing that is unarguable when it comes to Philippe Coutinho is that he was a superb player when he was in the mood for it. During his final half a season at Anfield, when he was playing to get his move to Barcelona, the attacking midfielder seem to turn everything that he touched into gold. He was banging the ball into the back of the net for fun, so it was little surprise that so many people wanted to keep him and were disappointed when he eventual made the move to Spain. I do think some people have rewritten his time at the club to make everything he did seem perfect, though. Compilations posted on social media of the goals he scored do look fantastic, but they also neglect to include the countless times that he skied the ball into the Kop or the Anfield Road end of the ground, undoubtably driving Jürgen Klopp to distraction. That’s to say nothing of the manner in which he forced a move out of the club.

Whilst his behaviour was perhaps not as bad as Luis Suarez’s, he still downed tools and pretended that he had a back injury in order to get away from Merseyside. It was unprofessional behaviour, to put it mildly. He was an excellent player when he wanted to be, but he also had more than a few off days and infuriating moments mid-match. On top of that I was never truly convinced that he was a ‘Klopp player’. He didn’t work hard enough in tracking back, with the defence often put under pressure because of his refusal to offer them the necessary support. Compare and contrast what he did with what Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah do even on their off days. I don’t think the manager was disappointed to lose him, especially when he realised that the money recouped from his sale could be used to buy Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, two players that have completely revolutionised the look of this Liverpool team.

Why Would People Think We Need Him?

The question about why any talk of a return for Philippe Coutinho has resurfaced is an easy one to answer, on account of the fact that news has emerged that Bayern Munich have no intention of taking up their option to buy the player. Yet I can’t for the life of me figure out how people can watch this Liverpool team play and think that what it’s missing is the Brazilian. Since he left the club we’ve reached one Champions League final, won another one, racked up ninety-seven points in the league and become world champions. We’re also currently the runaway leaders in the Premier League, lest we forget. That’s something that we’ve achieved without him, so where does he fit into this side? People talk about Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum as if they’re somehow just workhorses who can be improved upon easily, conveniently ignoring the fact that this team wouldn’t be able to do what it’s doing without them.

Henderson, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, even Adam Lallana all provide something in the middle of the park that allows the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and the front three to create their magic. Philippe Coutinho is a brilliant player but he’s too mercurial to successful replace any of them. If you’re in doubt about that then simply consider what we did with him in the team and what we’ve done without him. Where on earth is the weakness in a squad that has won ninety-four of the last ninety-six points available in the Premier League at the same time as becoming European and world champions? What is it about how we’re playing that has some people so convinced that the return of the Brazilian will be the difference maker? Yes, he was a good player. Yes, good players are always handy to have in the squad. They’ve got to add something, though, and I’m not sure that Coutinho would.

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