Jürgen Klopp has discussed what Liverpool will do next in the Philippe Coutinho saga as the Brazilian continues to push for a move to FC Barcelona.
Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has reiterated that Philippe Coutinho will not be sold by the club during this summer’s transfer window but admits he doesn’t know when the saga will come to a head.
Coutinho, who handed in a transfer request on the eve of Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Watford, has not played for the club since their 3-0 win in pre-season over Bayern Munich.
Speaking to ESPNFC after Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, Klopp had this to say on the no.10’s future: “It’s not my decision, I’m the manager of the football team so when players are available, I coach them, and that is how it is.
“At the moment Phil is not available, but you can imagine missing Philippe Coutinho would be a big blow for each team in the world, so it is for us. But it’s the situation so I cannot change it, and whatever I would say cannot change it.”
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The German’s comments definitely do not inspire confidence among the Liverpool fanbase and Klopp genuinely seems none the wiser as to whether Coutinho will simply clean up his act and get on with it or carry on like a spoilt child.
This then begs the question, what next?
Mamadou Sakho is the only other Liverpool player to truly push Klopp’s buttons during his time at the club so far and he’s ended up banished from the first-team and squashed so far up against the shop window that he’s probably struggling to breathe.
It could be argued that Coutinho is far more important to the club than Sakho but that matters not to Klopp. The German is a man of principle and his principle is simple: if you want to play, you will play. If not, you’re gone.
However, for Coutinho, it’s going to take a lot more than a simple “sorry boss, let me back on the pitch,” to get back into the starting XI.
Klopp’s trust will be broken, and as shown by the Mamadou Sakho situation, it’s not an easy thing to win back. Coutinho has single-handedly won Liverpool Football Club games time and time again but how’s he going to handle a battle of willpower?
It seems bizarre that just three months after the Brazilian roared back into life and helped to inspire Liverpool to a fourth-placed finish ahead of both Arsenal and Manchester United that we are now faced with a situation where he not only doesn’t play for Liverpool but any club at all.
Not a good place to be for a player who will be hoping to be part of an exciting Brazil side at the 2018 World Cup in Russia next summer. What happens when the window slams shut on September 1st and he’s still at Liverpool with Barcelona having moved on and signed new targets?
Will he really risk the threat of being left to rot in the reserves with such an important tournament on the horizon?
Of course, only time will tell but from where I’m sitting, it looks like now is as good a time as any for the Brazilian to start working on his apology.