Sanjay Nair explains why Liverpool shouldn’t be overly affected by Philippe Coutinho’s record-breaking sale to Barcelona.
Every person who sets out to earn a living constantly envisions that ‘dream’ job where they feel they will be at their happiest and will find utmost satisfaction and will always work in earnest towards that dream.
Some do with grace while others resort to unethical means. So it comes as no surprise that after months of trepidation of losing him, the inevitable has happened and Philippe Coutinho has finally left Liverpool for his dream club Barcelona.
However, that he chose to do it without so much as a simple goodbye to the people who cheered him, egged him on and at times worshipped him week after week for 5 years might, unfortunately, be the lasting memory he has left behind.
To look at the positive things that the little magician, as he is fondly called, has done for Liverpool must start with the fact that he helped bring in huge revenue to Liverpool. To get a profit in excess of £140 million pounds for a player will have made excellent business sense to the owners and management at the club, especially for an ‘employee’ whose heart they know was not fully in playing at Liverpool for the long term.
To give him credit, Coutinho in contrast to other players in a similar situation of discontent has put in his all when on the field. Though his off-field antics and pressurising will come across as unethical, there has been no dearth of goals, assists and magical moments in the 20 games since his initial handing over of the transfer request.
He has also shown a good attitude during his entire 5 years at the club, be it in training or during games, and was never found sulking on-field.
It would only seem fair to wish Coutinho all the best with his new employers, although they have not conducted themselves in a manner befitting such a big club. But now it is time to move on and take care of the immediate repercussions of the void left by an important member of our Fab Four.
While the creative genius in Coutinho will be hard to replace, Liverpool are undoubtedly in a much better place than when Suarez left for the Blaugrana. The core of the team is pretty much set and Liverpool should be able to finish in the top four in England with the current bunch if they can keep their wits about them at crucial junctures and without injuries to key players.
Over the past few games, the emergence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in a dominant midfield role has been a revelation. He has shown the full repertoire of hustling the opposition, vision in passing and delivering pinpoint free kicks and corners all of which have resulted in match-winning goals during the busy festive period.
It is still early days for AOC at Liverpool and there is no doubting he is a work in progress, but Klopp already seems to have him moving in the right direction. If he continues in the same vein, we will have a player with a close if not exactly similar resemblance to Steven Gerrard, who AOC has wanted to emulate all along.
A couple of additions, whether in January or during the summer and Coutinho’s absence will soon be forgotten. Panic-buying or slating a hitherto good team player is definitely not the way forward for a club such as ours steeped in history and with the best fans in the footballing world.