Eighteen months on, the sale of Philippe Coutinho couldn’t have gone much better for Liverpool.
Liverpool sold arguably their best player in January 2018. Coutinho was a star for the Reds, capable of producing incredible things when it mattered. He managed it consistently in his final six months, too, with 12 goals in 20 games from the wing.
So naturally, it took an enormous amount of money to get Liverpool to sell the Brazilian. Barcelona paid £105m upfront, to be precise (per the BBC) – the third most in history.
But Liverpool still sold their best player and that brought worries. How would they cope? And is Coutinho only adding to the culture of star players looking for a sale?
A brilliant deal for Liverpool
Well, as it turned out, Liverpool coped perfectly. Virgil van Dijk arrived immediately and helped guide the team to a Champions League final. The massive transfer fee for Coutinho then funded Alisson Becker and Fabinho in the summer.
Liverpool were now European champions in waiting, with a squad that would achieve a record-breaking 97 points. Such a record leaves no doubt that Jurgen Klopp’s side improved. In fact, they improved dramatically.
And as for Coutinho furthering that culture – not exactly. Liverpool never looked like losing an important player this summer and the Brazilian has actually had the opposite impact.
Suddenly, the grass really doesn’t look greener. The Champions League semi-final victory made the grass look considerably worse, quite honestly.
And now Coutinho joins Bayern Munich, less than 18 months after his big sale. He never fit in at Barcelona, unable to play his natural game.
Because of that deal, Liverpool didn’t just get lots of money for Coutinho. They got what they needed to build a European champion side and, on top of that, got a warning for the remaining stars that things aren’t necessarily better elsewhere.