Barcelona paid a club-record fee to sign the Brazilian from Anfield back in January 2018, which provided Jurgen Klopp with the funds to sanction moves for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker.
Coutinho and Liverpool
There was once a time where Coutinho was the centre piece of Klopp’s attacking brand of counter-attacking football.
During a five-year spell on Merseyside, Coutinho clocked up 201 appearances for Liverpool scoring a whopping 54 goals, while registering 45 assists.
However, since he made the decision to trade up Anfield for the Camp Nou, Coutinho’s career trajectory has nose-dived.
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Last season, he was loaned out to Bayern Munich, where he won the Champions League – and helped Hansi Flick and his team record an 8-2 quarter-final victory over Barca in the process.
Coutinho scored twice and got an assist against his parent club, a scenario Arsenal icon, Wright, described as one of the ‘maddest things’ he’s seen in football.
Wright on Coutinho
“One of the maddest things I’ve seen is Coutinho playing for Bayern, winning the Champions League and then going back to Barcelona,” he said.
Wright was then questioned if he thought Coutinho’s nine-figure deal to leave Liverpool was the worst transfer saga of all time, by co-host Musa Okwonga.
“That has to be the worst transfer of all time, just in terms of the amount spent, the 8-2 capped it off, it’s the worst transfer of all time.” he said.
And Wright concurred: “Easily, surely. Easily!”
Indeed, Coutinho’s decision to leave Liverpool was a hard setback to take at the time. However, it’s fair to say ever since his departure, the Reds have never looked back.
Within five months of his mid-season exit in 2017/18, Liverpool were lining up in the Champions League final. The following year, Klopp and his team recorded European Cup No.6.
Make no mistake, Coutinho was a sensational player. The little magician was someone who had the meticulous ability to get supporters out of their seats every time the ball fell to his feet.
Still, the significance of his exit in terms of driving forward Liverpool’s success forward has made it difficult to look back beyond the £142m masterstroke that was able to return the club back to the summit of European football.