Jurgen Klopp had to deal with Philippe Coutinho in a special way, according to reports. It explains why the Brazilian isn’t at Liverpool.
The Athletic recently published a piece about players returning to clubs after trying to force through a transfer. Liverpool know the situation well, of course.
They encountered it in 2013 with Luis Suarez and, slightly more recently, with Philippe Coutinho in 2017. The report explains exactly how the latter went down.
In doing so, it explains why Coutinho is unlikely to ever return to Liverpool.
How Jurgen Klopp handled Philippe Coutinho
According to the Athletic’s report, Coutinho was fairly desperate for a move to Barcelona in the summer of 2017. The Catalonians were putting pressure on Liverpool but failed to get anywhere.
That’s despite Jurgen Klopp being happy to let Coutinho go. If the Brazilian didn’t want to be at Liverpool, the boss didn’t want him there.
John Henry ‘dug his heels in’ and refused to sanction a transfer, however. He felt backed into a corner.
Thus Klopp had a player he didn’t particularly want around the squad. Coutinho was kicking up a fuss and doing what he could to force a move. That included claiming a back injury that scans couldn’t support.
Klopp was ‘unimpressed’ with Coutinho’s attitude, says the report. He didn’t let his player know exactly what he thought, however, as he saw an opportunity.
He made an agreement that the player should be sold for the right price and figured good performances benefitted everyone. Barcelona were more likely to come back in, Liverpool get four months of a good player, and there should be more money on the table.
And that’s exactly what happened, of course. Coutinho eventually moved to Barcelona for £142m after a blistering end to his Liverpool career.
The entire saga explains why Coutinho isn’t back at Liverpool, too. Sport reported earlier in the summer that Barcelona wanted to sell and the player ‘dreamed’ of a return.
However, Klopp shut the door on the potential deal. He seemingly wasn’t interested. And after dealing with Coutinho over those last few months – coupled with all the success since – you can see why.