The biggest story of the transfer window thus far is the megabucks move of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. It was no secret that the Brazilian playmaker wanted to move. The question was really when, and not if, would Liverpool let him go?
Since the transfer went through, Jurgen Klopp revealed that Coutinho was ‘desperate' to go back in July. He insisted that the club did all they could to keep him, but eventually they granted the player's wishes. Coutinho will be sorely missed on Merseyside, and below we discuss how they might cope without him.
Life After Coutinho At Anfield
So what will Liverpool miss most about their little Brazilian. In numbers, he made 152 Premier League appearances for Liverpool. He won 81 of those, scoring a total of 41 goals and providing 35 assists. Klopp revealed how hard he fought to keep him at the club:
“Philippe was insistent with me, the owners and even his team-mates this was a move he was desperate to make happen. Despite that, we managed to keep the player here beyond the summer window. We were hoping…to persuade him to stay and be part of what we are looking to do.”
Klopp has already splashed out 75 million on Virgil Van Dijk, over half of the £142 million they received for Coutinho. Naby Keita is due to arrive during the summer and he will go someway towards filling the creative void left by the Brazilian's departure. Lallana is back from injury too, and though The Reds have been linked with a move for Mahrez, Klopp may just sit tight for now.
Liverpool vs Man City
Liverpool's first official Premier League outing without Coutinho is a tough one. They take on unbeaten Man City at Anfield, and Klopp would love to make a statement against them. Adam Lallana could be a key player for the hosts, along with that man Salah of course.
The Egyptian winger picked up an injury at the turn of the year but he will be back to face City. The burden on both he and Mane will increase now without Coutinho and it will be interesting to see who can provide them with the service they need from midfield. The Reds need both men to be firing if they are to outgun the heavily armed Citizens.