So, farewell then, Philippe Coutinho.
‘I know I signed a contract, but I want to leave now.’ That was your catchphrase.
Well, it’s easy to sound bitter and mealy-mouthed.
So let’s do that.
The announcement of Coutinho’s departure is news and, at the same time, no news at all. The club loves a drama and this one has rumbled on for long enough. Now it’s finally over. Phillipe Coutinho will join the Barcelona Nike Shitehawks for an awful lot of money.
There are people talking about the fee and how £142m for an initial outlay of £8m represents good business, but I don’t care about that. I care about what goes on the pitch and nothing else. That has to be the priority.
We’ve lost important geniuses before – some of them through backhanded channels (Owen, McManaman, Torres) and others correctly (Keegan and Rush both gave a year’s notice so we could replace them). This one sits somewhere in the middle.
Coutinho took the news that we wanted to sell only when it was good for us and not him and his loathsome new employers with a strange combination of a shrug of the shoulders and a tittylip. Credit where it’s due. He worked his arse off when it mattered this season and Liverpool reaped the rewards though it should be pointed out that it’s a World Cup year and his place in the Brazilian starting XI is nothing like assured so maybe this isn’t quite as altruistic as it seems.
As I say, it’s easy to be mealy-mouthed.
But at the same time he made no secret of the fact that his heart was elsewhere – Oxlade-Chamberlain jumping in to spare his blushes in that interview etc. – and it’s hard to feel sympathy for anyone who no longer wants to be a part of your world, so each frown was returned threefold by many in the crowd. There was no way he could walk back into our hearts after last summer and, what’s more, he wasn’t bothered by it. The only people he wanted to please were Barca and the hierarchy at Liverpool who could release him.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with him wanting to go. There’s a strong tie between South Americans and the Spanish/Catalan giants after all. Furthermore, he served five years here and didn’t win a thing whereas one trophy per season at Camp Nou is considered a failure so he’ll certainly pick up some silverware. It’s just that there are ways of doing things and he chose the worst option.
And let’s not give any credence to that ‘I had some bad advice’ bollocks. He’s a human being, not a twig on a stream. He has his own mind.
This hasn’t really been an issue up until this week when he suddenly became unavailable on the week leading to the derby. Equally, it was a huge coincidence when he hurt his back in August just after he was told that he couldn’t leave. Who knew that a trip to Brazil would fix it, just in time to play for the national side? Must be something in the water.
If you want to stay, don’t sign the massive pay rise/contract, mate.
If you don’t want to play in the Derby, then you’re not the man for us.
And, let’s be clear, he was/is brilliant. No doubt about that.
There are so many goals to choose from when compiling a retrospective of his Anfield career. People will talk about the long range strikes but for me it’s the winner against City in the 2013-14 run-in. He was off the boil that day but a low cross, a Vincent Kompany error and a contortion of his boot later and Joe Hart was left sprawling. That was the day when I seriously thought that the title was ours. Suarez and Sturridge with Coutinho behind them, and even when he was struggling he could do exactly what he wanted.
His departure is made easier by the fact that he leaves a much stronger squad than the one he joined. His debut came in February 2013 at a home defeat to Steve Clarke’s West Bromwich Albion where he came on for the last 12 minutes – a minute after a missed Steven Gerrard penalty. The only thing I can remember about that game is Glen Johnson failing to control an easy pass and allowing it to run across his laces for a throw-in. He spent the next thirty seconds staring at his feet as if waiting for an explanation from them. Liverpool were not, as the song claims, ‘by far the greatest team the world has ever seen.’ They were more like a late Police Academy movie.
In any case, we’ve replaced geniuses before. Keegan gave us our first European Cup in1977 and we had no chance of swapping him when he went to SV Hamburg. Kenny Dalglish seemed to do okay when he took his shirt. Ian Rush was sold a decade later but funded Barnes and Beardsley while Luis Suarez was more than an able standby for Torres.
As for the future, we tend to do well without him so hopefully there’ll be no problem there, but it would be foolish to say that we won’t miss him. Lallana – his likely temporary replacement – has many qualities, but he’s no Philippe Coutinho.
Some fans are staring out FSG about the move and wondering where the £142m will go – Virgil aside. Please let it be a keeper. Please.
Well, he’s gone and that’s that.
Any you know what? I’m not interested in his Barca debut, his first Barca goal or his World Cup campaign. He’s just another player now in the same way Andre Wisdom is just someone who used to play for us. I only hope we meet those bastards in the Champions League and Trent kicks him in the air for 90 minutes.
I only want players who want to play for Liverpool. They’re the ones we should waste our emotional energy on and Coutinho long fell out of that category. I’d wish him well, but only in the same way you say goodbye at a work’s leaving do when you didn’t really know the person who’s carrying the card and gift vouchers. He’s just none of our business anymore.
Onwards and upwards. The Reds are on the march and that’s all that matters.
I just hope Barcelona lose Messi to Madrid next season. A bit of karma might be nice.