Just as life at Liverpool after Steven Gerrard went on, it is now time for those at Anfield to move on without Brazilian starlet Philippe Coutinho.
‘The Magician’, as he was commonly referred to by Reds supporters, has completed his transfer to Barcelona and admitted his big move to Catalonia is a “dream come true.”
Liverpool will undoubtedly miss Coutinho’s on-field prowess, however, there was an air of inevitability about this transfer. The player handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force through a big switch to the Nou Camp last summer when the La Liga giants came calling, but was persuaded to stick around for another while by those at the Merseyside club.
He did so, and performed typically impeccably in the first-half of this season. His seven goals and six assists in his 14 Premier League appearances so far this season provide just a glimpse of why Barcelona were so hell-bent on acquiring the maestro’s services.
Former Liverpool skipper and club legend Steven Gerrard has had his say on how the whole deal between his club and Barca has panned out over the last week or so.
Having seen such a similar situation with Luis Suarez during his playing days, Gerrard concedes how difficult it is for a South American player to resist a move from England to the big Spanish clubs when they show an interest.
On punditry duty for BT Sport, the ex-England captain admitted his disappointment at losing Coutinho, but praised the way he has handled the transfer by not downing tools since last summer’s saga and condoned the 25-year-old midfielder as a person off the pitch.
“I’m still digesting it as a Liverpool fan.
“I’m not surprised. I know Liverpool did everything they could to keep him and they fought very hard to keep him until the summer.
“But, when a kid has got a dream, a South American, and he wants to play for Barcelona and he thinks this is the only opportunity he’s going to get, it’s very difficult to stop it,” said a visibly gutted Gerrard.
“There’s no doubt about it, Liverpool will miss him.
“He’s a wonderful footballer, a great person.”
Check it out for yourself in the clip below:
"I'm still digesting it, as a Liverpool fan…"@rioferdy5: "You feel sick?" ?
Steven Gerrard discusses Philippe Coutinho's transfer to Barcelona… ? pic.twitter.com/o4e4MAhHYV
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) January 8, 2018