Despite all of Liverpool’s public posturing, it seems they will yet enter the Premier League season without their best player. Sport - the Barcelona paper of record - is reporting that the Catalan club will have the transfer wrapped up in a “matter of hours”.
Given that Philippe Coutinho’s contract does not contain a release clause, the Reds still hold the upper hand in negotiations. However, much like Luis Suarez and Fernando Torres, Liverpool look set to take the cash in favor of keeping the club’s biggest star.
A delegation of the Blaugrana club has moved to Liverpool today to try to close the transfer. The goal of Barça is to introduce the Brazilian player this week.
Barca have been strong bid for the Liverpool player and will make a final offer of 90 million euros on Tuesday plus incentives to be able to close the signing. The owners of the English club have already approved the operation , but are meeting with the resistance of the technician, Jürgen Klopp , to let march to one of its main stars.
It makes sense that Klopp would be incredibly hesitant for this sale to go through. Liverpool haven’t been as inactive in the transfer market as Tottenham, but things haven’t gone super great, either. The pursuit of RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita looks to have been a failure, and the Virgil van Dijk situation continues to be as interminable as the Gylfi Sigurdsson saga.
Mohamed Salah, Dominic Solanke, and Andrew Robertson are fine players. However, if Liverpool lose Coutinho while failing to sign Keita, it will be almost assuredly a net loss on the pitch.
One of the hallmarks of recent Merseyside derbies has been Coutinho’s ability to change the game in the blink of an eye. His backup this season was set to be Adam Lallana...until the Englishman was ruled out for three months with an injury.
Jordan Henderson can’t stay off the trainer’s table either, and Emre Can excels in a deeper role than the Brazilian. That leaves Gini Wijnaldum as the main creative source in midfield.
Wijnaldum’s a useful player, without a doubt, but he lacks the world-class talent of Philippe Coutinho.
Without the Brazilian, Liverpool’s opening day midfield would likely be Can, Henderson, and Wijnaldum, with Marko Grujic off the bench. Who gets the ball to the forward trio? Does that midfield scare any of the other top 7 clubs? Doubtful.
There’s an argument to be made that Philippe Coutinho is worth a place or two in the table to Liverpool. The Reds’ loss may soon be Everton’s very tangible gain.