In comments to the media following his side’s 3-3 draw against Watford to kick off the 2017-18 Premier League season, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp discussed the ongoing situation with Philippe Coutinho.
For those of you catching up: the Brazilian playmaker, contravening whatever understanding he had with the club, submitted a formal transfer request on Friday in an attempt to force through a transfer to Barcelona. With only a few weeks left in the transfer window, the season already underway, and some very public failures to close some key deals, the timing of this could scarcely be any worse.
Klopp addressed these recent developments and a possible impending sale by saying, essentially, that he’s the wrong person to talk to. On the transfer request, emailed to Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards, Klopp said this:
“I didn’t get it but I can say something that is maybe more important. As a manager of a football club I have bosses, and if bosses decide, for example, just in general, if we sell a player or we don’t sell him, then I have to accept it. I cannot say anything about it [the transfer request]. I work with the players I have – that is what I’m always doing.”
Reporters asked Klopp if he, personally, was upset with Coutinho. “First of all,” Klopp said, “if I would be upset with the player, I would tell him.”
Meanwhile, a growing chorus of football pundits are insisting Liverpool should just sell Coutinho already. Former Leeds defender and England international Danny Mills says Liverpool should “bite the bullet.”
“I don't think Philippe Coutinho will stay at Anfield. He started with a statement calling for an amicable move, but four days later he submitted a transfer request. It is his dream move and I don't blame him in the slightest. Ultimately, Coutinho will simply remain unhappy and Liverpool simply need to bite the bullet. The club has a £100m asset there, a player who may want to force a move.”
Former Liverpool midfielder Jame Redknapp said that Liverpool should take the money and run.
“It’s a nightmare for Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp. Coming into the season, it should be a time full of optimism but instead everyone is talking about the talisman, Philippe. It’s difficult now as he doesn’t want to be there – Liverpool is one of the biggest clubs in the world but he doesn’t want to be there. You can sell him for £90m so what’s the best for the club? It’s getting to the stage where if he doesn’t want to be here, no player is bigger than Liverpool. Take the money, he doesn’t want to stay anymore and £90m is good money, incredible money.”
Personally, I find it remarkable that all these pundits can pretend they’re offering advice with Liverpool’s best interest at heart and manage to keep a straight face. All these same people said the same things when Luis Suárez was agitating for a move. Liverpool ultimately obliged and the team was demonstrably worse. Then these pundits had the gall to tut-tut the Reds for such a noticeable drop in quality.
It would be really refreshing if they just admitted their real intentions: they’re hungry for the #content, and the nascent Coutinho Transfer Saga is good content.