A week and a half ago, a mere twenty-four-hours before kicking off the season, Philippe Coutinho decided to slam on the accelerator in his on-going transfer saga, creating chaos and distraction for manager Jurgen Klopp and the rest of the Reds. The move was timed in order to cause ensure maximum damage.
Now, a day before a season-defining Champions League playoff second leg, Coutinho and his representatives are trying to rebuild the bridge they had attempted to burn with his current club.
ESTADÃO:#Coutinho's entourage confirms he never had the will to not play for Liverpool but had to follow his representatives instructions.— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) August 21, 2017
Over the night, reports out of Brazil attempt to spin the story to absolve or partially absolve the talented midfielder, and place the bulk of the blame at the feet of Barcelona. This comes a day after Barcelona’s laughable deadline for their laughably low-ball offer.
It’s hard to see this story as anything other than a good sign for those who wish to see the player remain at Anfield for at least one more season. It is certainly a cynical ploy by the player and his agent, but it paves the way for his reintegration into the squad. You know, after his “back issue” is resolved.
Coutinho also likely realizes that his only shot of playing for Brazil in a World Cup (and certainly his only during his prime) will come next summer in Russia. In order to have a chance to represent his country, he has to play. And Liverpool have made it clear it’s either at Anfield, or nowhere.
Although the team certainly could use a player of Phil’s undoubted talents tomorrow night against Hoffenheim and Sunday against Arsenal, it still seems unlikely that he will be involved prior to the international break.
*Addendum: Coutinho now wants to hold talks with Liverpool to “clear the air.”