For as frustrating and distracting as the Philippe Coutinho transfer saga was, most Liverpool fans barely think about the player who formally graced Merseyside for 5 years. His departure coincided with the arrival of Virgil van Dijk, defensive stability, a more balanced squad, and a heap of money to reinvest for the likes of Alisson Becker and Fabinho (with money to spare).
Moreover, immediately following his departure, Liverpool went through a tear in Europe. A tear, which as of this writing, hasn’t stopped (spare an unfortunate run-in with a violet psychopath in Kiev).
Anyway, Coutinho was interviewed, and of course had things to say.
“I am really looking forward to playing in my first Champions League semifinal, and I want to do a good job,” said the player who would have been playing in his second Champions League semifinal, had he stayed at Liverpool.
“Returning to Anfield will be very special, because I was very happy at Liverpool.”
Apparently he forgot about his “great sadness.” It’s OK, many of us remember the good times after a painful breakup.
“The Champions League is our big objective and we have to have a strong mentality for these types of games.
“Liverpool are a side with a very strong mentality, above all at home. They area great side in attack and defence, so we will have to be alert.
“They aren’t only about a strong attack. They have a great side and Anfield has a magnificent atmosphere.”
He’s not wrong in his assessment, either of Liverpool or of Anfield. That Liverpool enter the match at nearly even odds (a coin-flip one way or another) shows just how far this squad has come since Coutinho’s departure, just a year and a half ago.
Coutinho also knows that these comments will get back to Liverpool supporters, and that might, somehow, make it easier for him to return. Good luck with that, Phil.