It’s Coutinho-anxiety season in Liverpool country. Yes, the fretting over dramatic summer leavings is finding it’s stride and the fears of losing Philippe Coutinho are like blood pumping into it’s fraught legs. Strengthening, enduring. Driving a dread that will last until the summer transfer window finally slides down it’s rails to shut. Will Coutinho be a Liverpool player next season? We don’t know. But take a guess, it’s fun.
Jürgen Klopp would certainly like to keep Coutinho at the club for while. For you optimists, remember that the wily Brazilian just signed a new contract in January that runs until 2022 and pays him £150,000 a week to do his stuff on Merseyside.
The manager even went so far as to inform supporters that he’d had assurances from the owners that Coutinho was not for sale and that the summer would be about bringing in quality, not losing it.
“What our owners say,” Klopp relayed, “is there is the absolute opportunity not to sell anybody if we do not want to.
“That means we can bring in other players and it is a good situation.
“We have a stable squad with a good basis. We want to bring a few in with fresh blood, but nobody will leave us without our say. So, I am completely relaxed about this.”
What’s fascinating about these statements, however strong and positive they may be, is that they will not serve to alleviate any concerns over a sudden departure of Liverpool’s magic man this summer. No, words will do little to ease our pain. And contracts don’t seem to matter all that much in terms of locking a player down.
If Barcelona makes a serious move for Coutinho this summer we will simply have to hold on hope that Coutinho’s love for Liverpool Football Club, love for all things Liverpool, will be enough to keep him focused on the rising Reds.
But if Liverpool fail to maintain a top-four spot and one of these glamour clubs calls up in a few weeks, what happens then? What happens if it’s the £90million that Sport in Barcelona says it would take to bring Coutinho to the Nou Camp?
Does a player of Coutinho’s quality deserve a crack at Champions League glory while he’s still able? Doesn’t he?
It’s not going to be the end of LFC if he’s off. It’s not going to be the end of the club’s momentum under Jürgen Klopp. It’s not going to be the end of anything. I’m preaching the same relaxed attitude as the manager but I’m adding a dash of joy.
Money will be made available this summer for new players. Expect good and bad surprises. Always. We can’t possibly agree on the money spent, the player’s lost, the signatures won, the deals that should have been. And we don’t have to. We just ride. Ride together. Share our unique definitions of fandom with each other.
Because players come and go. But it’s the supporters and the legends that stay forever.