They say time heals all wounds, and it did not take long for Liverpool fans to ask—first jokingly, then more or less seriously—“Phil who?” Whereas the prospect, then reality, of Philippe Coutinho’s £142 million midseason exit for Barcelona was the story surrounding Liverpool Football Club from July to January, we just don’t think much about the little Brazilian playmaker these days.
The fantastic run to the Champions League final last season and a great start to this season, featuring a brilliant, attacking brand of football, is a major reason why Coutinho is little more than an after thought these days.
Another big part of the equation is how Jurgen Klopp and the club reinvested that windfall, dramatically strengthening our major weakness, the defense, with two major, first team signings, Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker.
Now, Alisson is in the news after giving an interview to The Echo about his summer transfer from Roma to Liverpool. And wouldn’t you know it? His Brazilian national teammate Coutinho helped sell him on the project.
“I actually spoke to Coutinho before the World Cup as I knew there was interest from Liverpool. We talked about the way the club is set up, the structure and the staff,” Alisson explained. “We also talked about the belief and the sort of family atmosphere at the club. It’s not just a football club, we are one big family.
“He spoke highly of Jurgen and he spoke about the players. He said there is no vanity in the squad but it’s a very ambitious squad with a strong desire to win. I saw that on the pitch.
“What Coutinho told me added to what I had already witnessed playing here at Anfield and then when I came and signed here it all came together and made sense.
“What Coutinho said and what I saw with my own eyes, came together and one contributed to the other. Also Coutinho said he was very happy here with his family, which is really important. Our wives spoke to each other and they said they had a great time living here.”
There seems to be no hard feelings, at least from Coutinho’s side of things. After all, Liverpool did rescue him from Inter Milan’s bench for pocket change, and turned him into a super star and full Brazilian international.
And we’ll ignore, for the moment, that the other major team who was rumored to be in for Alisson, Real Madrid, are Barcelona’s biggest rivals.
“My family were really happy in Rome,” Alisson continued. “I spoke to a lot of people about coming to Liverpool – specifically Bobby [Firmino] and Coutinho.
“They were very complimentary about the lifestyle here. They only said really positive things. My expectations have actually been exceeded.”
I think it’s fair to say that our expectations about Alisson have also been exceeded so far.
It is also noteworthy that “Bobby” is apparently preferred, even among the Brazilians.