Things got a little messy when Philippe Coutinho tried to force his way out at Liverpool. Between feigned injuries on the eve of Champions League qualification and the player paying the club out of pocket to finally secure his move, there was a lot of drama.
Perhaps the part that bothered Liverpool fans most was when Coutinho’s people dragged Jürgen Klopp in the press, saying the manager had mistreated his star. Now, though, to hear Coutinho tell it Klopp was nothing but good to him in his time at the club.
“He’s just a great coach, one of the best of the world,” the Brazilian, now at Bayern Munich on loan, told SportBild. “I learned so much from him, especially on the mental level. He changed Liverpool, made them strong again. It was an honour to work with him.
“His mentality is unique. He somehow always finds the right words, both before the game and during the game. He works very hard and is so extremely focused, so the training is very intense. He always manages to adjust you for the next opponent.”
It’s a little jarring to hear him praise Klopp so highly, perhaps, given how he left the club, but with the way the his 18 months at Barcelona unfolded it’s probably fair to say that Coutinho would do things rather differently if he had a chance to do it all over.
Over the past summer, there were even rumours that his agent was trying to negotiate a return to Anfield for the 27-year-old, but Barcelona’s demands were too high for a player who no longer would have been a lock as part of Liverpool’s best eleven.
And when it comes to whatever his true relationship with Klopp might be, there appears no ill will on the manager’s side over how it ended between the two at Liverpool, with Coutinho saying Klopp sent him encouragement following his Bayern move.
“He sent me a message and wished me luck,” Coutinho added. “He wrote that Bayern is a big club and the Bundesliga is a great league, so he is very happy to see me end up there.”