Liverpool’s summer didn’t entirely go to plan. The club knew they needed to, at minimum, sign a winger, midfielder, centre half, and left back. They got the winger and the left back along with some versatility in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but they didn’t get the midfielder and centre half they wanted for this season.
Still, the club’s owners deserve real praise. Not so much for the incomings, which even with Naby Keïta agreeing to join next summer remain incomplete, but for resisting one particular outgoing. So says former Liverpool midfielder Gary McAllister, who was impressed by the club holding on to Philippe Coutinho.
“I have to praise the owners for keeping him,” the former Red told Sport360 this week. “The owners said under no circumstances was he going to be for sale, they stayed strong, and they’ve managed to keep him. Now the job is to get his mindset right and get him focused again, because what a great player.”
They appear to be on pace to do that, as despite rumblings out of Catalonia that Barcelona had asked the player to go on strike and sit out the Champions League with Liverpool to avoid becoming cup tied, the player made his first appearance for Liverpool this season last night—against Sevilla in the Champions League.
Coutinho is back in the mix after last night, officially so, and there’s nothing stopping him taking part again on the weekend—no mysterious back injuries or rumours of Barcelona subterfuge. And that potentially gives Jürgen Klopp a different kind of headache to deal with. A better kind of headache.
“That’s the skill of managing,” McAllister added when asked if Klopp will now have to find a way to keep all of his players happy despite the fact that some will have to sit when everybody is healthy. “You need a big squad as we’re fighting on all four fronts, but keeping all of the players happy is not an easy job.”