Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher, a Manchester United man and a Liverpool man, respectively, make up an odd couple when commenting on footballing matters for Sky Sports. However, and as much as it pains me to say this, Neville often has some smart things to say about football.
Despite Neville’s Mancunian ties, he agrees with Carra on the biggest story revolving around Liverpool football club right now: the potential transfer of Philippe Coutinho. Although he enjoys a little needling on Twitter with his co-host, he also thinks Liverpool need to ensure that Coutinho is around for the second half of the season.
“I have been tweaking the tail of the tiger with my tweets to Jamie Carragher about the Philippe Coutinho situation and actually agree with his suggestions that Liverpool should do a deal with Barcelona for the summer,” Neville said on Sky Sports.
“To have turned down a bid in the summer and then lose him now would be madness.
“You’re always likely to lose a player when Barcelona or Real Madrid come calling. There’s an inevitability of him leaving but they need to say ‘give us time’.
”To lose him now could have a terrible impact on their season. Liverpool are too big a football club to let one player mess them around.”
Wow. Our sentiments exactly, Gary.
Although the rumors that Monaco’s Thomas Lemar could be incoming if Coutinho departs would soften help the blow, it would still be risky for a club like Liverpool with achievable season goals still within reach. Even with a massive bid (which may or may not actually ever arrive), there is still the open question as to whether Liverpool could reinvest it in a way that is beneficial both long and short term.
Clearly, Barcelona did not appreciate being told “no” in the summer, and are trying desperately (plus or minus an actual bid) to rectify that. However, it remains curious as to why they would be so desperate to do so now. Coutinho could not play Champions League for them, and they are already essentially a lock for the La Liga title.
Equally, Liverpool are in the Champions League knock-out rounds (with a winnable fixture, no less!) for the first time since their 2009 quarterfinal exit. And, the 5 team dogfight for the remaining 3 Champions League places in England is likely to remain tight for the remainder of the season.