Recent weeks have seen a twinned pair of Philippe Coutinho rumours, first that Barcelona aren’t interested in having the now 27-year-old Brazilian back at the Nou Camp next season and second that Bayern Munich aren’t sure they want to buy him permanently.
That has led, perhaps inevitably, to questions and speculation about a potential return to Liverpool as fans and pundits ask if such a thing might be possible. To hear Peter Moore talk about it, though, such a move probably wouldn’t make much sense.
“When Philippe Coutinho left there was a change, not only to the structure of the team but to the way we played football,” Moore told the Liverpool Cape Town supporters’ group when asked about moving on from Coutinho—and improving as a team.
“If you recall, when he left, then it was a complete change of style of play and we [have hardly] lost a game. No disrespect to Philippe but he had a different style of play [and] the money that came in that we got from Barcelona then helped fund Alisson Becker.”
Though not a direct response to speculation about a possible return, it’s one that will sum up the feelings many have had about the recent Coutinho chatter—that there probably isn’t a place in today’s Liverpool team for the creative Brazilian attacker.
While clearly a talented player, to get the best out of him would require tweaking the team to fit him into it, and given where Liverpool are now they have no need of doing that when there will be thousands of other players lined up in Michal Edwards’ laptop.
Coutinho was, for a time at least, Liverpool’s best player. And at the time the club structured their tactics around him to reflect that. Since he left, though, the club have moved on—to becoming European Champions and now runaway Premier League leaders.
Liverpool, it’s clear based on Moore’s words, have at this point well and truly moved on from the player. It’s probably time for the few remaining fans still holding out hope for a Coutinho return to do the same.
Note: An earlier version of this story suggested Moore had been asked specifically about the possibility of Coutinho returning. It has been corrected to reflect that this was not the case.