A day after huge late win in Merseyside Derby in the FA cup third round, Liverpool F.C. fans went from ushering in Virgil Van Dijk to saying goodbye to one of their own. The saga of the transfer situation between Liverpool and Spanish giant Barcelona finally ended with news that playmaking midfielder Philippe Coutinho was transferred to Barcelona for 142 million euros.
The transfer that had dragged from the past summer period will be effective Monday and Coutinho could suit up for Barcelona during their next league game. Coutinho will not be eligible to play for Barcelona during Champions League play because he was cup tied to Liverpool having participated in the group stage for them.
Coutinho had been clamoring to make the transfer when Barcelona expressed interest during the summer. The Brazilian had just re-signed a five-year contract in January and Fenway Sports Group (FSG) the parent company of Liverpool felt he had to honor his contract and was not for sale.
Bem-vindo! Welcome! Benvingut! ¡Bienvenido!
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 6, 2018
Despite the looming January transfer window Coutinho performed admirably for Liverpool scoring 12 goals and being the adept playmaker he has always been during his career. Liverpool currently sits fourth in the league, made it to the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time since 2009, and continue in their FA Cup campaign.
Liverpool will now have to soldier on hoping to end their six year trophy drought. It will remain to be seen where they re-invest the money from the transfer deal.
Of the move manager Jurgen Klopp released a statement:
“I can tell the Liverpool supporters that we, as a club, have done everything within our means to convince Philippe that remaining part of LFC was as attractive as moving to Spain, but he is 100 per cent certain his future – and that of his family – belongs at Barcelona. It is his dream and I am now convinced there is nothing left at our disposal to change his mind.
Klopp’s statement is a damning one for club that was once considered a giant of football. It was not that long ago that players sought to join Liverpool for a chance at winning trophies. Now players have frequently left Liverpool for the bigger clubs of Europe, in the last few years players like Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Fernando Torres and Luis Suarez have all left.
It is no coincidence that while there has been a loss of talent, Liverpool has struggled to remain among the top teams in the English Premier League. Where new money teams like Chelsea and Manchester City have won multiple league titles, Liverpool hasn’t lifted the league title since 1990. So far FSG has not shown they have the resources to get Liverpool back to the top of the league.
Regardless of the past, Klopp and Liverpool will have to move on and continue the work they started this year. But if Liverpool don’t make the right moves, the Coutinho transfer might be the beginning of where their season went down.