On Saturday, the inevitable news dripped through – Philippe Coutinho’s journey with Liverpool was to come to an end.
The deal struck at £144m represents a huge return for the Brazilian on the original £8.5m fee paid to inter 5 years ago. However, as we saw previously after the last notable departure from Liverpool to Catalunya in Suarez – having lots of money does not maketh the team.
So where does this leave Liverpool right now?
It can be tough to feel that with Coutinho’s departure, Liverpool can be stronger. But since the initial reaction, many fans are seeing the positives of where the team currently is.
Firstly, Liverpool are on a 17 match unbeaten run (behind only Man city in this regard) and are consistently showing that although not water right- they are able to still go results.
The team has shown dynamism and a steely spirit which has been sorely lacking in the past. And perhaps it is here where Klopp’s influence is most strongly felt.
Van Dijk’s arrival delivered an instant impact against Everton, not just in his goal but in his command and leadership of the backline.
It could even be argued that although Coutinho’s loss will be felt, Van Dijk’s arrival will likely have a stronger effect on the team right now. It’s not as if Liverpool have struggled to score this season.
To add to that, Naby Keita may arrive sooner than scheduled and could provide power and edge that might help mitigate Coutinho’s absence.
NEW: Naby Keita to Liverpool looking “increasingly likely” this month. https://t.co/EzDDU9iqMt
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 12, 2018
The impressive Alberto Moreno is back in training and should return to the fold in the next week or so. Added to that, with Lallana and Ings also returning from injury, Klopp will have plenty of options to ensure the squad can fight on all fronts.
Let’s not forget Salah and Mané’s absence lately also. With them returning, as well as Van Dijk and possibly Keita, we could see an even stronger, more robust team than we saw at the start of the season.
This may be the positivity talking but perhaps at the end of the season, many fans may be asking “Coutinho who?”