Philippe Coutinho could yet re-sign for Liverpool this summer – but must offer the club a grovelling apology first.
The Brazil international has struggled to make any kind of an impact since making his £142million move to Barcelona in January 2018. He is currently on loan at German giants Bayern Munich, where he will see out the European season.
Coutinho’s form in the Bundesliga has sent a reminder of his undoubted talents. However, his chances of returning to Barca look remote with the club actively looking to offload him.
That would leave a return to England as the most likely destination – and plenty have been linked.
Chelsea were said to be frontrunners, though it seems their focus is now on Kai Havertz. Since then, there has also been reports of interest from Tottenham, Arsenal and even Liverpool’s Merseyside rivals Everton.
However, it’s a return to Liverpool that Coutinho most pines for. This TEAMtalk exclusive last month explained just how much he misses Anfield life.
The chances of Coutinho re-joining Liverpool, however, do look slim. Barcelona would want a sizeable fee despite his struggles. Jurgen Klopp has also spoken of Liverpoool’s need to run a tight ship this summer.
“If we have to and we have the opportunity and we have the financial resources then it will always happen and we will always try,” Klopp said. “But at the moment it’s really, really a difficult time.
“This is a difficult year for all football clubs in the world and I don’t think it’s a time where we talk about transfers. It’s just not possible, at least not for us. We cannot do it like this, other clubs maybe can, but this club is [operating] in a specific way.
“This is our way, here we are. Is it the best way? I don’t know, but it’s ours and we will probably stick to that.”
Former Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor, however, is adamant Coutinho could yet find himself back at Liverpool.
However, the pundit reckons the Brazilian must first say sorry for leaving in the first place. Coutinho was only allowed to move after he made it clear he wanted to join Barcelona.
Liverpool have since won four trophies, including the Champions League and the Premier League. Agbonlahor though thinks he is the one signing who could improve them.
“For me, I’d go out there and get Coutinho back,” Agbonlahor told Stadium Astro.
“I’d probably say, ‘you have to apologise for the way you left, but come back’.
“For me, he is what Liverpool are missing in there. You can even play Coutinho where [Roberto] Firmino plays if Firmino isn’t doing it. The way Firmino plays, it looks like he is just told by [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah. ‘we are having the shots’.
“So, if you went in and bought an [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang, I think that could upset the way Liverpool play because Salah and Mane wouldn’t get as many shots because Firmino is very unselfish.
“Coutinho needs to be the main man in the team, and at Liverpool, he would be. I think he would do a great job at Liverpool and the fans would forgive him and have him back.”
Aldridge also wants to see Coutinho return
Talk of Coutinho returning to Anfield has also been endorsed by former Reds striker John Aldridge.
“I think Liverpool should do all they can to bring him back to Anfield,” Aldridge said.
“I know there will be some fans out there who might be surprised by my call for Liverpool’s owners to hand Coutinho a route back to Anfield. But but let me explain why I think this transfer could work for all parties.
“Despite his troubles in Spain, we are talking about a class player here who lit up the Premier League. He was a big hero of the Anfield faithful during his time at the club.
“He understands how English football works and would not need long to acclimatise if he returns to Liverpool. Crucially, this loan move could be funded within the tight financial boundaries Klopp is working with this summer.”