On Saturday, not so shocking reports emerged that Philippe Coutinho would finally be getting his dream move to the Nou Camp. The player had refused to join the rest of the squad in Dubai and instead flew to Catalonia to complete a move of a lifetime. After a 6-month-long saga, the two clubs finally agreed on a deal worth just over £142million, making the Brazilian the 2nd most expensive player in history.
Coutinho has often been branded as Liverpool’s talisman ever since Luis Suárez and Steven Gerrard left. And on the grandest of stages, the 25-year-old has often dragged his Liverpool teammates out of perilous times. But now the Brazilian is gone, the Reds must prepare for life after him.
Here’s why Liverpool can afford to lose Phillipe Coutinho.
Mohammed Salah is here
Everybody’s a star until a superstar walks into the room. The truth is, now that Mohammed Salah has entered the fray, Coutinho’s contributions don’t look that special anymore. In only 21 league appearances, the Egyptian has scored 17 goals and provided 5 assists. At the same time, Philippe Coutinho has only scored 7 goals and provided 6 assists, and it’s now clear as day that Mohammed Salah is the talisman of Liverpool football club.
With blistering pace, wizardry dribbling and frightening technique, Mohammed Salah’s current form can be likened to that of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. He is almost as unstoppable as them, and in his entire time at Liverpool, Philippe Coutinho has never been branded as such. In his entire Premier League career, Philippe Coutinho has scored 41 goals and provided 35 assists in 152 appearances. As an attacking midfielder, the highest assist tally he’s produced for a season is only 7; Salah is already at 5 while scoring double the amount of goals. Now that Mohammed Salah is here, Coutinho is not needed.
Naby Keita is coming
What’s the best way to replace a quality player, replace him with another quality player. For those who don’t know, Naby Keita is one of the most exciting young talents in world football. The 22-year-old is a diminutive creative midfielder that excels at accelerating away from opposition players, initiating counter attacks and conducting high presses. He’s a good dribbler, has good pass selection, great close control, intelligent movement and an obsessive work rate. He’s literally the definition of a Jurgen Klopp player, much more so than Philippe Coutinho.
Of course, due to his size, many will question whether he can adapt to the physicality of the Premier League. But the sheer tenacity of the midfielder means he’ll be more than a match for the league’s fast pace. You only have to look at N’Golo Kante to see the kind of work rate Keita will bring to Anfield. Naby Keita is a few years younger than Coutinho but already of a similar standard, meaning Liverpool have done the best business of any club this decade.
Even with all the names aforementioned, Liverpool sill have more firepower in; Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana and Dominic Solanke. So, what’s there to worry about?