Liverpool star Roberto Firmino has lauded former Liverpool teammate and fellow Brazil international Philippe Coutinho. Speaking to FIFA.com (via HITC), the Reds striker has waxed lyrical over the versatile midfielder, who was heavily linked to a Merseyside return this summer.
“He’s phenomenal. You simply can’t say that he’s not a magician,” Firmino said. “He has magical powers. He produces plays that don’t exist, that you couldn’t make up.
“He’s an unbelievable player. It was a pleasure to play with him at Liverpool, and it’s a pleasure to play with him for the Seleção. I’m a huge fan of his. He’s one of the very best players in the world.”
A reunion at Anfield would have certainly pleased Firmino, but Liverpool opted not to take their reported interest in Coutinho any further.
In a dire contrast to his dream move to Barcelona two years ago, the 28-year-old is now surplus to the Catalonians. After spending a mammoth £142million on him in 2018, the La Liga giants have been trying to push for a permanent move for Coutinho.
He spent the 2019/20 season on loan with Bayern Munich, contributing to their Champions League success, but the Germans did not opt to make his move permanent. The playmaker attracted a lot of attention from the Premier League, with Spurs, Arsenal and even Newcastle showing interest in his services (via Daily Mail).
Liverpool’s name was also amongst those monitoring his status but they opted to swoop for his temporary 2019/20 teammate Thiago Alcantara instead. However, as Barcelona dangled him on the market, the Reds could have struck a sweet deal to re-sign their former player.
The Reds certainly missed a trick by not taking advantage of the situation whilst Coutinho was being offered out. Although his departure divided the fanbase, it would all be water under the bridge if he came back and gave his all to the club once more.
Now, Liverpool would be spending money for no reason, as they currently have Thiago, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all competing for a spot in the midfield. Gini Wijnaldum is also a strong choice, but with less than a year left on his contract, he may be headed for the door next season.
Without signing Thiago, Liverpool would certainly have space to bring Coutinho back. It would also be very likely Klopp would build the midfield around him, having already managed him and knowing his best traits. But for now at least, it’s a missed opportunity for the reigning Premier League champions.