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'Coutinho served a purpose for Liverpool, but not anymore' - Chelsea a better option for Brazilian, says McAteer

4:44 PM IST 14/02/20
Jurgen Klopp Philippe Coutinho Liverpool
It has been suggested that the South American playmaker would be welcomed back to Anfield from Barcelona, but the Blues are said to be a better fit

Philippe Coutinho once “served a purpose at Liverpool and was a great player”, says Jason McAteer, but that is considered to no longer be the case amid talk of a possible return to Anfield for the Brazilian.

It was made clear to those on Merseyside heading towards the winter transfer window of 2018 that the South American playmaker wanted to fulfil a boyhood dream of representing Barcelona.

His wish was eventually granted, with a big-money deal taking Coutinho to Camp Nou after five years in England.

The funds generated from that sale have helped to turn Liverpool into Champions League winners and runaway Premier League leaders, with the absence of a once talismanic figure barely being felt.

With that in mind, McAteer is of the opinion that bringing Coutinho back would make little sense, with it suggested that alternative landing spots in the Premier League would now be a better fit for a 27-year-old currently taking in a loan spell at Bayern Munich.

The former Reds midfielder told the Racing Post: “A move back to the Premier League for Philippe Coutinho doesn’t sound too ridiculous but I disagree with those suggesting there’s a place for him back at Anfield.

“Coutinho served a purpose at Liverpool and was a great player for a period of time – but that time has gone.

“Barcelona came calling and as a South American superstar I absolutely understand why that would look such an attractive move.

“So he wanted away and started to sulk a bit and eventually he went in what turned out to be a superb piece of business for the club, far better than Liverpool would have hoped for.

“He would still grace the top clubs in Europe, as he’s showed at Bayern Munich where he’s done okay – but he needs to be the centre of attention. That wasn’t the case at Liverpool and certainly wasn’t the case at Barcelona.

“I could see him slotting in perfectly at Chelsea, where Frank Lampard is doing unbelievable things trying to reboot that club using a lot of young talent bedding in alongside some experienced stars.

“Coutinho would feel really comfortable in the number 10 role at Stamford Bridge with the protection of N'Golo Kante and Jorginho and an array of young frontmen around him who would thrive working off him.

“The sticking point, of course, is that Barcelona would want silly money for him and I’m not sure Chelsea or Manchester United or Spurs would be prepared to break the bank to get him.”

Liverpool have offered no indication that they are considering a move for Coutinho, but Jurgen Klopp is being linked with a number of creative and prolific attacking options heading towards the summer – including Borussia Dortmund winger Jadon Sancho and RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.