‘Liverpool haven’t missed Coutinho’ – Reds did ‘good deal’ selling to Barcelona, says Saunders

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool
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The former Reds striker is not convinced that the Brazil international is required back at Anfield, with others having stepped up in his absence

Liverpool “haven’t missed” Philippe Coutinho and have no need to bring him back, says Dean Saunders, with the Reds having done a “good deal” with Barcelona that has allowed them to improve without a Brazilian playmaker.

Back in the winter transfer window of 2018, the Reds reluctantly agreed to offload a talented South American to Camp Nou.

His sale brought a long-running saga to a close and allowed Jurgen Klopp to dip into the market with the funds generated from a big-money deal.

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Those brought in, such as Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, have allowed Liverpool to become Premier League title challengers and Champions League winners.

With that in mind, and there further potential to be unlocked in some of those now at Anfield, former Reds striker Saunders sees no reason why Klopp would be tempted to try and re-sign Coutinho.

He told talkSPORT: “Liverpool haven’t missed him.

“They lost one game all season and lost the league by one point when Man City won each of their last 14 games, so they didn’t bottle it.

“Positionally have they missed him? No.

“[Sadio] Mane, [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino are the front three, and [Divock] Origi and [Xherdan] Shaqiri have come in and done their bit.

“If you were critical, they may be lacking a really inventive midfield player. [Georginio] Wijnaldum, [Jordan] Henderson, [James] Milner, Fabinho – they’re all workmanlike.

“But I think we’ll see more of [Naby] Keita this season; he was brought in to carry the ball, go into the last third and make things happen.

“What a good deal it was – they sold Coutinho for £142m and they signed Van Dijk, Fabinho, Keita, Shaqiri, Alisson… and won the Champions League!

“Great business, well done Jurgen Klopp.

“You get lots of criticism in football, but that was a good move.”

While Liverpool have flourished in the wake of Coutinho’s departure, the 27-year-old has struggled to make the expected impact at Barcelona.

He has contributed 21 goals and 11 assists to the Blaugrana cause across 18 months, but he is not the talismanic presence that the Liga champions were hoping to see him become.