Jurgen Klopp has lifted the lid on Liverpool’s “difficult” decision to part with Philippe Coutinho in January 2018, with the Reds begrudgingly sanctioning a €120 million (£106m/$130m) move to Barcelona.
Those at Anfield had initially resisted efforts on the part of a Brazilian playmaker to push through a dream switch to Camp Nou.
They even had Coutinho tied down on a new contract at one stage, but those terms merely delayed the inevitable.
Once it became clear that the 27-year-old’s head had been turned, Liverpool agreed to part with a top talent when the right opportunity for all concerned presented itself.
Discussing a protracted transfer saga with the Pure Football Podcast, Klopp said: "I really respected Phil's switch from the first second.
"Not that I do that all the time but it felt oh wow that could be difficult.
"So it's not about yes we signed a new contract so many weeks before that but it was really clear he would not have asked me for any other club but for this club, there was no chance.
"Then we had to be hard in the summer because we had no other solution. We lost Adam Lallana [to injury] in that time as well, we would have lost two players.
"That's not possible, you cannot solve that on the transfer market.
"He was open to that [staying] and that was really cool. Then you have to be fair in the window and say we can do it, we don't like it but we can do it."
Coutinho has endured a tough time since leaving Merseyside, with his Barca dream having become something of a nightmare.
Having failed to make the desired impact in Catalunya, the South American was loaned out to Bayern Munich for the 2019-20 campaign.
Further struggles have been endured in Germany, leading to talk of a possible return to the Premier League being made in the next window.
A second stint at Liverpool has been mooted, but many consider the Reds to have moved on and Klopp has suggested that Coutinho is part of the club’s past, rather than their future.
The German tactician added: "Phil was our boy for a long time. We respect him a lot and wish him all the best.
"That's how football should be. That's the most important thing the club showed in that moment."
Coutinho took in 201 appearances for Liverpool across five years, with 54 goals recorded in those outings.