Jurgen Klopp seemed to be happy as his side prepared to face Manchester City on Saturday. There was a lot going on before the end of the transfer window and we did come out on top of it all.
While we brought in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Arsenal, we also kept hold of Philippe Coutinho, despite a lot of interest from Barcelona.
Coutinho had been hankering for a move to the La Liga side but we stood firm by not selling him, though the Brazilian did play for his national side during the international break. Coutinho has not featured in any of our games this season and with his performances for the national team, many hoped to see him in action at the Etihad.
Klopp however stated that Coutinho would not be playing for us, though the midfielder was fit enough to play for 15-20 minutes.
“I decided to leave [Coutinho] out of the squad for City so we can use the time for extra training,” Klopp was stated by the Liverpool Echo.
“We have got all the numbers from the Brazilian FA – the intensity of the training, stuff like that, and it was all okay. And he played twice – I think about 15 or 20 minutes.
“He could have played 15 or 20 minutes again in the City game, maybe longer, but I think really it makes sense [to leave him out],” added the Liverpool manager. “He agreed completely, so it was not as if he said ‘no, I don’t need training, I want to play’. It was a good conversation.”
We could still see a debut in the game against the Citizens with new signing Oxlade-Chamberlain featuring for us. Klopp was extremely pleased with this signing and added:
“[He can fit in] A few positions. He is a very good football player. He is good in small spaces. Really good in big spaces. A good dribbler. A good passer. We want to have him on the pitch as often as possible. He fits really well in different line-ups. In the system we play at the moment he can play in four positions.”
Even though Coutinho would not be a part of the fixture, getting the Ox on for a few minutes would not hurt us. The player took a wage cut to sign for us for a pay of £120,000-a-week, while Arsenal and Chelsea were willing to pay him a lot more.
Coutinho might leave us next summer but if Klopp can work his magic with the English midfielder, we would not feel the bite of the Brazilian’s departure. Naby Kieta would be joining us next season as well and things do look good in the midfield. If we can hold on to Coutinho though, we could become the most feared side in the land next time around and hopefully, we can win a few titles this time around.