In a bizarre set of events, Nike put up a post on their website suggesting that the fans should get their hands on Philippe Coutinho’s Barcelona jersey while they can. It was removed almost immediately but then it caused a massive furore among both sets of fans. Barcelona fans were obviously excited at the prospect of getting a player like the Brazilian playmaker while our fans were bordering on the brink of frustration.
Since last summer, there has been a lot of rumours linking Coutinho with the Catalan giants. The saga has been going on forever now and reports from IBTimes suggest that we are targeting Manuel Lanzini as a replacement for the outbound Coutinho.
Last season, Barca missed out on winning the La Liga and the £200,000-a-week attacker was deemed a necessity. However, they have been more solid this season and are title challengers by a large mile. That said, they are still understood to be interested in him and are ready to table a massive bid to acquire his services.
Losing a player like Coutinho at a time like this could massively dent our chances and although he is expected to leave over the summer, we all did hope he would stay beyond January at least. Liverpool are now being linked with a move to sign Manuel Lanzini but it will be quite an uphill task to find a replacement for a player like Coutinho.
It is unsure as to whether Nike made the mistake of announcing that ahead of time or if the website was hacked but whatever it is, we may not get to see Coutinho wear the red jersey beyond the summer. While it is quite a sad thought, it is time for Klopp to search for replacements and although Lanzini seems like a viable long-term alternative, perhaps the manager should try and get a player who can hit the ground running.
With Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in the mix, we can keep things moving without Coutinho but an injury to either one of them could severely dent our chances and we cannot afford that.