‘Liver­pool had no other op­tion but to sell £145m Coutinho’

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

- Jur­gen Klopp has ad­mit­ted Liver­pool faced an im­pos­si­ble task to keep Philippe Coutinho as his com­mit­ment in the sec­ond half of the sea­son could not be guar­an­teed.

Liver­pool’s Man­ager faced the me­dia for the first time since the Brazil­ian’s £145mil­lion trans­fer to Barcelona and was quick to wish Coutinho well on his new ad­ven­ture in Spain, as well as thank­ing him for his ef­forts dur­ing his time at An­field.

Klopp, how­ever, made it clear the de­ci­sion to sell ar­guably his most im­por­tant player was taken be­cause Coutinho’s heart and mind were al­ready in Barcelona; re­gard­less of the fact he had a long-term deal on Mersey­side, it be­came ap­par­ent that Liver­pool’s task was im­pos­si­ble.

Hav­ing ex­pe­ri­enced the trauma of last sum­mer, when Barcelona had three re­jected bids for Coutinho, Klopp knew the win­ter win­dow would present prob­lems of a sim­i­lar scale. It be­came clear that the time was right to sell the 25-year-old.

‘I knew it would come up again in this trans­fer win­dow,’ said Klopp, ahead of tomorrow’s show­down with Manch­ester City. ‘It could have been very dif­fi­cult if we had done what we could have done (and said) – “There’s your con­tract and you have to stay here!”

‘To use him as a player in the sec­ond half of the sea­son (would have been hard). That was a de­ci­sion I have to make. Does it make sense? Do I think I can still use him? Can he help us still? And to be hon­est, it was 100 per cent clear: no chance.

LIVER­POOL

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