Joey Barton explains why Philippe Coutinho exit could help Liverpool FC boss Jurgen Klopp
The former Man City midfielder claims that Philippe Coutinho's exit could be a positive for Liverpool FC
Joey Barton believes Philippe Coutinho’s sale could actually be a positive for Liverpool FC manager Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds sold Coutinho in a £142m deal to La Liga giants Barcelona at the weekend to finally end the long-running transfer saga.
The Spanish side attempted to sign Coutinho in the summer but Liverpool FC refused to contemplate the attacking midfielder’s departure.
To his credit, Coutinho committed himself to the Anfield cause with an impressive return of 12 goals and eight assists in 18 starts in all competitions.
His exit is less of a blow given Mohamed Salah’s incredible form since his £39m move to Liverpool FC from Serie A giants AS Roma.
Adam Lallana’s return from a serious knee hamstring injury was given Klopp a selection headache given the form of Coutinho, Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
However, former Manchester City midfielder Barton believes Klopp could benefit from Coutinho’s departure.
“Klopp was having an issue, certainly in the Liverpool games I had seen, of getting Coutinho, Mane, Salah and Lallana all into the same side,” Barton told talkSPORT.
“It is going to be Mane and Salah either side of Firmino and now he has got only a smaller issue of does he play Wijnaldum or Lallana.
“I think it has actually helped Klopp out. He knew he had a player who wanted away, he was getting a load of money for him, he knew he would be able to reinvest in the side.
“It is going to sound bizarre to say this because Coutinho was mercurial for them at times but they could actually end up being a better team, a more cohesive team, without Coutinho.
“I don’t think he is as good as Hazard. Salah has been more influential than him this season, certainly with his goals.”
Liverpool FC are in fourth place in the Premier League table ahead of the visit of Premier League leaders Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
The Reds will take on Portuguese giants FC Porto in the Champions League last 16 next month as Liverpool FC look to win the competition for the first time since 2005.