Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has told ESPN that Liverpool should consider splashing a club-record £100million to re-sign Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona this summer.
Coutinho, 27, joined Barcelona in January 2018 for an enormous £142million (BBC Sport) and immediately took to life at the Nou Camp during the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.
He scored 10 goals and laid on six assists in just 22 outings. But during 2018-19, it went downhill, finding the back of the net just 11 times in 54 outings – and managing just five assists, less than the second half of the 2017-18 campaign.
The Brazilian playmaker is coming under intense scrutiny from sections of the Nou Camp faithful, and ex-Liverpool man Nicol believes he should return to Anfield if the Reds are willing to part with £100million.
“Somebody like a Coutinho I think would be ideal for Liverpool,” Nicol said. “You’ve got a front three right now in [Roberto] Firmino, [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah who are fantastic.
“But they need a break, they need to be able to step off the field to keep themselves fresh for the challenge ahead. Now, I threw in Coutinho’s name there, the problem is could they afford him? Would they pay £100m for him?
“But I’ll tell you what, if they did, what an option that would be.”
TBR’s view – Nicol is right, Coutinho would secure PL title
Since Coutinho has left, Liverpool have grown in leaps and bounds. It has become more of a team effort, rather than relying on the likes of Coutinho or previously Steven Gerrard to conjure up some magic.
Now, it is the attacking fluidity of Sadio Mane, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino. The workmanlike performances of James Milner, Gini Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, and the rock-solid defence organised by Virgil van Dijk.
The reason why Coutinho would be an excellent signing, is that he is no longer the best player in that team. The pressure would be released, not everything would have to through him. He would play with freedom, and that would push Liverpool to the Premier League title.