Coutinho will spend his season playing Alaves and Leganes when he could have helped Liverpool chase Champions League glory – Jan Molby

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There wasn’t anybody who wasn’t surprised by the timing of Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona.

Most Liverpool fans expected this day to come but very few expected it to be in January.

Obviously Klopp has weighed it all up and thought the player is going to be disappointed again, as he was in August, and they obviously did a lot of work to get him back in the group. He’s going to have a full month of speculation and Barcelona doing their transfer politics and thought ‘now’s the time to cash in’.

Hence he did what he did, got it out of the way and got the money in, whether we’re going to need it now or not, and we can now concentrate on the players who are with us.

Philippe Coutinho poses prior to signing his new contract with FC Barcelona at Camp Nou on January 7, 2018 in Barcelona, Spain. The Brazilian player signed from Liverpool, has agreed a deal with the Catalan club until 2023 season. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

My biggest disappointment is that Liverpool is an exciting club to be at so I was surprised Coutinho didn’t want to spend another four months being a part of that.

He would have got his “dream” in the summer while taking part in a Champions League campaign with a really good chance of getting to the quarter finals.

Now he’s going to spend the time playing in league games against Alaves and Leganes and the rest.

So what to do with the money?

Liverpool’s new signing Virgil van Dijk pictured at Melwood Training Ground on December 31, 2017 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

I don’t think Liverpool need to spend straight away.

It’s very much like the van Dijk situation in the summer when Liverpool failed to get him and were criticised for not going to get someone else.

The manager showed he’s not prepared to compromise on his choices and I think as long as they think they’ve a chance of getting the number one choice – whoever it is – they’ll wait for that player, whether in January or the summer.

I think we’ve got enough, things have changed dramatically since last summer. We have a lot more options and I think Klopp could easilty get by from now until the end of the season and still achieve the club’s target of top four.

It will give the midfield a different dynamic but it’s not a massive problem

(Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The options are there for Liverpool to fill the Coutinho gap.

There’s been a real positive impact from Mo Salah which no-one could have predicted, not even the player himself, you’ve got Lallana back from injury and you’ve got Oxlade-Chamberlain. It looks like Lallana still needs a few games but it appears the Ox is ready to play more consistently and Mo is in the form of his life.

I don’t think it will be a massive problem.

Yes it will give you a completely different dynamic in midfield in that we won’t have an out and out playmaker like Coutinho but we will have players with other qualities.

It will probably give us a more solid feel, a better defensive shape, a more physical presence, I don’t think it’s a problem.

Liverpool's Adam Lallana
Liverpool’s Adam Lallana

It becomes one when you try to bridge the last gap to win the Premier League when you might need better quality than we’ve got now but I think we’ve got enough quality to get in the top four already.

To me it’s not a great concern and it’s a nice position to be in having sold a great player but not being desperate to replace him unless you get who you want.

The club won’t compromise and will wait to get the right man.

Bringing Naby Keita in early makes sense.

They’ve already decided he’s their man, so why not spend a little bit extra on him, I don’t have a problem with that if it’s the best solution even if people suggest you’re paying over the odds.

Van Dijk announced himself with dream debut

Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates
Virgil van Dijk of Liverpool celebrates

It was always going to be a great atmosphere at Anfield last Friday being an FA Cup game with 8,000 visiting Evertonians.

It was a fairly competitive game, the two teams went toe to toe and a dream debut for Virgil van Dijk which you couldn’t have written.

The money we paid isn’t ridiculous if that’s what we needed.

All players have to announce themselves and that’s what he did. He’s made a great first impression which is no surprise to me.

Getting West Brom in the next round of the cup is a good draw. You know exactly what they’ve got and what they haven’t got.

Your dream is to be at home and for a team of Liverpool’s stature being at home – regardless of who it is – looks like a real chance to progress.

The team best equipped in the Premier League to end City’s unbeaten run is Liverpool

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola (right) and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester

The visit of Manchester City to Anfield on Sunday has the makings of a real cracker thanks to the philosophies of the two managers.

It’s going to be played at an incredible tempo, both teams are about high tempo with or without the ball, and it’s going to be very demanding.

Liverpool might have a slight advantage in the fact City have played Burnley and Bristol City since Liverpool last played so we may have more energy.

There’s no doubt they have some very good footballers but I think the one team best equipped in the Premier League to end their unbeaten run is Liverpool.

It’s not about being defensive, you have to go toe to toe, match up to their qualities and we can do that in almost all positions.

I worry slightly about centre midfield but I do think we can put up something against them to impact how they want to play.

Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side's third goal with Emre Can against Huddersfield Town at Anfield
Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates scoring his side’s third goal with Emre Can against Huddersfield Town at Anfield

I’d put Oxlade-Chamberlain in instead of Coutinho for his legs, probably with Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum alongside him.

At the back it’s impossible for Klopp not to start van Dijk again.

Tommy always had a twinkle in his eye talking about football

Tommy Lawrence
Tommy Lawrence

I only got to know Tommy Lawrence, who passed away this week, through my work with the Liverpool Former Players’ Association but he was a genuine nice guy.

People told me lots of stories about him when he was a player and he played a massive part in that first Liverpool team which announced itself in the 60s.

A lot of people had a lot of time for him and he always had a twinkle in his eye when he talked about football.

It was very sad news indeed.



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