No clubs sell their big stars in January


 “January is a difficult market to do business. No-one wants to sell their best players.”

How often do you hear managers say this? The winter transfer window comes with a warning – don’t expect much; top performers are not available; it is the wrong time to buy and sell. Except, it seems, where Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho are concerned.

I can’t understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season.

No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month?

The financial reward is vast. So is the risk.

Liverpool are well placed to finish runners-up to Manchester City. They have a kind Champions League draw. The Liverpool team of January 2018 is superior to that of January 2005, which won the competition. They have lost just four of their last 44 games, continuously improving. Why endanger momentum?

Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm. While some players such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil Van Dijk lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite. He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season. I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months.

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