Liverpool have barely looked back since Philippe Coutinho’s big-money departure in 2018.
Losing the Brazilian was seen as a bitter blow at the time, but the Reds attack has been formidable without the playmaker in the past three years.
But, in recent weeks, the Reds have misfired for the first time, failing to find the net in their last four games and seeing their front-three struggling for goals.
Things have also not gone to plan Coutinho since his dream £142million move to Barcelona, with the 28-year-old struggling to live up to high expectations and continually being linked with an exit.
Whilst there is no indication that Coutinho could return to Liverpool, many of his former team-mates at Anfield share the same positive view of his talents.
The likes of Jordan Henderson, Roberto Firmino and Thiago Alcantara, who played with Coutinho at Bayern Munich, have shared their opinion that Coutinho is amongst the top talents they have played with and none have had a bad word to say about the 28-year-old.
Those feelings of respect are also shared by manager Jurgen Klopp, who said last year: “Phil was our boy for a long time. We respect him a lot and wish him all the best.
“That’s how football should be. That’s the most important thing the club showed in that moment.”
Despite Coutinho’s departure, captain Henderson hailed Coutinho’s technical ability last June.
“[Coutinho is] So good as a player, technically,” the Reds skipper told Rio Ferdinand on The Locker Room.
“Again just loved playing football, wanted to be out there enjoying playing football. Such a top player and a great lad as well.”
Firmino, who in many ways replaced Coutinho’s role in the Reds side, heaped praise on his international team-mate last October.
“He’s phenomenal,” Firmino told FIFA.com.
“You simply can’t say that he’s not a magician. He has magical powers. He produces plays that don’t exist, that you couldn’t make up.
“You always have to watch replays of his plays to understand what he’s done. He’s an unbelievable player. It was a pleasure to play with him at Liverpool, and it’s a pleasure to play with him for the Selecao.
“I’m a huge fan of his. He’s one of the very best players in the world.”
Alcantara never played with Coutinho at Anfield but they struck up a close bond during the Brazilian’s loan spell at Bayern Munich.
He confided in Coutinho before his move to Liverpool, stating at the time: “How was the life [here]? People like Philippe Coutinho and Xabi Alonso helped me a lot to take this last step. It’s really good.”
Asked about Coutinho’s talents whilst at Bayern, he told Sport Bild: “He’s a spectacular guy, super hardworking, with an unbeatable technique and an incredible finish.
“I know him very well. He’s very good. I’ve seen him play since he was 12 years old. I played futsal against him in Brazil, and I really liked him there. I love to play with great football players and he’s a phenomenon.”
The Reds look unlikely to spend in the January transfer window to solve their attacking woes and appear to have well and truly moved on from Coutinho.
But with the Brazilian open about his desire to return to the Premier League one day, it is clear he would be welcomed with open arms in many corners of the Liverpool dressing room despite the circumstances surrounding his departure.
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