Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has slammed the club’s decision to sell Philippe Coutinho, saying that it will endanger their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.
The Reds decided to let midfielder Coutinho complete his long-protracted move to Barcelona last week, with the club to receive a fee of around £142million.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has claimed that there was nothing they could do to prevent Coutinho’s departure, with the player pushing to fulfil his boyhood dream of joining the Catalan giants.
However, in his column for the Telegraph, Carragher has questioned that, and has slammed the club for their decision to let the 25-year-old go this month.
Carragher said: “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?
“A mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool’s Champions League place for next season. If they do not finish in the top four everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale. Imagine the fillip for Liverpool’s top four rivals. If Kane ever leaves Spurs for Real Madrid, or Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester City, their Champions League hopes will immediately diminish.”
Carragher is right in questioning the sale of Coutinho, but the fact is that players now wield most power in the transfer market. If one decides he wants to leave, and the club receive a significant offer, then the likelihood is that they will go. That has happened here, and Liverpool will just have to move on from it. Their squad is strong enough to deal with his departure, and Klopp should be able to bring in some half-decent replacements with the £142million. Naby Keita is a good place to start, but he does not look likely to come earlier than the summer.