John Gibbons: Couti-nho place like home for Philippe?

Barcelona isn't that good, Gaudi is rubbish and La Rambla is just a wide road with expensive lager. Is Philippe Coutinho on his way back to Liverpool?

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I’m not one to follow ex-players much after they leave Liverpool. I’m very much an out of sight out of mind sort of individual. I mean Raheem Sterling is pretty hard to miss considering he is literally down the road and part of a team trying to stop us winning the league. Plus if I want to know what he is up to day to day, the English tabloids will be sure to tell me. But the rest of the lads can be doing what they like for all I’m concerned. They may as well leave Liverpool and retire.

But this week former Liverpool players have been rather hard to avoid. First of all there has been Raul Meireles doing the Portuguese version of Lip Sync battle topless except for bloodied bandages. If you haven’t seen it yet it’s as mad as it sounds. But Raul was always a bit different. All mohawks and tattoos in an era of media trained stars and short back and sides. Apparently he is running a fashion boutique in Portugal now with his wife. Sounds decent that. Better than doing Talksport anyway.

But you wait ages for an eccentric wide man who used to play for Liverpool to appear and then two come along at once. Ryan Babel has turned up in West London with bright red hair apparently ready to play Premier League football again. The biggest shock of the whole thing was finding out he is still only 32! I must admit this news did have me considering whether he could still do a job for Liverpool. I don’t mean starting ahead of Mo Salah or anything, I’ve not gone completely mad.

I just meant as an option off the bench when people are getting tired.

This is of course proof that football fans can talk themselves into anything with a bit of false nostalgia. He was quite good Babel wasn’t he? Loads of pace, firm shot. Plus he knows the area so wouldn’t need any settling in time. But then I remember that he actually used to do my head in when he played for us and he’s done absolutely nothing since leaving Liverpool and you realise it was a terrible idea after all.

Ryan-Babel-Liverpool

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However, there is one former Liverpool player that has been linked with a return to Anfield in a slightly stronger way than me seeing him on the TV and wondering if he would do a job for us.

Phil Coutinho is said to have decided that Barcelona isn’t that good, Gaudi is rubbish and La Rambla is just a wide road with expensive lager. So he’s wondering whether he should have stayed in Merseyside after all.

Of course Jurgen Klopp predicted this would happen. Everyone should listen to Jurgen Klopp more. He pointed out the risks of leaving a place where the team is built around you and the fans idolise you to go to a place where they already have Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and more. The question is whether Jurgen Klopp would take him back.

He does have previous for bringing back star players who left his sides only to realise the grass isn’t always greener. Both Shinji Kagawa and Nuri Sahin left and returned to Dortmund under Jurgen Klopp.

Could Coutinho be the next one?

He would certainly solve one of the very few issues have had this season, a midfielder who can break forward and support the attack. That player was supposed to be Nabi Keita, but it hasn’t quite happened for him yet, and although Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is ahead of schedule in terms of his return from injury, the manager won’t be expecting too much too soon.

We don’t yet know whether Barcelona are open to offers, and if so what those offers would have to be. So there is a lot that needs to happen in the next couple of weeks if the Brazilian magician is to return. But stranger things have happened in football. And it would certainly be a statement from Liverpool going into a very exciting part of the season.

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