Smoke and Mirrors – The Coutinho Deception

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Member of the LFC Daytrippers and host of the Postmatch Couch Show on @LFCDaytrippers podcast. Send me your thoughts after the game #postmatchcouch

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I wrote about the ‘Trouble with Twitter’ and in some ways I guess this is a follow up as this maybe explains the fume that exists. In a time when ‘Game of Thrones’ is a Box Office hit, it’s no surprise that the Transfer Merry-Go-Round has such a following. 

But how much of what’s happening in this Transfer window is as real as the ‘Battle of the Bastards’… I’d suggest that a lot of what we read would make Cersei consider believing that ‘Winter is Coming’ before half of the words said by managers, club owners, ITKs and Twitter. So maybe we need to look at this from a different angle… Apply some logic and lateral thinking to this dearth of rumour and fiction.

Let’s look into Phil’s dilemma as this seems to be a source of many a fume of Twitter and every word spoken is being dissected into minuscule pieces before being examined by the worlds microscope wielding fans.

Phil has asked to leave the club (which he’s perfectly entitled to do), the club has listened to his request, and if you believe the press release before he did this, FSG they will have flat out rejected it. For clarity they are also perfectly entitled to do this as well.

So why the fume? It seems all perfectly legal and above board, both sides have clearly made their positions clear but one of these two parties holds almost all of the aces.

LFC don’t have to grant Phil his wish as he has signed a contract for 5 years with no get out clause and therefore has no legitimate reason to be released from it. 

Yes Barcelona is an attractive proposition to him but nothing gives them the god given right to take him regardless. In the words of Lucas “unlucky”!

So is there a rift or a difference of opinion between FSG and Klopp? Maybe, but if you step back away from Twitter, assume the ‘Lotus Position’ and think it through there’s something else to consider. 

Say FSG don’t sell and frankly I can’t see them selling, Americans love nothing more than saying “Fuck You!” to big fish in their pond. But if they don’t sell Phil, Jürgen will have to work with him, so is it any surprise that he is almost hinting that this is them not me blocking this? How would he be able to put his hand round Phil on September 1st and get him on the pitch and back to his very best. 

This could be a masterclass in smoke and mirrors, just before a press conference the club makes a statement, now Klopp can point to them and exonerate himself from this.

“Phil, I get why you wanted to leave and if it was my choice, I’d have let you go… But FSG wouldn’t budge buddy and nothing I could say would change their mind. Honestly I tried pal and it was the timing that screwed it up. If I could have got Keita in, it would have been a different story and I’ll be going back in for him next year. 

So look let’s walk this back, get you back where you belong and see where we are next summer. I want to help you nail down that Brazil captaincy and get you ready for the World Cup” – he can’t say any of that if Phil thinks he blocked the deal!

Behind the scenes I’m sure the conversation has been had and Klopp has told them that if Keita doesn’t happen don’t even think of selling Phil… But not everything needs to be public knowledge. Thank god Little Finger isn’t alive and well in Liverpool.

Now the counter argument is Phil goes on strike, again think about that… Say this out loud “Phil Coutinho will not kick another football for 8 months ahead of the World Cup and still expects to be picked to play for Brazil” – How ridiculous does that sound?

Don’t worry no one else heard you so let’s forget that and push on.

“Klopp won’t pick Phil…” Again is this really a rational thought? “He left Sakho in the cold!”… Yes he has but there’s more to that than meets the eye and right now all Phil is doing is faking a back injury (maybe). 

Why does Phil get picked? Simple he’s a fucking good player and with Phil in the team we are a better side. No doubts about it and Klopp maybe stubborn but he’s not a fucking idiot. When Phil is available he gets picked and I hear backs can heal pretty fast when the right ointment is applied to soothe the pains

So why is Barcelona saying “they deal is close?”… More smoke and mirrors, did you expect after a 5-1 aggregate defeat to their biggest rivals Barcelona wanted to discuss the game? That they wanted their fans to think this was what awaits them this season? This is textbook Mourinho, deflect and distract… Keep the attention on the future not on the past. 

Klopp said today “I don’t know know why other people are saying what they are saying, I don’t even know them, so especially this guy I’ve never met him so” and Dortmund CEO said “Barcelona have not come a millimetre closer to their wish of completing the Dembele transfer, I can offer no explanation for what Segura claimed the only reason I can think is the Real Left his side dizzy in the Super Cup”

On The Anfield Wrap this week Melissa Reddy spoke about “Barcelona’s way”, players getting in players heads, club saying to him this is a one time only offer. We have seen the Pro-Barca media pack reporting daily this is a done deal… Days away from being announced, but that was days ago. In sales it’s called an “Assumptive Close”, talk as if it’s a done deal and eventually the pressure tells and you find yourself agreeing because somehow it feels like the only option. I get the feeling that this may take more than wishful thinking Barcelona. 

Phil has one card to play… And he’s playing it right now. By not taking part in the Champions League Qualifier, he is weakening Liverpools chances of making it to the group stage. His one hope is if we don’t qualify, he can say “I need Champions League football and you consistently fail to provide that” and he’s right by the way, we do! 

If on Wednesday we fail to make it he will be banging on the managers door. He could have played these two games, it’s a qualifier so there is no “Cup tying” issues there. But he’s not available due to his bad back. Why isn’t he playing, well two reasons seem obvious, the first is its his best hope of getting his move but secondly he can at least say to Barcelona “I did what I could to make it happen, let’s agree to do this right next season” and they can’t say he didn’t try.

Don’t be surprised if behind close doors Klopp and FSG are saying to him “this isn’t gonna happen Phil, we have towed the line on the bad back story. Let us announce your back training, play on Wednesday and get us into the group stages and the fans will accept this and we all move on for a crack at the league and the latter stages of the Champions League”. Frankly us fickle fans would sing his name if he scores the goal that sees us home on Wednesday night and back on the stage we belong. 

When Southampton said no to Virgil Van Dijk I felt like a rebellion. When Leipzig refused to sell Keita it felt like a conspiracy. But now Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Southampton and Leipzig are all refusing to sell their star players this feels more ,Koke a revolution!

Clubs are going to hold their players to the contracts they sign, player power maybe join girl power and puppy power as things of the past. The game is changing and the powers of football are realising that all clubs have money from smarter sponsorship, to deals and merchandising. 

All this said Phil maybe sold by the close of the window, for no other reason than like in Game of Thrones, no one really knows what’s truth and what is a lie. It’s all just smoke and mirrors in the end

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About Rich 3 Articles
Member of the LFC Daytrippers and host of the Postmatch Couch Show on @LFCDaytrippers podcast. Send me your thoughts after the game #postmatchcouch