How much is Philippe Coutinho worth, and who could replace him at Liverpool?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
How much is Philippe Coutinho worth? To Liverpool, he was worth 54 goals in over 200 appearances, hitting double figures in each of his last three seasons. For his influence on his teammates and football club, it would be difficult to put a price on his contribution.
"But what Liverpool will miss more than his goals is his ability to create chances for his team-mates and make those around him better," BBC's Gary Rose argues. He highlights Coutinho's influence on Roberto Firmino, who scored six goals in 11 games when they started together; but only managed three goals when Firmino started without his compatriot.
To Barcelona, the Brazilian playmaker is worth £142 million, breaking their transfer record and becoming the second most expensive footballer in the world. He signed a five-and-half year deal at Camp Nou and will have a buyout clause of €400 million (£355 million).
However, the CIES Football Observatory disagree with his astronomical transfer fee. The research group, specialising in the statistical analysis of football, believes that Barcelona has overspent - and he wasn't even Liverpool's most valuable player, the Liverpool Echo reports. They rate the 25-year-old as being worth €123 million (£108.5 million) - significantly less than the €160 million the La Liga side splashed out on the midfielder. His former teammates, Mohamed Salah, is actually worth more, with his recent form reflected in his value of €140.5 million (£124 million).
Whether he is worth the £142 million Barcelona forked out, or the lesser but still substantial value from the Football Observatory, his move could leave a hole in the Liverpool side. Naby Keita will move to Anfield in the summer, agreeing to pay the £48 million release clause for the RB Leipzig midfielder. The Liverpool boss may need to reinvest the Coutinho transfer money elsewhere.
Liverpool‘s former managing director Christian Purslow has urged Klopp to splash the cash on PSG midfielder Marco Verratti. He told Sky Sports: "Go and buy Marco Verratti from PSG.
"Who has won the league in the last two years? Leicester and Chelsea. What was the common denominator? N’Golo Kante.
"Would he have made Liverpool better? Indisputably. He is a world-class player, I just think Liverpool have to aim high.
"I don’t want fine, I want brilliant, because they just sold brilliant. “Fine” gets you fourth, fifth, sixth."
Former Reds player turned TV pundit Danny Murphy joined the debate. He suggested that the Merseyside club should look closer to home, and try to coax Alexis Sanchez away from Arsenal.
He said: "Are Liverpool trying to win the league? Or are they trying to slowly but surely grow and become a consistent top-four club? I don't know the answer to that, but you must have a spine of quality - at the moment they've got one.
"I'm putting it out there, I don't know if he'd go because I've got no inside information, but if you've got that much money, and you don't want to spend fortunes on £50 million, £60 million, £70 million players, just go and give Sanchez whatever he wants, say, 'Come and be our leader'."
Philippe Coutinho will not be able to make his debut for the club for about three weeks because of a thigh injury he sustained while at Liverpool. The Brazilian will likely make his debut in the Catalan derby against Espanyol on February 4.