By 90Min
August 20, 2017

Think of your club's best player right now. Think of how crucial they are likely to be for you this season. Knowing that, would you be willing to let them leave only two weeks away from the end of the transfer window?

Most would say no. But knowing the player himself no longer wanted to play for the club you love, would that change your mind?

Well, this is the battle which pits heart against the mind for a lot of Liverpool's fan base as their star man, Philippe Coutinho wants out of Anfield.

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It was an inevitable outcome, Coutinho expressing his desire to move to Barcelona. However, it seems as though he blindsided Liverpool as he pierced a hole straight through the heart of the club when he sent a written transfer request last week to force a move to Spain - much earlier than expected.

Many anticipated Coutinho to push for a move next summer as he was 'happy' to remain at Anfield for the foreseeable future - as numerous reports suggested.

He proved as much when he signed a new five-year deal at the club in January, the Brazilian told the club's website at the time: “I am very happy to sign a new contract here. It is a club that I am very grateful to and this shows my happiness here. I will work much harder to repay the belief shown in me."

At this point in time, it seems those words are anything but the truth. Admittedly, seven months is a long time in football, but the 25-year-old showed no signs that he would be agitating for a move away from Anfield any time soon.

As the summer progressed however, interest from Barcelona - although always lurking in the background - initially failed to strike fear into Liverpool fans that they would lure the maestro away this year. 

However, following Neymar's dramatic departure from Nou Camp for a world record fee, Barcelona have been forced to act to prevent a further fall from grace - and being armed with £196m was likely to be a worry for a number of clubs across Europe hoping to keep hold of their top talent.

This world record deal inevitably caused the Spanish giants interest from afar to turn into a serious quest to sign Coutinho, as they have since submitted a number of formal bids for the 25-year-old - which the Reds ownership group are said to have rejected immediately. 

Following discussions with Jurgen Klopp, Coutinho - although expressing his interest in a move - is understood to have assured his manager that he would not force through a deal and would be amicable throughout the process should any deal be struck between the two clubs. 

But, as we know this has not been the case. His transfer request, alongside the leaking of soundbites which suggested the Brazilian's relationship with Klopp was deteriorating - all routine practices and dirty tactics fed to a player to force a move - has been anything but amicable. 

Despite the player clearly itching for a move, Liverpool are not wavering from their stance that he is not for sale and Liverpool's ownership group can be commended as the club strives to no longer be seen as a feeder club to the likes of Real Madrid or Barcelona. 

This, however, is where the dilemma arises for the Liverpool faithful. On one hand you have a player who has expressed that he no longer wants to play for your club and has done so in a rather questionable manner, so the heart tells you that the Reds should get rid as if his heart is no longer with the club, then why bother having him as part of the squad.

His actions have clearly spoken louder than his words - although he isn't the first, or the last player to take such action - and as such it will be interesting to see how much damage he has done to the relationships he has formed with the Anfield faithful, and Klopp - in which the latter is renowned for being big on trust.

On the other hand, the mind tells you that refusing to sell Coutinho for any price sends a firm message that the Reds will no longer settle for continually losing their best players. 

This, along with being only two-weeks away from the end of the transfer window seriously limits Liverpool in finding a replacement, and if they were to accept a considerable fee for the 25-year-old then the market would once again inflate for any player they target.

All these arguments further add to the drama that has surrounded Liverpool and Coutinho for a number of weeks as the untimely acts from the Brazilian have cast a gloomy shadow over the start of the Reds new campaign - as if he pushed for a move earlier in the summer we might not be having this conversation, as he could already have been unveiled as a Barcelona player.  

It is an issue which will continue to divide the Liverpool fan base no matter what the final outcome is, as regardless of whether the heart or mind wins out, what can be agreed is that Coutinho has divided the club on all levels and he will seemingly find his way out of the club one way or another. 


Whether that is this summer or the next, only time will tell. 

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