By 90Min
June 22, 2019

If ever a reason was needed as to why any elongated length of time without mainstream football is a really bad thing, don't look any further than being told that Philippe Coutinho is seriously being considered for a return to Liverpool.

It's a whisper that's stayed ever since the Brazilian joined Barcelona in all honesty, that's how the rumour mill works after all, but over the last few days, there's been a renaissance which has peddled the story (if we can even call it that) in record numbers.

JUAN MABROMATA/GettyImages

So just in case you're brave enough to come along for the ride with us on this one, here's a rundown of what we know about where the rumour came from, why it picked up so much traction, and most importantly of all, why it's utter, utter rubbish.


THE BACKGROUND

Coutinho isn't very happy in Barcelona. That much is true. He even said himself that he might not be at the Camp Nou by the start of next season.

Now, the logical next step is to look at who's been linked with him over the last few months, and at the very least we can rule out some teams.

Linked with Manchester United? Well, he used to play for Liverpool and has already pretty much ended any chance of that happening. Next.

Linked with Chelsea? This is less about it not happening, and more about it being physically impossible for the Blues to register new players until the summer of 2020.

Linked with Paris Saint-Germain? The whole reason he joined Barça was to fill Neymar's boots, so, maybe. It's also pretty difficult to turn down the chance to play for one European football's biggest and most prestigious clu...oh who are we kidding, it's the wages.

So, that's why the narrative throughout the summer so far has gone hand in hand with Barcelona's apparent attempts to re-sign Neymar.

LUIS ACOSTA/GettyImages

Or at least it was until Le 10 Sport's little nugget was published on the World Wide Web on Thursday, claiming that they had learnt Coutinho's former club Liverpool were actually wanting to re-sign him this summer.

No explanation. No more information. Just a seven-word sentence: "Tout comme son ancien club de Liverpool!"


Roughly translated into English, that says: "Anything we say about Liverpool will catch on like wildfire so here's the most illogical rumour we can think of!"

Even if we give them the benefit of the doubt with their tip, this is a rumour that is screaming for the writer or editor to use just a tiny fraction of their common sense to not put something like this out there in the social media ecosystem.


THE REAL STORY

It's been made very clear this summer what Liverpool want to do in the transfer market and how much they want to spend - or rather how much they want not to spend - on targets ahead of the new season.

An upgrade on Simon Mignolet? Sure, that'd be grand.

Maybe an understudy for Andy Robertson? Sounds good.

Doubling your record transfer to fill a position which already has ample cover and to bring back a player who was chomping at the bit leave just one year ago? Hmmm, maybe not.

The short story, Liverpool don't need Coutinho. They don't. They don't want him either. Not at that price at least.

Throughout the latter stages of the season, we were told over and over again by the club, by Jürgen Klopp, and by every Liverpool insider worth their salt that there weren't going to be any major changes this summer.

And not a single iota has changed since.

OLI SCARFF/GettyImages

What's most likely to happen with Coutinho next? Well, he's only really got two options on the table as things stand.

1) Stick it out at Barcelona.

2) Switch places with Neymar at Paris Saint-Germain.

And that's what Coutinho's summer transfer window will almost certainly look like, nothing much more than a glorified game of stick or twist, where he'll probably be seen as a loser in either outcome.

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