Jürgen Klopp on Coutinho transfer and January window
Jürgen Klopp discussed Philippe Coutinho's decision to leave Liverpool for Barcelona this week and other general transfer speculation regarding the club during his pre-Manchester City press conference at Melwood on Friday.
Read on for a summary of what the boss had to say…
On Coutinho’s decision to leave Liverpool…
There was no other option; I would say it’s a pretty easy answer. I don’t know exactly how the reaction has been after that, but if there is somebody who maybe should be angry, massively disappointed or whatever in this case then it could be the manager of the club, with players leaving. But I’m not because I know we tried absolutely everything – the club tried everything to convince Phil to stay here and carry on going the way together with us and stuff like that. It is exactly like everybody knows – it was his dream and it’s the truth when I say he left Liverpool only for one club and that was Barcelona. That was the moment when we really had to accept that.
The club was fighting until the last second and really tried everything. That’s the case. There was a moment when I knew it would come up again in this transfer window – and it came up massively – and it would then be very difficult if we had said what we could have done, of course, ‘here’s your contract and you have to stay here’, to [then] use him as a player in the second part of the season. That is then a decision I had to make at one point, does it make sense? Do I think we can use him still? Can he help us still? To be honest, it was 100 per cent clear no chance. He was not ready to do that anymore.
He did fantastic in the first part of the season after things we had to deal with in the summer transfer window. He did fantastic in the first part of the season and the team did fantastic because it’s never easy. Not only Phil did fantastic games in the first part of the season or fantastic sessions, but the team did really brilliant with that, as the whole club did. But it was clear that’s over now, we cannot do that anymore, so we made that decision, that’s it.
On how Liverpool will ‘replace’ Coutinho…
If we do something then it needs to be right decision, we don’t have to replace him – what we have to do is step up. We will have 11 players and we’ve played fantastic football without Phil. I don’t want to sound disrespectful because I really liked him; he was five years here and since I came in he was always in the dressing room. You miss a person and if you don’t miss them then something would have been wrong in the time you were together. I am sure he will miss us – maybe he doesn’t realise in the moment when everything is new there – but it’s 100 per cent clear.
We only have to carry on. As I said, we had fantastic games with him and not-that-good-games with him. We played good without him and not-that-good without. That’s the situation and we are already used to it, it’s now pretty much a week ago. [In terms of] a replacement, first of all if we have to replace him internally, then we will go with open eyes through this transfer window, but we will not make crazy things. Right [player] before expensive.
On transfer rumours regarding potential Liverpool transfer activity…
That’s part of the transfer window and I have nothing to say about that. It is how it is, we will see. Until January 31, a lot of things can happen in the transfer window and probably you will know if it’s about other clubs earlier than I will. But, nothing to say. We will see with all the things what can happen in the transfer window.
On comparing selling Coutinho to selling players at Borussia Dortmund…
I don’t know if you can compare them – we lost plenty of players at Dortmund, to be honest, and in the end maybe we couldn’t deal with it that good in the end, but [losing] one player was never a problem, to be honest. If somebody wants to know it, the best player of the season in 2011 in Germany was Nuri Sahin. He left the club after that season. It was not a coincidence that he was the best player of the season, he played an outstanding season.
The replacement was Ilkay Gundogan and he needed half a year to make any game for Borussia Dortmund. It was not that he came in and succeeded immediately. Things like this happen, but you never can compare it. It is normal in the business – you lose a player, you buy a player, you bring players in, you always need to react.
It’s all about the atmosphere in the club. If on Sunday, there is a free-kick, for example, from 20 yards and anybody in the stadium is thinking, ‘Phil!’ that would be not too cool. The team will not. Maybe the team will think, ‘he is not here, so we have to take it’. We will have solutions for that, that is 100 per cent. How it is always with the past: use it, don’t suffer because of it. That’s what I always did.
As I said, I like Phil, he is a fantastic player and his behaviour [was good]. I said to him, I don’t know after which game when we had a little talk on the pitch, ‘what a character!’ and that’s true. But he still wanted to leave, that’s how it is and so now he’s there and we are still here. There is nothing to compare, it is only to deal with the situation. Really, it is a normal, normal thing and we have only to make the best of it. That’s easy because we still have fantastic players here and if we have difficulties in the next few games, we don’t have them because Phil is not here anymore – we have them because we have difficulties, that’s all.