Jurgen Klopp suspects Liverpool may have “suffered a little too much” over losing big players in the past and will not do anything “crazy” to replace Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazil international joined Barcelona for a reported fee of £142m, following in the footsteps of Luis Suarez, who left Anfield for Camp Nou in 2014.
Raheem Sterling, lured away from Merseyside by Manchester City a year later, was another high-profile recent departure whose decision to walk away caused considerable angst among Reds supporters.
Klopp has plenty of experience of losing key men, Nuri Sahin, Shinji Kagawa, Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski having left Borussia Dortmund during his time in charge at Signal Iduna Park.
Addressing the media before the Premier League match at home to Pep Guardiola’s runaway leaders City on Sunday, the German called for a collective reassessment of Liverpool’s mindset.
“We lost plenty of players at Dortmund… one player is never a problem,” he said.
“It’s normal in the business. You lose a player, you buy a player. It’s all about the atmosphere in the club. That’s how it always is with the past, use it. Don’t suffer because of it. That’s how I always did it.
“I liked Phil, his behaviour was always fantastic. There’s nothing to compare [between Dortmund and Liverpool], it’s only to deal with the situation. Like Sterling, like Suarez.
“Maybe in the past this club suffered a little too much, like ‘wow, how could we [allow those players to leave?’].”
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 12, 2018
Klopp did not rule out entering the transfer market this month, but insisted he will rely primarily on the current squad to compensate for Coutinho’s absence.
“If we do something it needs to be the right decision,” he said of potential signings.
“We don’t need to replace him [directly].
“We will have 11 players and play fantastic football without Phil. I don’t want to sound disrespectful. That’s how it is. We only have to carry on.
“We have to ‘replace’ him internally. We will go with open eyes through this transfer window but we will not make crazy things. [Any signing has to be] right before expensive.”
Liverpool were able to retain Coutinho in the face of considerable interest from Barca last year, but Klopp decided it was not in the team’s interest to keep the playmaker against his will, despite the 25-year-old’s importance.
“The club tried everything to convince Phil to stay here,” the manager said.
“It was his dream, it’s the truth when I say he left Liverpool only for one club and it was Barcelona. There was a moment where we had to accept that.
“The club was fighting to the last second… I knew it would be very difficult if we said you had to stay here. And to use him as a player in the second half of the season… does it make sense?
“Could we use him still? No chance. He was not ready to do that anymore.”
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