Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp cannot afford his relationship with Philippe Coutinho to descend in the same way it has with Mamadou Sakho.
In all his time at Liverpool, one anomaly for Jürgen Klopp has been his relationship with Mamadou Sakho. When the German manager arrived Sakho was a key part of his plans before a failed drug test and a preseason spat put the French defender out in the cold.
Over 12 months laters and relationship has not been repaired. Liverpool are in desperate need for another option at center back. Particularly a physical, quick, aerially dominate defender. Sakho ticks most of those boxes. Yet his time at Anfield looks to be over. There is no indication in the manager of a willingness to revisit the Frenchman as an option.
Without knowing all the details it is hard to say if Klopp is being honorable in his principles or inflexible in his stubbornness. How you perceive the manager is generally how you perceive this situation. If you trust Klopp then you side with his team principles. If you are suspicious of the manager you lean towards the player.
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What is certain is that Liverpool cannot afford for a similar situation to occur with Philippe Coutinho. Klopp places a huge emphasis on team unity and the morale of the squad. His back patting and hugging are not just for show. He is trying to create a group of secure, confident players who believe and trust in him and each other.
Coutinho’s summer agitations has disturbed the harmony and mood of the squad. Barcelona bidding on the eve of every big game has not helped. The player’s descent into a psuedo-strike with injury and his ‘low mood’ has cast a cloud on what has otherwise been a very positive squad atmosphere.
There is a choice ahead for both manager and player. Coutinho can continue to pout and sulk about the situation. Jürgen Klopp can take that personally. Either way Liverpool suffer. The only way out of this is an openness in both parties. Coutinho has to strap on his boots and be willing to fight for this club. The manager needs to let bygones be bygones.
What cannot happen is Philippe Coutinho to be outcast like Mamadou Sakho. If that is the case we are better off taking Barcelona’s cash and moving on.