‘Coutinho exit a blessing in disguise’

The sale of Philippe Coutinho has been a “blessing in disguise” for Liverpool due to the galvanising effect it has had on their forward line, says Mark Schwarzer.

Manchester City were no match for a blistering Liverpool on Tuesday night in the Champions League, as Jurgen Klopp’s side earned a 3-0 advantage in the pair’s quarter-final tie.

It wasn’t the first team Liverpool have blown away their opponents with their high-octane attacking football this season, with the departure of Coutinho to Barcelona in January doing little to slow them down.

Speaking on Sky Sports’ The Debate, former Premier League goalkeeper Schwarzer actually thinks that Coutinho’s exit has improved Liverpool as an attacking force.

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“Liverpool don’t have the squad that Manchester City have,” Schwarzer said. “Manchester City are able to play at a high level because they have players who can come in and keep them at the same high level.

“They (Liverpool) have shown, on isolated moments, that they can match the best and Manchester City are the best at the moment. Over two legs Liverpool need to show they can do it.

“Liverpool have been in evolution for a very long time, but under Jurgen Klopp they have got progressively got better with every season, and this season they have stepped up again with the link up between Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

“If anything, Coutinho leaving has been a blessing in disguise because those three have got even better since he left.”

Salah’s prolific form this season – the Egypt international has netted 29 Premier League goals already – has helped Liverpool excel at home and abroad in 2018, but Paul Merson believes those goalscoring exploits could make him a very attractive prospect to the best clubs in Europe this summer.

“Can Liverpool stop Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus coming in for Salah?” Merson said. “He is going to be hot property after such a phenomenal season.

“If you get 30 or more goals in the Sunday League then you are good, but to do it for Liverpool and play the way he has played is incredible.

“Keeping hold of his must be a worry. We are talking about £100m again. They won’t want to sell him, but money talks.”
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