By Danny Wright
Phil Thompson believes that the members of the Liverpool squad will be fairly understanding of Philippe Coutinho after he tried to leave Anfield during the summer transfer window.
It was widely reported that Barcelona had tabled multiple bids to try and snap up Coutinho, 25, after the Reds made it clear that he wouldn’t be sold.
That led to the attacking midfielder to hand in a transfer request to try and force a move to the Nou Camp, but after the deadline passed on Thursday, the Brazilian remains a Liverpool player.
There is now a debate about how Jurgen Klopp and the Anfield faithful will treat Coutinho as he now remains a Liverpool player until at least January.
Ex-Reds player Thompson think that although the members of the squad will enjoy winding him up about what happened in the summer, they will be largely understanding of why he tried to go about moving to Barca.
“I don’t think there will be any problems reintegrating him, particular with team-mates. What people have to realise is that there’s so much more forgiveness in the dressing room, it’s more mickey taking than anyone calling him a traitor,” said Thompson, on the Sky Sports website.
“A football club is very different to what people envisage and they are all a lot closer, regardless of nationality, and they’ll all understand the appeal of Barcelona.
“It might take a quiet word from the manager to get his head right and I would think, because of the talent, the fans will take to him once again if there’s the effort followed by the goods.”
There’s no doubt that Coutinho is one of the best players in Klopp’s squad, but the way that Liverpool have started the season begs the question if they need him back straight away.
The ex-Inter Milan star has missed every game this season with a back injury but returned to action for Brazil during the international break.
Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino were in lethal form for Liverpool during August, so it remains to be seen if Coutinho will displace one of them in the starting line-up for Saturday’s visit to Manchester City,
In other Liverpool news, Paul Ince has given his prediction for the clash with Man City.