Liverpool’s 2018 sale of Philippe Coutinho was meant to be a landmark move for Barcelona.
The £106m fee, as reported by BBC Sport, made him Barca’s biggest ever signing.
It was also Liverpool’s biggest ever sale.
They say hindsight is 20-20. And with hindsight, it is safe to say that Liverpool got the better end of the deal.
Fat wallet in hand, the Reds used their newfound wealth to invest in areas where they had previously had big problems. Ragnar Klavan was replaced by Virgil van Dijk at centre-back, goalkeeper Alisson Becker came in for Loris Karius and Liverpool went on to become champions of Europe and then England.
Coutinho has won two La Liga titles and a couple of Copa del Rey crowns with Barca, but he is viewed by the majority as far from a roaring success.
Fast-forward four years from his switch from Anfield to the Camp Nou, and there have been rumours regarding a possible return to Merseyside for the Brazilian, now 29.
Spanish publication Fichajes claimed earlier this month that both Liverpool and Everton – as well as Inter Milan – were eyeing up possible moves for Coutinho.
But was this true or just lazy continental tabloid talk?
When it comes to news about Liverpool Football Club no journalist is often quicker or more reliable than James Pearce.
And Pearce has had his say on the Coutinho rumours, as well as what he expects to happen (or not) during January for Liverpool in terms of transfers.
Pearce, formerly of the Liverpool Echo, was asked in an Q&A on The Atheltic what he thought about the chances of Coutinho coming back to Anfield, maybe on loan.
His response was this: “I can’t see it.
“Even if Barcelona were willing to sanction it, the loan fee and the wages would be massive. Plus the way Coutinho secured that move away from Anfield in January 2018 left a sour taste.
“Liverpool have flourished and been very successful without him. Their style has evolved. They don’t need Coutinho.
“In fact, barring an injury crisis or a change of heart, I’m not expecting Liverpool to add anyone to their squad during the January window. Klopp seems happy with what he’s got and senior club sources have indicated that incomings are unlikely.”
The sour taste Pearce mentions refers to Coutinho handing in a transfer request, which was initially rejected by Liverpool, as reported by Sky Sports.
Sky at the time quoted a close family member of Coutinho’s who blamed the club for the saga by saying: “Liverpool does not let its players leave on amicable terms.”