Philippe Coutinho is still coming to terms with the fact his dream move to Barcelona failed to materialise this summer.
The Brazilian playmaker was hopeful that a deal could be reached between the Catalan giants and Liverpool, but his current employers refused to even entertain the idea of entering negotiations.
Despite having the opportunity to make an absurd £131.5 million profit on Coutinho by cashing in - Barça’s third and final bid is understood to have been worth an eye-watering £140 million - Liverpool made their stance crystal clear at the beginning of the summer and weren’t prepared to budge.
Was this the right decision? Only time will tell but it’s clear that Jurgen Klopp will have a few issues to resolve when Coutinho returns to Melwood after the international break.
Getting him back on side might prove easier said than done, although with the World Cup in Russia just around the corner it’s clearly in Coutinho’s best interests to perform to his best level over the coming weeks and months.
Collymore: How Liverpool's players might treat Coutinho
Coutinho could also be forgiven for wondering how his teammates will react when he does show his face again.
And Stan Collymore, the former Liverpool striker, reckons the unsettled South American could be given a tough time - especially from the club’s senior stars.
“In dressing rooms, these situations tend to go one of two ways for players such as Coutinho, Virgil van Dijk and Alexis Sanchez, who have all agitated for moves this summer,” Collymore wrote in his latest column for the Mirror.
“Players who are a bit younger and trying to make their way in the game will say, ‘Well, he’s been a bit of a **** for what he has done, but he’s a great player and when he comes back I’m not going to treat him any differently than I did before’.
“Then there’ll be the more senior players — the manager’s lieutenants — who’ll rattle his cage and make sure he knows where he stands.
“They might give him both barrels — ‘You’re taking the ****, you’re bang out of order’ — or they might go down the more subtle route, which can often be worse than being fronted up.
“Every mis-kick, every chance that goes begging, even every stretch will be chipped away at.
“‘Hey, Phil, are these the sort of stretches they do at Barca, yeah?’
“‘Do we need you now we’ve got Mo Salah, Phil? Mo’s on fire.’
“That can get massively wearing.”
That’s the last thing he’ll want to hear, Stan.
Coutinho: Klopp should start Coutinho v Man City
Collymore, however, believes Klopp should put Coutinho straight back into his starting line-up against Manchester City this weekend.
“If Philippe Coutinho is fit and ready to go then I’d stick him straight back into Liverpool’s starting line-up against Manchester City on Saturday,” Collymore added.
“Get him back on the bike and get all the talk and all the wondering about the reaction he is going to get after his move to Barcelona failed to materialise out of the way.
“Then we can all move on and after a couple of performances it will be all forgotten about — at least until January.”
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