Frank Lampard explains why Barcelona were desperate to sign Philippe Coutinho in January

Liverpool fans must have known it was too good to be true.

Virgil van Dijk’s late winner against Everton in the FA Cup on Friday night was the best moment of the campaign so far as they progressed to the next round.

It was the dream debut for the Dutchman, who had to wait five months to get his move to Anfield.

And, not only did it see Liverpool progress to the fourth round, it saw them extend their unbeaten run of 17 matches in all competitions. That run has seen go within three points of second-placed Manchester United in the Premier League, while they’ve also reached the last-16 of the Champions League – being handed a favourable draw against Porto.

But Liverpool supporters had less than 24 hours to enjoy their victory and reflect on their current form.

That’s because they were soon dealt with the news that their star man was leaving the club.

Philippe Coutinho completed his £142 million move to Barcelona on Saturday evening and the Reds will now fight on all three fronts without the Brazilian.

While it’s not too hard to understand Coutinho’s desire to move to Barca, many people are wondering why a deal couldn’t be agree for the summer – much like Liverpool did for Naby Keita.

After all, Blaugrana don’t exactly need Coutinho for the rest of the season.

They could go nine points clear in the league on Sunday and Coutinho will be ineligible in the Champions League.

So, why were they so desperate to wrap up a deal for the midfielder in January instead of waiting for the summer?


Well, Frank Lampard might know the answer.

He was speaking about Coutinho’s transfer on BT Sport and explained how Barca needed to make a statement in the transfer window after selling Neymar in the summer.

“Maybe they (Barcelona) needed to make a statement because of what happened with Neymar recently,” Lampard said at half time of Norwich’s FA Cup tie with Chelsea.

“Coutinho is a fantastic player and will be a great player for them, for sure, but he wanted to go and it’s important now for Liverpool to recruit well with that money.”

Barcelona fans were disillusioned at the club in the summer after they sold Neymar and could only replace him with Paulinho after failing to clinch a deal for Coutinho.

However, Paulinho has surprised everyone with his performances and the Catalan club have finally got the player they really wanted five months ago.

And by spending the second highest transfer fee in history, the Spanish giants have certainly quietened those Barca fans that were moaning about their transfer activity in the summer.

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