Even though Liverpool fans were used to losing their best players, it still came as a massive blow for them when Philippe Coutinho opted to leave Anfield for Barcelona in January.
The Reds were clearly on to a good thing under Jurgen Klopp and Coutinho was the team’s star player.
The Brazilian, who Liverpool helped to fulfil his potential following his arrival from Inter Milan in 2013, simply couldn’t resist the opportunity to play alongside Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and co. at the Camp Nou.
Liverpool received a fair price for the then-25-year-old: £142 million, to be precise. This made him the second-most expensive footballer of all time.
But over half of that fee was immediately spent on securing the services of Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.
It turned out to be an inspired bit of business. The Dutch centre-back significantly bolstered Liverpool’s back-line, bringing some much-needed leadership to the table.
With Van Dijk at the heart of their defence, Liverpool went on to secure a top-four finish and reach the Champions League final. Meanwhile, the likes of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and, in particular, Mohamed Salah all flourished even more once Coutinho had left the club.
Brazil fan's tweet looks scarily accurate now
Although they couldn’t have dreamt it at the time, Coutinho leaving Anfield turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise. Liverpool suddenly looked more like a team.
A tweet, posted by a Brazil fan with a penchant for the Reds, posted a tweet back in January - a day after Barcelona confirmed Coutinho’s signing - which now looks scarily accurate.
My opinion, just my opinion,” @BrazilStat tweeted. “No like-for-like player will quickly replace Coutinho's magic, but if Liverpool end up signing Alisson, Van Dijk, Keita and a good young DM like Fabinho or Weigl, they'd definitely be a much stronger side even without Coutinho.
“Invest the ££ well.”
Remarkable. Alisson Becker, Van Dijk and Naby Keita are now at Anfield, and so too is Fabinho.
And it’s also true that Liverpool *are* now a much stronger team than this time last summer when Coutinho was still with the Premier League club.
He also added: “Those [saying] Liverpool can't sign Fabinho or Weigl, I bet they also said Liverpool couldn't sign Naby Keita. Gotta get rid of this mentality. If the club is serious towards any of the two and values them properly, I really don't think it's as impossible as some make it seem.”
We’ll be asking this guy for next week’s lottery numbers at this rate.