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Philippe Coutinho’s Liverpool return ruled out: “He isn’t missed”

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Philippe Coutinho’s sale to Barcelona was a “good deal” and he isn’t missed at Liverpool either, says Dean Saunders.

Coutinho became a fan favourite at Liverpool during his five years at the club, where he earned himself the nickname of “Little Magician” for his vision and passing abilities at Anfield.

The Brazilian playmaker clocked up 54 goals and 45 assists in 201 appearances in his time at Liverpool. However, he failed to help the club win a single trophy before departing for Barcelona in January 2018 in a €145m deal.

But Reds boss Jurgen Klopp made good use of the funds generated from Coutinho’s sale to sign the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker.

Liverpool have since reached back-to-back Champions League finals and won the competition in June to end a seven-year wait for silverware. They also became Manchester City’s prime challengers for the Premier League last season.

Coutinho, on the other hand, has struggled to live up to his price tag at Barcelona and could reportedly be on his way out this summer.

But any hopes that the 27-year-old may have on a Liverpool comeback have been dashed by Saunders.

“Liverpool haven’t missed him,” the ex-Reds striker told talkSPORT.

“They lost one game all season and lost the league by one point when Man City won each of their last 14 games, so they didn’t bottle it.

“Positionally have they missed him? No.

“[Sadio] Mane, [Mohamed] Salah and [Roberto] Firmino are the front three, and [Divock] Origi and [Xherdan] Shaqiri have come in and done their bit.

“If you were critical, they may be lacking a really inventive midfield player. [Georginio] Wijnaldum, [Jordan] Henderson, [James] Milner, Fabinho – they’re all workmanlike.

“But I think we’ll see more of [Naby] Keita this season; he was brought in to carry the ball, go into the last third and make things happen.

“What a good deal it was – they sold Coutinho for £142m and they signed Van Dijk, Fabinho, Keita, Shaqiri, Alisson… and won the Champions League!

“Great business, well done Jurgen Klopp.

“You get lots of criticism in football, but that was a good move.”

So far, Liverpool have only signed Dutch teenage star Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle in the summer transfer window.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 09: Dean Saunders manager of Chesterfield looks on prior to the Emirates FA Cup first round match between FC United of Manchester and Chesterfield at Broadhurst Park on November 9, 2015 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)