Where Are They Now and What Next? Odds on Liverpool’s 5 Biggest Transfer Sales
When things are going well for your club, you don’t tend to dwell on the past too much. When the season resumes in mid-June, the Reds will march inexorably towards a first title in 30 years. Fans may bite their fingernails, believing something will go wrong – but it will happen. Sky Bet have put odds of 1/1000 for Liverpool winning the title, an implied probability of 99.9% in other words. When it happens, fans won’t worry about old grievances.
But when great players leave a club, it does hurt – and it will hurt Liverpool fans again. There will come a day when a Sadio Mane or a Mo Salah get their heads turned by another club, but hopefully not for a while. Nevertheless, Liverpool have a good record for moving on; cashing in on a big sale and replenishing the squad with someone better, or at least someone who is a better fit. As for the departees, their fortunes are mixed. Below we look at the five biggest sales and ask where are they now?
Philippe Coutinho: £142 million
It’s fair to say that things have not gone well for Coutinho since his move for a massive £142 million fee to Barcelona back in January 2018. A loan spell to Bayern Munich hasn’t worked out too well for the Brazilian either, and he is being touted for a move back to the Premier League this summer. Chelsea (given odds of 10/11 from 888sport) are the bookmakers’ choice for Coutinho’s most likely destination, and it’s 15/2 that he rejoins the Reds. Regardless of where he ends up, the same charge will be levelled at the Brazilian – bags of talent, but a frustrating lack of consistency.
Current Status – Bayern Munich (on loan from Barcelona).
Post-Liverpool Highlight – Despite the charge that he flopped at Camp Nou, he made 54 appearances for Barcelona in the 2018/19 title-winning season – more than any other player.
Luis Suarez: £65 million
Considering the success of the current Liverpool team, it’s almost a moot point as to whether Suarez’ departure was a good or bad thing. However, we can agree that joining Barcelona worked out well for the Uruguayan. He’s racked up four La Liga titles, as well as the Champions League in 2015. Paddy Power, a sports betting site featured in the football Betting offers on thebookiesoffers.co.uk, rate Barcelona as 8/15 on for another title once La Liga resumes (arch-rivals Madrid are 7/5), and they will be in the Champions League hunt too. We’d expect him to see out his contract at Barcelona, which runs out in the summer of 2021. After which, who knows? But you wouldn’t be surprised to see a move to the MLS or China.
Current Status – Still banging in goals for the La Liga Champions.
Post-Liverpool Highlight – Plenty to choose from, but we would argue that his return to goal-scoring form in late-2019 after weeks of booing from Barcelona fans would have satisfied the Uruguayan.
Fernando Torres: £50 million
A player who still has a place in the hearts of Liverpool fans despite joining a Premier League rival. In truth, Torres was never the same after that first explosive 2007-08 season, during which he scored more goals for Liverpool than in his five Chelsea seasons combined. Sure, there may have been a sense of schadenfreude for some fans after his £50 million switch. But most fans – and not just Liverpool fans – were upset to see “El Nino” lose his way. The day he bullied Nemanja Vidic at Old Trafford will live long in fans’ memories, and he’ll always be a hero on The Kop. He did have some nice moments too on his return to Atletico Madrid. Torres finished up his career in Japan at Sagan Tosu before retiring at the end of the 2019 season.
Current Status – Retired
Post-Liverpool Highlight – the emotional return to Atletico Madrid, which was capped off with a Europa League Final win in 2018.
Raheem Sterling: £49 million
If Torres, Coutinho and Suarez left on reasonably good terms with the fans, what can we say about Sterling’s departure? The ill-feeling still remains. Betfair rate Sterling as a 33/1 chance for a return to Liverpool as his next club, but there seems to be more chance of an asteroid hitting Anfield than Sterling wearing red again. What’s the problem? Unlike Torres, Sterling developed into a world-class player when he left. Unlike Coutinho and Suarez, Sterling left for one of Liverpool’s main rivals for the title. If we put all that aside, we are forced to admit that Sterling has become an incredible player. One for whom we can dig deep and find some grudging admiration.
Current Status – Key player for Manchester City
Post-Liverpool Highlight – Adding consistent goals to his game when becoming a lynchpin for City’s title-winning campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19.
Christian Benteke: £32 million
The Belgian joins a long list of strikers for whom Liverpool did not seem the right fit. His move to Crystal Palace in 2016 appeared to be the right one for the big man, especially when he rediscovered his goal-scoring form in his first season at Selhurst Park, grabbing 15 Premier League goals. However, Benteke has scored just five goals in 67 games in the three subsequent seasons, and he arguably frustrates Palace fans much more than he ever did the Anfield faithful. We do not know what Roy Hodgson has planned for him, but it feels like a move abroad might suit him. Otherwise, it’s unlikely he will feature in Belgium’s squad for next summer’s European Championships or the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
Current Status – Struggling in front of goal at Crystal Palace
Post-Liverpool Highlight – That first season at Palace yielded 17 goals in all competitions, almost seeming to justify the £30m+ price tag.
Written by Alan Spencer
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