In 2017, Steven Gerrard said Liverpool should build their squad around Philippe Coutinho and now, in a strange twist of fate, the 41-year-old has the chance to do so himself but at Villa Park.
The Brazilian had just signed a shiny new £110,000 per week contract at Anfield to become the club’s highest-paid player which he would force his way out of no less than a year later to join Barcelona for £142million.
Gerrard said in January 2017: “He can do magical things with the ball and he’s the type of footballer you want to try and build your team around.”
Aston Villa have confirmed they have reached an agreement with Barcelona for the loan of Coutinho for the rest of the season which sees him finally return to the Premier League where he made his name in Europe.
Significantly, the deal also includes the option to buy.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for the Brazilian on and off for the last four years and now that he has finally returned to England, that speculation can come to an end.
The good thing about him joining Aston Villa is that he’s not joining any of the Reds’ rivals so things won’t get messy in that regard and fans like myself, who will always have a soft spot for him, can simply focus on enjoying his football and watch from afar as Steven Gerrard gets the best out of him.
Liverpool fans will now eagerly anticipate the first game Coutinho will play against the Reds in the Premier League but they will need to wait.
The Merseysiders face Villa in the Premier League again this season and Steven Gerrard will be hoping to get one over his old side after losing narrowly at Anfield in early December but will need to wait until later this season.
The scheduled date for Liverpool’s trip to Villa Park is 16 April and so if the Premier League title race is still alive by then which is a long shot given Manchester City’s incredible form this season, Coutinho could have a dramatic say.