I was always warned by my late father, who was an ardent Spurs fan, that you should never get emotionally attached to the players as it only ends in heartbreak.
And there have been many times, as a Liverpool supporter, when I wish I had taken that advice.
Watching Fernando Torres exit Chelsea felt like a dagger in the back when El Nio captivated us all with his talent and astonishing goals.
The same can be said about Luis Suarez’s move to Barcelona. We all knew it was coming, but it was equally harrowing to know that we would never see this angry genius celebrate in front of Kop again.
At that point, I should have pulled the emotional drawbridge. There may be only so much heart ache, but after that romantic split, Philippe Coutinho quickly rocked it again.
So here I was, ready for another emotional rollercoaster with a player who was, at one time, comfortably the best in the Premier League and that was ours.
Had shimmy, fast legs, low center of gravity, not to mention amazing goals. There was a time when you allowed him to venture anywhere near the edge of the left side of the box, you’d expect the net to bulge.
Such was his technical genius, it always was.
But there is a price to pay for investing your heart and soul in such a mesmerizing quality. We didn’t win the title with him, although it came very close to Brendan Rodgers when we had Sterling, Sturridge, Suarez and new Villa boss Steven Gerrard pulling the strings.
Ultimately, though, players like Coutinho want titles and medals around their necks.
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As stories of Barcelona’s interest began to appear in the newspapers, you learned that the ‘little magician’ had cast his last spell at Anfield.
Jurgen Klopp had warned him that he would become just another name in the star-studded team if he left, but it would have meant a lot more if he had stayed.
Liverpool fans still haven’t recovered from the circumstances of his departure due to a back injury just before he left to join the Nou Camp.
At 42, I should have known better, but this was the first time I shed tears at the passing of a player. First Torres, then Suarez and now Coutinho? There was anger, there was sadness. It was a very painful break-up.
Looking back, perhaps it was the accumulated pain of losing Torres, Suarez and then Coutinho that inspired such sentiment. There is a fear that we will never win the Premier League title if we are constantly going to sell our best players.
It worked out in the end as the £142m Barca payout went to Alisson Baker and Virgil van Dijk. The rest, they say, is history.
I have always kept a close eye on Coutinho’s career since he left and I am still very much in love with a player whose exit tasted bitter.
She’s like that childhood girlfriend you break up with. There is bloody pain at that point, but you never lose affection.
I would bring him back to Liverpool in a heartbeat because I still believe – despite what many pundits say – that at 29 years old, he is still a world class player.
But that ship is long gone and now he is back in the Premier League with Aston Villa.
This would be a great move for them. This is a club with a big name and a big heart. That’s exactly what he needs at this stage of his career.
Recently there were some quotes from Tony Cascarino who said that Villa head coach Steven Gerrard can get the best out of him as he played with him for a few years at Liverpool.
I agree with this. Gerard knows him on the inside and you only had to see the smile that flashed on his face earlier this week when he was asked about Coutinho’s qualities.
For Villa, this is certainly an important statement of intent, even if it is just a loan at this stage. To capture a player with such ability – and he still has – would be a great story.
It may not have come cheap given Coutinho’s salary, but Villa have fielded a player who can certainly take them to another level – and also show their commitment to Gerard.
So Villa fans will soon get to see shimmys, the trademark junking run and the most surprisingly balanced of the players. Trust me when I say this from my own experience, but you will absolutely love her for it.
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