The Scott Ruscoe Column: Coutinho, feuds and the magic of the cup?

Reporter:

Barrie White

As a Liverpool fan, I hope that the club isn't going to regret selling Philippe Coutinho when it comes to his goals and assists. He creates a lot of chances in plenty of games and he’s an excellent footballer.

The fans love to see him play; he plays in the right way and is a little magician. But when you let people go of that quality then you’re going to lose some of what you do.

Is it going to weaken Liverpool’s side? Yes it is but hopefully Jurgen Klopp can spend the money to get two or three players in and give the squad some depth. Every cloud will have that silver lining but the fans wouldn’t have wanted to see him go.

Liverpool might have failed to save face here. Clubs dig their heels in by saying players aren’t for sale and they’re not going anywhere, then a week later or six months later they cave in because of the monies reported.

It’s massive money; when Luis Suarez went for £85 million, I thought that was a lot of money but this is almost double. At the time, Suarez was irreplaceable for Liverpool fans too. Everyone has a club that comes in for them.

You just have to look forward. The likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona turn every player’s head and why wouldn’t you want to give it a go? I love the Spanish league and I love Liverpool but they couldn’t stop them doing what he wanted to do which is go to the Nou Camp.

Klopp could have pleased with him all he wanted but once his heart was set on the move, which it was last summer, then he was gone. They would have said stay until the summer and help us do something and when they come knocking on the door again, we’ll let you go.

There was probably an agreement in place for some time because of the speed of the agreement and the transfer so soon after the window opening. Barcelona have done their research and it’s been planned. Now it’s come to a head, Liverpool have to move on.

I was on a course on Sunday so I only just caught up with some of the comments between Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte, with accusations being a cheat and being a small man being thrown about.

It’s scratched the surface and touched a few nerves it seems, becoming a bit bitter. It doesn’t usually happen between foreign managers; it tends to be between a British manager and someone like Arsene Wenger.

Obviously Mourinho has been involved in this type of stuff before when he was in Spain and his spats with Pep Guardiola in the past. Is he feeling the pressure? I don’t know but it looks like he’s taken it off him and put it onto someone else.

He’s done himself no favours over the last few weeks, with his whingeing about money and now’s he’s moaning about other managers. Conte must be thinking ‘hang on a minute’. I don’t know who started it but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was him.

That press conference after Manchester United’s win over Derby was incredible and then all of a sudden Conte gets involved and it’s like ‘whoa’. I think it’s just Mourinho putting pressure onto other people.

I don’t know if he needs to do it. He’s downbeat, people are questioning why he’s still living in the hotel and why not buy a house. He says he would be miserable if he did and he wants to be near his staff. His family are in London so really, how long will he stay in Manchester?

He’s on about extending his contract but that isn't giving off the vibe that he wants to lay down roots in the city because he spends time in London throughout the week too.

It’s not good for planning and Jose could have been more humble in admitting that Manchester City have been on a different level this year so we’ll sign a few players to match them next year.

This season, in the league, City can now afford to rest players and have a right go at the Champions League knowing full well the league is comfortably their’s.

Sometimes it takes a better man to acknowledge that.

I caught with some highlights of the FA Cup over the weekend and there were not too many upsets until the Sunday when the holders Arsenal went out at Nottingham Forest.

Fleetwood with their young squad held Leicester City but a huge one was Coventry City beating Stoke City, which cost Mark Hughes his job. A lot of the top teams took it seriously; Chelsea picked a strong side in their draw at Norwich and Manchester City did too against Burnley.

It wasn’t in doubt despite going a goal down once they got their first. I saw Shrewsbury get a draw against West Ham, but if I was a betting man, I would have gone for that or even a Shrews win.

West Ham aren't in any great shape either and played a changed side. Leeds United were beaten by Newport County but the big shock was Arsenal. The holders going out in the third round is quite rare.

I saw Arsene Wenger put out a weak side and I was surprised at that. They’re not going to win the league and Europe will be tough too, so I thought they would have had a push at winning the FA Cup again.

It’s a massive trophy and one where fans enjoy the journey just as much. Stoke losing to a team in the fourth tier is a shock, but was it a big surprise? Did everyone think they were going to blow away Coventry? He must have put a good side out but when the goals were going in, you could the faces of his staff.

They know it was coming to an end. Hughes was never going to survive that, but maybe if he’d won, he would have got one more week in the Premier League. As soon as the crowd goes against you, and a run of the results for them in the league, he was walking on a tightrope.

Email:

barrie.white@nwn.co.uk

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