The midfielder had been the subject of great interest from the Merseyside club over the past few weeks (per John Percy of The Telegraph) with manager Brendan Rodgers thought to be heavily invested in bringing the young Brazilian international to Anfield.
Goal.com's Wayne Veysey reported that the club had even arranged a delegation to travel to Inter Milan to finalize up negotiations with the player's agent and club.
By all accounts, a transfer to Liverpool seemed like a very real and possible option for the youngster in the winter transfer window.
However, according to comments that Coutinho himself made yesterday via Sky Sports (h/t ESPN Soccernet), the 20-year-old isn't looking to leave the Italian giants any time in the near future and hopes to remain at his current club—thus snubbing any interest from the Premier League giants:
Liverpool target Philippe Coutinho insists he is hoping to stay at Inter Milan for the remainder of the season, despite speculation that the Premier League side have made a formal offer for the Brazilian.
Coutinho, 20, has been strongly linked with a move to Anfield this month and widespread newspaper reports suggest Brendan Rodgers is hoping to recruit the midfielder in time for Liverpool's FA Cup trip to Oldham on Sunday.
"I don't feel that I'm on my way out," Coutinho told Sky Sport 24. "I hope to stay at Inter. I feel the coach and the club trust me. Now I'm focused only on doing my best in my job and getting back on the field soon..."
The 20-year-old is no doubt a great attacking player with plenty of potential and, in an ideal world, could have been a great signing for the Reds.
Yet, his comments do seem to suggest that he will be staying at Inter Milan and not joining Liverpool, which in reality, is a blessing in disguise this year.
The fact that Coutinho will most likely not be coming to Anfield over the winter transfer window is a good and positive outcome for Liverpool this season.
That might seem strange given the talent and ability that the youngster has, but for various reasons, the midfielder's decision to remain at Inter is ideal.
Perhaps the biggest reason why Coutinho's snub is a good thing for Liverpool is the fact that he doesn't really fit their system or starting side at all.
I wrote an article during the week on a Liverpool starting team with the 20-year-old in it, and the only place that he could really fit is at attacking central midfielder—a decision which has big ramifications for other players in the starting lineup.
New signing Daniel Sturridge is pushed out on to the wing and Jordan Henderson back on to the bench, which isn't good at all for the Reds, given the fact that the pair have been two of Liverpool's best attacking players this year.
Sturridge's involvement in the Reds' attack now allows Luis Suarez to become more creative behind the attack this year rather than just running to long balls and then trying to hold the play up. He can dribble more and draw in the attacking wingers whom the Reds have out wide—all of which represents good and positive things for the Reds.
Were Coutinho to arrive, Sturridge would not be given the same starting opportunities, and Henderson—who has been excellent in attack so far this year—would face next to no playing time with he and Fabio Borini vying to get just an appearance off the bench.
The playmaker is definitely very talented, but if he's going to cost Liverpool team dynamics and the like, you wonder if he is really worth it after all.
Bleacher Report's tactical analyst Sam Tighe puts it well:
The question is: With this newfound successful formation and style, how does Coutinho fit in? The answer, of course, is that he doesn't.
He doesn't provide the menacing, distracting energy that Henderson does, nor does he come close to second-choice Jonjo Shelvey in this facet of the game, either.
The other concern lies in what happens on the reverse. You can count on [Jordan] Henderson to get stuck in when Liverpool are going backward, but what can Coutinho offer in this aspect?
Throw in the fact that Liverpool are trying to make a late run for a Champions League berth, and the transfer suddenly becomes very dangerous indeed.
The Reds have seemingly finally figured out how to best get the likes of Steven Gerrard, Joe Allen and Luis Suarez all on the same page. They've now brought in Daniel Sturridge to complement that attack, and the quartet are starting to cause havoc to defenses right across the Premier League.
Even after their disastrous start to the year, the men from Merseyside are now only four points off fifth place Everton and seven points off fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur. They are literally within touching distance of a European berth once more.
And to change all of that now by bringing in a 20-year-old, untried and unproven playmaker just doesn't seem at all worth it for Liverpool.
To change their entire team dynamic and function, which they finally got right at a pivotal point in the season, is not at all worth it for the Reds. Especially when it's going to cost the club close to £10 million to actually sign Philippe Coutinho from Inter Milan in the first place.
Simply put—if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Especially once you finally got the engine to work.
Is Philippe Coutinho a good move for Liverpool this transfer window?
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