Hamburg

Hamburg slideshow

Bernd Hollerbach, new head coach of German first division Bundesliga football club Hamburg SV, oversees his first training session at the club in Hamburg, nothern Germany on January 22, 2018

Bernd Hollerbach, new head coach of German first division Bundesliga football club Hamburg SV, oversees his first training session at the club in Hamburg, nothern Germany on January 22, 2018 (AFP Photo/Daniel Reinhardt)

Bernd Hollerbach, new head coach of German first division Bundesliga football club Hamburg SV, oversees his first training session at the club in Hamburg, nothern Germany on January 22, 2018

Hamburg hire Hollerbach to replace Gisdol

Bernd Hollerbach has returned to Hamburg as head coach, replacing Markus Gisdol.

Hamburg hire Hollerbach to replace Gisdol

Hamburg hire Hollerbach to replace Gisdol

Hamburg hire Hollerbach to replace Gisdol

Hamburg hire Hollerbach to replace Gisdol

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

FC Köln players celebrate after their win in Hamburg.

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Cologne plot Bundesliga's greatest escape after forcing Hamburg's hand

Hamburg fires Gisdol as coach, Hollerbach likely successor

In this photo taken Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018 Hamburg's coach Markus Gisdol grimaces after the Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and 1. FC Cologne in Hamburg, Germany. (Daniel Reinhardt/dpa via AP)

Bundesliga: Struggling Hamburg sack Markus Gisdol as coach with club fighting relegation battle

After a fourth straight Bundesliga defeat, Hamburg reluctantly fired their head coach Markus Gisdol on Sunday with the club second from bottom of the league.

Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row

Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row

Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row

Following a fourth Bundesliga defeat in a row, Hamburg have sacked head coach Markus Gisdol.

Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row

Hamburg dismiss Gisdol after fourth loss in a row

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018. Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck celebrates after the match REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck celebrates after the match REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Andre Hahn and Bobby Wood look dejected after the match REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Gideon Jung and Aaron Hunt react after Cologne's Simon Terodde scores their second goal REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Lewis Holtby receives instructions from coach Markus Gisdol REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Andre Hahn in action with Cologne's Jorge Mere REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Hamburg (Germany), 20/01/2018.- Police control supporters prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and 1. FC Cologne in Hamburg, Germany, 20 January 2018. Around 70 supporters of 1. FC Cologne have been arrested as media reports. (Colonia, Hamburgo, Alemania) EFE/EPA/Jonas Walzberg

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Andre Hahn in action with Cologne's Marco Hoger and Frederik Sorensen REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Filip Kostic has a shot saved by Cologne's Timo Horn REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Cologne's Simon Terodde celebrates scoring their first goal with Yuya Osako REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Hamburg (Germany), 20/01/2018.- Police control supporters prior to the German Bundesliga soccer match between Hamburger SV and 1. FC Cologne in Hamburg, Germany, 20 January 2018. Around 70 supporters of 1. FC Cologne have been arrested as media reports. (Colonia, Hamburgo, Alemania) EFE/EPA/Jonas Walzberg

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg coach Markus Gisdol REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Julian Pollersbeck in action as Cologne's Yuya Osako attempts to score REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Julian Pollersbeck and Kyriakos Papadopoulos attempt to block Cologne's Yuya Osako REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg’s Vasilije Janjicic in action with Cologne's Christian Clemens REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne

Soccer Football - Bundesliga - Hamburger SV vs FC Cologne - Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany - January 20, 2018 Hamburg players huddle before the match REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE DURING MATCH TIME TO 15 PICTURES PER GAME. IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO IS NOT ALLOWED AT ANY TIME. FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050

Pharrell Williams performs on stage performs on stage during the Global Citizen Festival G20 benefit concert at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017 on the eve of the G20 summit

Pharrell Williams performs on stage performs on stage during the Global Citizen Festival G20 benefit concert at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017 on the eve of the G20 summit (AFP Photo/RONNY HARTMANN)

Pharrell Williams performs on stage performs on stage during the Global Citizen Festival G20 benefit concert at the Barclaycard Arena in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017 on the eve of the G20 summit

Hamburg's Walace still optimistic about Flamengo loan

The 22-year-old midfielder could still leave the Bundesliga for his native country, even though the clubs failed with their initial negotiations

No clubs sell their big stars in January - so why have Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho?

 “January is a difficult market to do business. No-one wants to sell their best players.” How often do you hear managers say this? The winter transfer window comes with a warning - don’t expect much; top performers are not available; it is the wrong time to buy and sell. Except, it seems, where Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho are concerned. I can’t understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season. No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month? The financial reward is vast. So is the risk. Liverpool are well placed to finish runners-up to Manchester City. They have a kind Champions League draw. The Liverpool team of January 2018 is superior to that of January 2005, which won the competition. They have lost just four of their last 44 games, continuously improving. Why endanger momentum? Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm. While some players such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil Van Dijk lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite. He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season. I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months. Klopp is losing an integral part of his team Credit: Getty images It was more risky to keep him in August than now. No-one knew how he would react on his return to the side. He demonstrated it was in his nature to always give 100 per cent, so why expect different in February? When the move was denied last summer the player and his agent must have expected he would be retained for the year. What changed? I agree the £142 million fee is astronomical. The transfer market is crazy, but for Coutinho to become the second most expensive player in world football is extraordinary. He has become an outstanding player, but he is not the best in the Premier League like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez when they made their moves to La Liga. He is behind Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. But I still fear a mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool's Champions League place for next season. If they do not finish in the top four everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale.  Imagine the fillip for Liverpool’s top four rivals. If Kane ever leaves Spurs for Real Madrid, or Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester City, their Champions League hopes will immediately diminish. Liverpool lost Suarez to Barcelona after missing out on the title in 2014 Credit: Reuters The frustration for Liverpool supporters is every time the club looks capable of challenging for top honours they become prey. They finished second to Manchester City and lost Luis Suarez. Before that we came second to Manchester United and lost Xabi Alonso. Liverpool are not alone in being forced to accept their place in the football pyramid. Barcelona and Madrid eventually get what they want. Even Manchester United had to submit to Real when Ronaldo wanted out. Losing stars is not a recent Anfield phenomenon, either. In 1977 the club sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for a record fee. In 1984 they sold their captain Graeme Souness to Sampdoria at a time Italian football was the wealthiest in the world. In 1987 Ian Rush joined Juventus. The difference is they left with a sack full of trophies, Keegan and Souness as European Cup holders, while Rush had won the League/FA Cup Double a year earlier. Losing the player is not the biggest problem. It is when they leave, what they leave behind, and how well the void is filled that has been the greatest cause of Anfield stress. Liverpool sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg in 1977 Credit: Getty images Coutinho goes after five years without a trophy. For Torres it was the same. Suarez won just the League Cup. All left with the club craving a return to what it once was, having played their part in generating hope. They got close but then the rebuilding had to start afresh. That intensifies the dissatisfaction. You can accept and recover from major sales after a successful period, but not in the midst of reconstruction. Liverpool dipped after the exits of Alonso, Torres and Suarez. They panicked, believing they had to act to appease those demanding they reinvest. Inadequate replacements such as Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll and Mario Balotelli arrived. The three managers in charge at the time – Rafa Benitez, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers - were gone the following year. Huge sums were received and wasted. Bad transfers cost jobs. The Carroll fee kept rising because Newcastle knew Liverpool had the Torres cash. The rest of English football was laughing when it rose to £35 million.  Where the Coutinho departure differs is Liverpool have a more balanced squad now than in 2009, 2011 and 2014. They do not need to panic buy. If a long-term target can be signed they should act, but otherwise it is right to wait. Having been criticised a few year ago, Liverpool’s recruitment team has been more astute recently; Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez have proved to be exceptional signings. Virgil Van Dijk and the soon-to-arrive Naby Keita promise much. These recruits ensure Klopp can direct his resources on pursuing one or two high class players rather than six or seven, as was the case with the Suarez money. At the start of next season we will be seeing a fully-formed Klopp team rather than a developed version of the squad Rodgers left behind. Recruitment has certainly improved at Liverpool Credit: PA This makes me more optimistic longer-term than I was following the Suarez transfer.  Earlier this season I argued Liverpool may never win the title under Klopp. My reasoning is based on finances. City and United working in a different market. While Liverpool posses the Coutinho money, temporarily at least, that has changed. Klopp is in a better position to at least challenge his Premier League rivals for the most coveted stars. The £142 million brings opportunity. Since he joined Liverpool he has recouped £34 million more than he has invested. If he and his scouts continue to spend well, Liverpool will emerge stronger. Van Dijk’s arrival addresses the need for a centre-back. I will be staggered if Klopp does not target a more trustworthy goalkeeper. Too many people also appear to have forgotten Adam Lallana – England’s most technically gifted player – who will slot into the midfield role Coutinho has occupied for most of the season. Nothing will persuade me selling Coutinho now makes sense. Selling one of your best players can never be a cause for satisfaction. But the parallels with the sales Alonso, Torres and Suarez are not so valid. Liverpool are less fragile now. It is up to Klopp to succeed where both Benitez and Rodgers failed in 2009 and 2014 – ensuring a mega receipt of cash does not reverse a position of growing strength into one of debilitating weakness.

No clubs sell their big stars in January - so why have Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho?

 “January is a difficult market to do business. No-one wants to sell their best players.” How often do you hear managers say this? The winter transfer window comes with a warning - don’t expect much; top performers are not available; it is the wrong time to buy and sell. Except, it seems, where Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho are concerned. I can’t understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season. No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month? The financial reward is vast. So is the risk. Liverpool are well placed to finish runners-up to Manchester City. They have a kind Champions League draw. The Liverpool team of January 2018 is superior to that of January 2005, which won the competition. They have lost just four of their last 44 games, continuously improving. Why endanger momentum? Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm. While some players such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil Van Dijk lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite. He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season. I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months. Klopp is losing an integral part of his team Credit: Getty images It was more risky to keep him in August than now. No-one knew how he would react on his return to the side. He demonstrated it was in his nature to always give 100 per cent, so why expect different in February? When the move was denied last summer the player and his agent must have expected he would be retained for the year. What changed? I agree the £142 million fee is astronomical. The transfer market is crazy, but for Coutinho to become the second most expensive player in world football is extraordinary. He has become an outstanding player, but he is not the best in the Premier League like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez when they made their moves to La Liga. He is behind Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. But I still fear a mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool's Champions League place for next season. If they do not finish in the top four everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale.  Imagine the fillip for Liverpool’s top four rivals. If Kane ever leaves Spurs for Real Madrid, or Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester City, their Champions League hopes will immediately diminish. Liverpool lost Suarez to Barcelona after missing out on the title in 2014 Credit: Reuters The frustration for Liverpool supporters is every time the club looks capable of challenging for top honours they become prey. They finished second to Manchester City and lost Luis Suarez. Before that we came second to Manchester United and lost Xabi Alonso. Liverpool are not alone in being forced to accept their place in the football pyramid. Barcelona and Madrid eventually get what they want. Even Manchester United had to submit to Real when Ronaldo wanted out. Losing stars is not a recent Anfield phenomenon, either. In 1977 the club sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for a record fee. In 1984 they sold their captain Graeme Souness to Sampdoria at a time Italian football was the wealthiest in the world. In 1987 Ian Rush joined Juventus. The difference is they left with a sack full of trophies, Keegan and Souness as European Cup holders, while Rush had won the League/FA Cup Double a year earlier. Losing the player is not the biggest problem. It is when they leave, what they leave behind, and how well the void is filled that has been the greatest cause of Anfield stress. Liverpool sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg in 1977 Credit: Getty images Coutinho goes after five years without a trophy. For Torres it was the same. Suarez won just the League Cup. All left with the club craving a return to what it once was, having played their part in generating hope. They got close but then the rebuilding had to start afresh. That intensifies the dissatisfaction. You can accept and recover from major sales after a successful period, but not in the midst of reconstruction. Liverpool dipped after the exits of Alonso, Torres and Suarez. They panicked, believing they had to act to appease those demanding they reinvest. Inadequate replacements such as Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll and Mario Balotelli arrived. The three managers in charge at the time – Rafa Benitez, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers - were gone the following year. Huge sums were received and wasted. Bad transfers cost jobs. The Carroll fee kept rising because Newcastle knew Liverpool had the Torres cash. The rest of English football was laughing when it rose to £35 million.  Where the Coutinho departure differs is Liverpool have a more balanced squad now than in 2009, 2011 and 2014. They do not need to panic buy. If a long-term target can be signed they should act, but otherwise it is right to wait. Having been criticised a few year ago, Liverpool’s recruitment team has been more astute recently; Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez have proved to be exceptional signings. Virgil Van Dijk and the soon-to-arrive Naby Keita promise much. These recruits ensure Klopp can direct his resources on pursuing one or two high class players rather than six or seven, as was the case with the Suarez money. At the start of next season we will be seeing a fully-formed Klopp team rather than a developed version of the squad Rodgers left behind. Recruitment has certainly improved at Liverpool Credit: PA This makes me more optimistic longer-term than I was following the Suarez transfer.  Earlier this season I argued Liverpool may never win the title under Klopp. My reasoning is based on finances. City and United working in a different market. While Liverpool posses the Coutinho money, temporarily at least, that has changed. Klopp is in a better position to at least challenge his Premier League rivals for the most coveted stars. The £142 million brings opportunity. Since he joined Liverpool he has recouped £34 million more than he has invested. If he and his scouts continue to spend well, Liverpool will emerge stronger. Van Dijk’s arrival addresses the need for a centre-back. I will be staggered if Klopp does not target a more trustworthy goalkeeper. Too many people also appear to have forgotten Adam Lallana – England’s most technically gifted player – who will slot into the midfield role Coutinho has occupied for most of the season. Nothing will persuade me selling Coutinho now makes sense. Selling one of your best players can never be a cause for satisfaction. But the parallels with the sales Alonso, Torres and Suarez are not so valid. Liverpool are less fragile now. It is up to Klopp to succeed where both Benitez and Rodgers failed in 2009 and 2014 – ensuring a mega receipt of cash does not reverse a position of growing strength into one of debilitating weakness.

No clubs sell their big stars in January - so why have Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho?

 “January is a difficult market to do business. No-one wants to sell their best players.” How often do you hear managers say this? The winter transfer window comes with a warning - don’t expect much; top performers are not available; it is the wrong time to buy and sell. Except, it seems, where Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho are concerned. I can’t understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season. No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month? The financial reward is vast. So is the risk. Liverpool are well placed to finish runners-up to Manchester City. They have a kind Champions League draw. The Liverpool team of January 2018 is superior to that of January 2005, which won the competition. They have lost just four of their last 44 games, continuously improving. Why endanger momentum? Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm. While some players such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil Van Dijk lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite. He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season. I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months. Klopp is losing an integral part of his team Credit: Getty images It was more risky to keep him in August than now. No-one knew how he would react on his return to the side. He demonstrated it was in his nature to always give 100 per cent, so why expect different in February? When the move was denied last summer the player and his agent must have expected he would be retained for the year. What changed? I agree the £142 million fee is astronomical. The transfer market is crazy, but for Coutinho to become the second most expensive player in world football is extraordinary. He has become an outstanding player, but he is not the best in the Premier League like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez when they made their moves to La Liga. He is behind Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. But I still fear a mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool's Champions League place for next season. If they do not finish in the top four everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale.  Imagine the fillip for Liverpool’s top four rivals. If Kane ever leaves Spurs for Real Madrid, or Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester City, their Champions League hopes will immediately diminish. Liverpool lost Suarez to Barcelona after missing out on the title in 2014 Credit: Reuters The frustration for Liverpool supporters is every time the club looks capable of challenging for top honours they become prey. They finished second to Manchester City and lost Luis Suarez. Before that we came second to Manchester United and lost Xabi Alonso. Liverpool are not alone in being forced to accept their place in the football pyramid. Barcelona and Madrid eventually get what they want. Even Manchester United had to submit to Real when Ronaldo wanted out. Losing stars is not a recent Anfield phenomenon, either. In 1977 the club sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for a record fee. In 1984 they sold their captain Graeme Souness to Sampdoria at a time Italian football was the wealthiest in the world. In 1987 Ian Rush joined Juventus. The difference is they left with a sack full of trophies, Keegan and Souness as European Cup holders, while Rush had won the League/FA Cup Double a year earlier. Losing the player is not the biggest problem. It is when they leave, what they leave behind, and how well the void is filled that has been the greatest cause of Anfield stress. Liverpool sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg in 1977 Credit: Getty images Coutinho goes after five years without a trophy. For Torres it was the same. Suarez won just the League Cup. All left with the club craving a return to what it once was, having played their part in generating hope. They got close but then the rebuilding had to start afresh. That intensifies the dissatisfaction. You can accept and recover from major sales after a successful period, but not in the midst of reconstruction. Liverpool dipped after the exits of Alonso, Torres and Suarez. They panicked, believing they had to act to appease those demanding they reinvest. Inadequate replacements such as Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll and Mario Balotelli arrived. The three managers in charge at the time – Rafa Benitez, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers - were gone the following year. Huge sums were received and wasted. Bad transfers cost jobs. The Carroll fee kept rising because Newcastle knew Liverpool had the Torres cash. The rest of English football was laughing when it rose to £35 million.  Where the Coutinho departure differs is Liverpool have a more balanced squad now than in 2009, 2011 and 2014. They do not need to panic buy. If a long-term target can be signed they should act, but otherwise it is right to wait. Having been criticised a few year ago, Liverpool’s recruitment team has been more astute recently; Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez have proved to be exceptional signings. Virgil Van Dijk and the soon-to-arrive Naby Keita promise much. These recruits ensure Klopp can direct his resources on pursuing one or two high class players rather than six or seven, as was the case with the Suarez money. At the start of next season we will be seeing a fully-formed Klopp team rather than a developed version of the squad Rodgers left behind. Recruitment has certainly improved at Liverpool Credit: PA This makes me more optimistic longer-term than I was following the Suarez transfer.  Earlier this season I argued Liverpool may never win the title under Klopp. My reasoning is based on finances. City and United working in a different market. While Liverpool posses the Coutinho money, temporarily at least, that has changed. Klopp is in a better position to at least challenge his Premier League rivals for the most coveted stars. The £142 million brings opportunity. Since he joined Liverpool he has recouped £34 million more than he has invested. If he and his scouts continue to spend well, Liverpool will emerge stronger. Van Dijk’s arrival addresses the need for a centre-back. I will be staggered if Klopp does not target a more trustworthy goalkeeper. Too many people also appear to have forgotten Adam Lallana – England’s most technically gifted player – who will slot into the midfield role Coutinho has occupied for most of the season. Nothing will persuade me selling Coutinho now makes sense. Selling one of your best players can never be a cause for satisfaction. But the parallels with the sales Alonso, Torres and Suarez are not so valid. Liverpool are less fragile now. It is up to Klopp to succeed where both Benitez and Rodgers failed in 2009 and 2014 – ensuring a mega receipt of cash does not reverse a position of growing strength into one of debilitating weakness.

No clubs sell their big stars in January - so why have Liverpool sold Philippe Coutinho?

 “January is a difficult market to do business. No-one wants to sell their best players.” How often do you hear managers say this? The winter transfer window comes with a warning - don’t expect much; top performers are not available; it is the wrong time to buy and sell. Except, it seems, where Liverpool and Philippe Coutinho are concerned. I can’t understand Liverpool’s decision to sell Coutinho now. Not mid-season. No matter how much I hear about boyhood dreams; efforts to convince him to stay; and how much family, representatives or even sponsors pushed for it, why this month? The financial reward is vast. So is the risk. Liverpool are well placed to finish runners-up to Manchester City. They have a kind Champions League draw. The Liverpool team of January 2018 is superior to that of January 2005, which won the competition. They have lost just four of their last 44 games, continuously improving. Why endanger momentum? Regardless of how much Coutinho agitated, Liverpool could have stood firm. While some players such as Alexis Sanchez and Virgil Van Dijk lost form after being denied their summer move, Coutinho was the opposite. He has never played better for Liverpool than between September and December this season. I am sure the Brazilian would have recovered from his disappointment for four more months. Klopp is losing an integral part of his team Credit: Getty images It was more risky to keep him in August than now. No-one knew how he would react on his return to the side. He demonstrated it was in his nature to always give 100 per cent, so why expect different in February? When the move was denied last summer the player and his agent must have expected he would be retained for the year. What changed? I agree the £142 million fee is astronomical. The transfer market is crazy, but for Coutinho to become the second most expensive player in world football is extraordinary. He has become an outstanding player, but he is not the best in the Premier League like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale or Luis Suarez when they made their moves to La Liga. He is behind Harry Kane, Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. But I still fear a mid-season deal unnecessarily jeopardises Liverpool's Champions League place for next season. If they do not finish in the top four everyone will point at Coutinho’s sale.  Imagine the fillip for Liverpool’s top four rivals. If Kane ever leaves Spurs for Real Madrid, or Sanchez leaves Arsenal for Manchester City, their Champions League hopes will immediately diminish. Liverpool lost Suarez to Barcelona after missing out on the title in 2014 Credit: Reuters The frustration for Liverpool supporters is every time the club looks capable of challenging for top honours they become prey. They finished second to Manchester City and lost Luis Suarez. Before that we came second to Manchester United and lost Xabi Alonso. Liverpool are not alone in being forced to accept their place in the football pyramid. Barcelona and Madrid eventually get what they want. Even Manchester United had to submit to Real when Ronaldo wanted out. Losing stars is not a recent Anfield phenomenon, either. In 1977 the club sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg for a record fee. In 1984 they sold their captain Graeme Souness to Sampdoria at a time Italian football was the wealthiest in the world. In 1987 Ian Rush joined Juventus. The difference is they left with a sack full of trophies, Keegan and Souness as European Cup holders, while Rush had won the League/FA Cup Double a year earlier. Losing the player is not the biggest problem. It is when they leave, what they leave behind, and how well the void is filled that has been the greatest cause of Anfield stress. Liverpool sold Kevin Keegan to Hamburg in 1977 Credit: Getty images Coutinho goes after five years without a trophy. For Torres it was the same. Suarez won just the League Cup. All left with the club craving a return to what it once was, having played their part in generating hope. They got close but then the rebuilding had to start afresh. That intensifies the dissatisfaction. You can accept and recover from major sales after a successful period, but not in the midst of reconstruction. Liverpool dipped after the exits of Alonso, Torres and Suarez. They panicked, believing they had to act to appease those demanding they reinvest. Inadequate replacements such as Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll and Mario Balotelli arrived. The three managers in charge at the time – Rafa Benitez, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers - were gone the following year. Huge sums were received and wasted. Bad transfers cost jobs. The Carroll fee kept rising because Newcastle knew Liverpool had the Torres cash. The rest of English football was laughing when it rose to £35 million.  Where the Coutinho departure differs is Liverpool have a more balanced squad now than in 2009, 2011 and 2014. They do not need to panic buy. If a long-term target can be signed they should act, but otherwise it is right to wait. Having been criticised a few year ago, Liverpool’s recruitment team has been more astute recently; Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Joe Gomez have proved to be exceptional signings. Virgil Van Dijk and the soon-to-arrive Naby Keita promise much. These recruits ensure Klopp can direct his resources on pursuing one or two high class players rather than six or seven, as was the case with the Suarez money. At the start of next season we will be seeing a fully-formed Klopp team rather than a developed version of the squad Rodgers left behind. Recruitment has certainly improved at Liverpool Credit: PA This makes me more optimistic longer-term than I was following the Suarez transfer.  Earlier this season I argued Liverpool may never win the title under Klopp. My reasoning is based on finances. City and United working in a different market. While Liverpool posses the Coutinho money, temporarily at least, that has changed. Klopp is in a better position to at least challenge his Premier League rivals for the most coveted stars. The £142 million brings opportunity. Since he joined Liverpool he has recouped £34 million more than he has invested. If he and his scouts continue to spend well, Liverpool will emerge stronger. Van Dijk’s arrival addresses the need for a centre-back. I will be staggered if Klopp does not target a more trustworthy goalkeeper. Too many people also appear to have forgotten Adam Lallana – England’s most technically gifted player – who will slot into the midfield role Coutinho has occupied for most of the season. Nothing will persuade me selling Coutinho now makes sense. Selling one of your best players can never be a cause for satisfaction. But the parallels with the sales Alonso, Torres and Suarez are not so valid. Liverpool are less fragile now. It is up to Klopp to succeed where both Benitez and Rodgers failed in 2009 and 2014 – ensuring a mega receipt of cash does not reverse a position of growing strength into one of debilitating weakness.

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