Philippe Coutinho is proving himself at Aston Villa after returning to the Premier League last year. The Brazilian, now 30, failed to make an impact at Barcelona after a staggering £142million move from Liverpool. However, playing in the Premier League has reignited some of his old spark.
Coutinho is not the first former Liverpool player to see his career stall after leaving the club. Sadio Mane is the latest player who appears to be struggling away from Anfield. Here are eight stars who have all regretted leaving Merseyside.
Bayern Munich (June 2022)
Sadio Mane was a king at Anfield for many years. The winger may not have received as many plaudits as teammate Mohamed Salah, but he was equally dangerous and devastating going forward. The Senegalese legend made a surprise move to Bayern Munich in the summer of 2022 after six dazzling years at Anfield. However, his first season has not quite got going, and reports suggest that the club’s hierarchy are growing concerned by his performances.
Juventus (July 2018)
After his drawn-out Anfield exit, Can played a big role in Juventus’ success in 2018-19, playing 29 times in Serie A, as well as making six Champions League appearances. However, after another big summer of signings at Juve, Can was left staring into the wilderness. Huge, free arrivals in the form of Aaron Ramsey and Adrien Rabiot quickly shifted Can down the pecking order. He departed for Germany and is now playing his football at Borussia Dortmund.
Barcelona (January 2018)
After leaving Inter Milan in January 2013 for just £8m, Coutinho quickly became one of Liverpool’s best players. As the years rolled on and the “Little Magician” continued to put in a series of glittering performances, the Brazilian then became one of the best on the planet. Barcelona came knocking, and as is often the way, the South American’s head was turned. Coutinho quit the club in January 2018, much to the disgust of the Liverpool faithful. Ever since, the Brazilian playmaker has quickly faded into mediocrity. However, his reunion with Steven Gerrard at Villa Park appeared to briefly get a tune out of him again, and he has still occasionally managed to show glimpses of his old self under Unai Emery.
Bournemouth (July 2016)
The English winger may not be in the same league as Coutinho or Can, but he could have been. After joining the Reds from Wycombe, the Londoner worked his way through the youth ranks before bursting into the first-team in the 2014-15 season. After spells on loan at Birmingham and Derby, Ibe quickly showed his promise before taking on a key role in 2015-16. Ibe made 27 appearances that season in the Premier League alone and 41 in all competitions, including some Man of the Match displays, including the Merseyside derby against Everton. But as he believed he was slipping down the pecking order, Ibe left Anfield just one year into his new five-year deal to join Bournemouth. At the time, the winger was being tipped for a call-up to the England set-up, but now he is playing in the second tier of the Turkish league for Adanaspor.
Chelsea (January 2011)
Torres infamously left Liverpool in the January window of the 2010-11 season for a whopping £50m fee. The Spanish legend had shown signs of slowing down at the Reds after a series of frustrating injuries. But after joining Chelsea, Torres looked a shadow of his former self, scoring just 20 times in 110 Premier League games, compared to 65 goals in 102 Liverpool matches. The 110-cap international bounced around the world for the rest of his career, having spells at AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, and Sagan Tosu in Japan before hanging up his boots.
Real Madrid (August 2004)
Liverpool born and raised, Owen spent 13 years at Liverpool in all, including his five seasons in the youth team. The striker scored 118 Premier League goals in just 216 games, quickly establishing himself as a legend for club and country. The 40-goal Three Lions forward believed he could do better as Liverpool continued their PL title drought. He moved to Real Madrid in a shock move in the summer of 2004 for a fee of just £8m. Owen scored 13 times in his sole season at the Bernabeu before he made the “biggest mistake of his career” as he called it, in joining Newcastle in 2005.
Leeds (August 2002)
Often a forgotten man amongst Liverpool fans, Barmby enjoyed plenty of success at Anfield. The 23-cap England star was part of the squad that won a hoard of trophies including the FA Cup and Uefa Cup around the turn of the new millennium. But he left after just two seasons, in 2002, to join Leeds United – in what should have been then prime years of his career. Both the player and club quickly suffered a downturn in form, with the Elland Road giants relegated and Barmby making just 25 appearances in two years. After a loan spell at Nottingham Forest, Barmby played the final eight years of his career at his home-town team, Hull.
Leeds (November 2001)
In defence of “God,” as he was known by Liverpool fans, Fowler had spent 17 years at Anfield – including nine years with the youth teams. Fowler quickly became a club legend, scoring 120 Premier League goals in just 236 outings. But after reports of a rift with boss Gerard Houllier and his assistant Phil Thompson in 2001, Fowler left just a handful of games into the 2001-02 season. Having been a true icon in Liverpool, Fowler failed to settle anywhere else after joining Leeds. Fowler spent two years in Leeds, leaving the season before they were relegated to join Manchester City. He returned to Liverpool three years later for a cameo spell at the club, in which he scored eight times. The 26-cap England star wound-down his career with spells at Cardiff, Blackburn, North Queensland Fury, Perth Glory, and Muangthong United before he returned in 2012.