Fantasy Premier League managers got the worst news imaginable on Sunday night. Philippe Coutinho was sold to Barcelona for a whopping £142 million. But the thud sound heard around the world wasn’t due to jaws dropping to the floor over the transfer amount. Rather, it was hands smacking against foreheads as FPL managers tried to figure out what to do next with their teams.
Although he missed Liverpool’s first four matches due to the transfer speculation that surrounded him in August, Coutinho quickly returned to the fantastic fantasy form managers had become accustomed to. Six times this season, Coutinho tallied double-digit points and that included a brilliant 18 point haul against Brighton.
The Brazilian had scored 103 total points, and somehow only cost managers £9.1 when he was sold on Sunday night. His exit will leave a massive hole in fantasy teams, and FPL managers won’t be able to find a player to fill the gap Coutinho’s loss has created.
Since Coutinho arrived at Anfield in January 2013, each season has been better than the previous. His form has been so good, FPL managers could expect steady, consistent points returns each season.
Coutinho’s Premier League numbers
- 2012-13: 3 goals, 7 assists, 0 yellow cards
- 2013-14: 5 goals, 7 assists, 1 yellow card
- 2014-15: 5 goals, 5 assists, 3 yellow cards
- 2015-16: 8 goals, 5 assists, 2 yellow cards, 1 red card
- 2016-17: 13 goals, 7 assists, 2 yellow cards
- 2017-18: 7 goals, 7 assists, 0 yellow cards
To compound the problems FPL managers will have with the loss of Coutinho’s goals and assists, is the knock-on effect it will have on other Liverpool players. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino have been lighting up the FPL this term. Salah leads FPL in points with 168, meanwhile Firmino has 109.
Removing Coutinho from the side has the potential to take away points from both Salah and Firmino. Both players have benefited from the vision the Brazilian displayed this term, and the duo were also helped by defenders being drawn away by Coutinho’s movement.
FPL managers will hope Liverpool add a creative player who can score goals like Coutinho. Unfortunately, those players are few and far between on the transfer market; especially, during the January window. The good news is Coutinho developed as a Liverpool player, and before his arrival, he was a midfielder castoff by Inter Milan. Perhaps Jurgen Klopp can find someone just like Coutinho that will reach their full potential at Anfield. Otherwise, the FPL season just got a lot more interesting with the loss of Coutinho’s fantasy points.