Since then, his fall from grace has been well documented.
A series of inferior performances at par at Camp Nou saw it booed by his own fans in Spain, perhaps the first sign that the dream switch was quickly becoming a nightmare.
This year it was loaned to Bayern Munich, with the German side having the option of purchasing it for a permanent contract this summer for £ 109 million plus the £ 7.8 million they have paid to have it for the season. .
It is not an option that they are apparently going to adopt.
Speaking on a special Blood Red podcast, Bundesliga commentator and German football expert Kevin Hatchard explained that Bayern Munich never intended to buy Coutinho after its loan agreement expired, even when this clause was originally agreed.
He said: “Bayern felt it was a timely signature at the time. He was a guy who could do a job for them in the short term.
“I don’t think Bayern would ever sign it permanently because the clause was set very, very high.
“Look at the role that James Rodriguez played – they had the opportunity to sign it but they didn’t.
“It would have taken something really exceptional for Bayern to part with that type of money.
“He has done well and we have seen matches where he has performed the way Liverpool fans would remember.
“But is he in their best XI? I don’t think it is, no.
“If Bayern had a Champions League final tomorrow, it would not be in the starting lineup.
“It’s nice to have, but it’s not a player they need. “
And that pretty much highlights the problem Coutinho faces this summer: like when he played at Anfield, the Brazilian is almost a luxury player.
He is also a player who does not necessarily fit into the system in most of the very elite clubs in world football.
In Barcelona, as in Liverpool, Coutinho may not have a clear role in the 4-3-3 formation that the two clubs favor, while in Bayern, Hansi Flick prefers Thomas Muller, who returned in form after some difficult years, in number 10 berth.
In order for a team to completely rethink their system to include a single man, they must live up to Lionel Messi – something that Coutinho, like many players, does not succeed.
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Hatchard added, “Many clubs don’t know where to play it.
“He’s going to be adapted to someone, but it’s about whether the clubs need him. “
“It will also depend on the price drop in Barcelona, but I don’t think they can afford to lower it as much. “
“Barcelona needs to raise funds – it has become clear recently how difficult they will be if they do not.
“The difficult thing is that they don’t know where to play it either. “
Although Setien has replaced Ernesto Valverde as Barcelona boss since Coutinho left last summer, there is still a chance that the Brazilian will have a second chance to impress at Camp Nou.
But whether he ends up staying there or helping the Catalan side to raise the necessary funds, the main problem for the player himself is to determine his most effective position.