Phil Thompson says he would bring Philippe Coutinho back to Liverpool “in a heartbeat”.
The 26-year-old signed for the Spanish champions in January 2018 from Liverpool for £146m and Thompson said the midfielder could bring an extra level of creativity to Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Former Liverpool captain Thompson said bringing Coutinho back to the Premier League for half of what Barcelona paid for him would be a shrewd bit of business.
“I would take him back in a heartbeat, but it would have to be now,” Thompson told Sky Sports News. “You don’t want to leave it another 12 months, I think he still has the ability.
“He’s suffered at Barcelona. We’ve seen him playing out wide on the left, but he’s not Neymar.
“He likes to be in the middle where he can pull strings and is getting on the ball to hurt teams.
“He doesn’t do that and he’s not a left-winger and that’s where he’s playing at Barcelona; they don’t love him like Liverpool loved him.”
Coutinho has been linked with a Premier League return, following a quiet season with the Catalan club, scoring just five times in 34 La Liga appearances.
Barcelona fans were angered by their team’s performance in defeat to Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, surrendering a three-goal advantage from the first leg.
Coutinho arrived at the Nou Camp in excellent form, with 12 Liverpool goals in 20 season appearances before his mid-season switch last year, and Thompson said having him back could make the Reds’ front three of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane even more dangerous for opposition defences.
“He was that little bit clever, that creativity behind those front three that you could go to in games where you knew you were going to have the majority of the possession,” said Thompson.
“He could open that door, he could score the goals that would get you the win.