Philippe Coutinho has signed a new long-term contract at Liverpool, but that has led to some supporters questioning whether the Brazilian will actually remain at Anfield for the foreseeable future.
Coutinho, 24, has been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent months and Liverpool have moved quick to tie down one of their biggest assets until 2022 in a lucrative deal that makes him the club’s highest-paid player.
A source had told ESPN FC there is no release clause in Coutinho’s new contract, which gives Jurgen Klopp a position of strength in negotiations should Barcelona and other clubs around Europe continue to take an interest.
Klopp is confident that one of football’s brightest talents committing his future to Liverpool is a huge statement, but others are treating the news with trepidation, going by recent history.
ESPN FC takes a look at four Liverpool players who signed lengthy deals but ended up departing a short while later …
In the summer prior to his £75m move to Barcelona in 2014, Suarez was subject to an infamous offer of £40,000,001 from Arsenal, which triggered a clause in his contract that, he believed, allowed him to leave. The Uruguayan then expressed a desire to quit Liverpool before he was banished to train with the reserves.
What do you think they’re smoking over there at Emirates?
– John W. Henry (@John_W_Henry) July 24, 2013
Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, refused to sell Suarez and he eventually made amends with the club, almost guiding Liverpool to the title in the 2013-14 season.
He signed a new long-term contract midway through that campaign and promised to remain at Liverpool “for a very long time”. The deal handed Suarez a huge pay rise as a reward for his exceptional form, and ensured any future bids would not lead to further disputes.
The forward won the Premier League golden boot in his final season at Liverpool, but his departure seemed inevitable when he bit Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup, following plenty of previous disciplinary issues during his time at Anfield.
Suarez’s last contract at Liverpool was simply a case of preserving a player’s value, given the Reds were always well aware of his long-held ambition to play for Barcelona. The Reds could not stand in his way again.
Torres’ departure from the Liverpool in January 2011 is the biggest reason why supporters are sceptical about a player’s future at the club when he signs a long-term deal.
Torres was continually linked with a move away throughout his time at Liverpool. Even though the striker had a deal that would have lasted until 2014, there was a £50m release clause in his contract that entitled him to leave if the Reds failed to qualify for the Champions League.
Liverpool granted the player the escape clause as part of the negotiations to keep him at the end of the 2009-10 season. Torres was concerned where Liverpool were going following the lack of investment during Tom Hicks and George Gillett’s disastrous ownership of the club. He was also growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of Champions League football on offer at Anfield.
The Spaniard, however, pledged his future to Liverpool in the summer of 2010.
“My commitment and loyalty to the club and to the fans is the same as it was on my first day when I signed,” he said.
But less than six months later, he joined Chelsea for £50m.
Alonso put pen to paper on a five-year deal in the summer of 2007 before he left for Real Madrid just over two years later.
The Spaniard’s last season at Anfield was arguably his best, as he was part of the Liverpool side that finished Premier League runners-up in 2008-09. However, the direction of the Reds under unstable ownership and his relationship with manager Rafael Benitez meant that the offer on the table from Madrid was too good to turn down.
His form, as opposed to contract length, was the ultimate reason Liverpool received £30m transfer fee. Just a year before he left, Liverpool valued Alonso at around £17m, with Arsenal interested but unprepared to meet that price tag.
The goalkeeper signed a six-year contract at Liverpool back in 2010 that would have kept him at the club until this most recent summer.
However, his performances massively deteriorated in the two seasons before he left, and his the length of his contract did not necessarily mean Liverpool received a notable transfer fee.
Reds boss Brendan Rodgers signed Simon Mignolet during the summer of 2013, while uncertainties remained as to whether Reina would replace Victor Valdes at Barcelona.
Reina did not return to Spain and he would go on to join Napoli on a season-long loan — joining up with Benitez once again — before he returned to Liverpool.
Mignolet was very much Rodgers’ No. 1 and Reina, then 31, joined Bayern Munich to back up Manuel Neuer, with Liverpool obtaining a nominal fee.
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.