Liverpool owner John W Henry has taken a swipe at both Philippe Coutinho and Luis Suarez ahead of his side’s Champions League final showdown with Real Madrid on Saturday, questioning why players would want to leave the Premier League for the “meaningless matches” of La Liga.
In 2014, the Uruguayan striker left Anfield amid a turbulent time for the 31-year-old, with his move to Barcelona confirmed shortly after the World Cup.
The transfer, which set Barca back around £65m, would prove to be the first of two Merseyside favourites opting for a spell at Blaugrana over remaining with the European finalists, with Coutinho since joining the Camp Nou outfit for around £146m in January.
However, Liverpool owner Henry has claimed that he struggles to understand why any player would wish to leave Liverpool for an uncompetitive league such as the Spanish top-flight.
He said (via AP): “Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool,” he said.
“The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world.
“You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona.
“It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches.
“They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing.”
Despite Henry’s claims, both Coutinho and Suarez have got their hands on as many trophies this season as Liverpool have claimed over the past 12 years, and since the year 2000, there have been five different winners of La Liga – the same amount as England’s top league.
In addition, the gap between first and second in the Premier League finished at 19 points, while in Spain, the deficit was 16.
Also, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal all fell short of Spanish opposition in this year’s knockout rounds, and both European trophies could well find home in Madrid this summer after Atletico Madrid clinched the Europa League title earlier in the month.