It is difficult to think of any Liverpool player in recent history quite like Philippe Coutinho.

For five years the Anfield faithful watched him grow from a young player with serious talent into the Reds' main man, in a team that included Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. He wore the armband, scored hat-tricks in the Champions League and was blossoming into a truly world-class talent.

And then Barcelona came in.

It was certainly not a new phenomenon for one of the La Liga giants or a rival club to swoop in and claim a prized Liverpool asset, but the way in which the deal went down and the events that have followed most certainly was.

Sporting director Michael Edwards and his transfer committee commanded a whopping £142million transfer fee from the Catalan club while inserting a clause into the contract that would force the Camp Nou heavyweights to pay an additional €100m (£89m) for any Liverpool player they wished to buy before 2020.

It is easy to argue, therefore, that this is the Reds' best-ever deal in terms of selling a player so far.

In the two years since Coutinho's departure too, Liverpool have gone on to bigger and better things, reinvesting the money wisely and winning major trophies while the Brazil international has struggled to hit the same heights at Barcelona or during his loan spell with Bayern Munich which makes the transfer seem even more favourable.

That is not to say the 27-year-old playmaker is any less of a talent now than he once was, but more a player who is shot of confidence as someone his club are reportedly looking to offload permanently this summer with hopes of clawing back around £70m.

The Little Magician, as he was affectionately known during his playing years on Merseyside, has been repeatedly touted in the Spanish press with links to just about every major European club including Liverpool.

Those links, the fact Barcelona seemingly want to sell and the way Coutinho played while with the Reds have seen him remain a divisive character among Liverpool fans - particularly in any argument about bringing him back and that is again not a storyline often seen in days gone by.

However, Jurgen Klopp has no interest in moving for the curly-haired conjurer and any burning thought of that happening has slowly began to die in the embers.

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Most recently, Chelsea and Leicester City have emerged as potential suitors and are favourites to bring Coutinho back to the Premier League.

Any deal for either of those two clubs would, of course, come down to money but interest from Leicester makes sense.

The Foxes are positioned safely in third in the top flight with nine games remaining in the domestic season so the likelihood of Champions League football coming to the King Power next term looks very high - and that will of course be a prerequisite for a player of Coutinho's standard to switch allegiances.

Brendan Rodgers is also at the helm and Liverpool supporters will know how incredibly the Northern Irish manager handled Coutinho's rise and development while at Anfield so it would seem like a good chance for the Brazilian to go and play for someone who has previously got the best out of him.

Of course, sometimes there are players whose star burns brighter at the start of their career - Fernando Torres and Michael Owen are two key examples of that whereby Liverpool seemed to get their best years never to be truly seen again when moving elsewhere - and Coutinho is yet to pull up any trees, but his time is certainly not up.

And that could cause the Reds a problem, should they come to face a world-class player in a rival team at least twice a season - and potentially more given the amount of competitions both sides would simultaneously compete in - who could cause them serious damage on the pitch.