Sunday, October 21, 2018

Will Liverpool replace Philippe Coutinho in January?

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According to the Independent, a deal to take Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona from Liverpool is close to completion. The deal could reportedly cost the Catalan giants £140million eventually with add-ons and various clauses.

Now we have heard this all before about Barcelona being close to signing Coutinho. However, a deal seems closer than ever before. The Brazilian is reported to be desperate for the move to be completed, while the Spanish league leaders are understandably keen to get the deal done.

Will Coutinho be that a major loss to Liverpool?

Philippe Coutinho is no doubt a very skilful player. However, an eventual fee of £140million seems like a lot of money for a player who at times has flattered to deceive at Liverpool. The Brazilian’s form has been outstanding of late, as the playmaker has scored seven goals and produced seven assists in a high scoring Liverpool team this season.

On his day, he can be a little magician, a true match-winner. However, his level of consistency has not always been great for the Reds. When he is off form, he gives the team very little and is also relatively injury-prone too.

Liverpool would lose a very good player. However, Philippe Coutinho is certainly not irreplaceable that is for sure. The Brazilian’s teammates at Liverpool Roberto Firmino and in particular Mohamed Salah have at times outshone him this season in the Premier League.

Potential replacements talked about

Various media outlets are linking Liverpool with Leicester star Riyad Mahrez and Monaco starlet Thomas Lemar. The Reds have made contact according to reports with representatives of both players about a potential January move.

It would be fair to say that neither player would cost the same amount as Coutinho. In fact, the Reds could sign either player and have a lot of money left over. The pair have interested Liverpool’s Premier League rivals Arsenal in the past.

However, the Gunners were reluctant to meet Leicester’s asking price for Mahrez, while a bid for Lemar on the summer deadline day collapsed at the last minute. It is unclear if the north London club will renew their interest in the pair.

Mahrez is slightly like Coutinho for me. He blows slightly hot and cold. He does have the ability to be brilliant. However, then he has a habit of going through spells were he produces very little for his team.

The Algerian international has scored seven times and produced ten assists this season. His recent performances have been very good, with some cynics suggesting his upturn in form is related to the fact that transfer window was about to open. Leicester boss Claude Puel claims the player is happy in the Midlands.

Reports coming out of France suggest that Thomas Lemar will not be available until the summer. Maybe it would be worth the Reds waiting until the summer and getting their man, as the 22-year-old does have big ability and massive scope to improve in the future.

Liverpool have enough to make the top-four

If Liverpool decided to keep their powder dry until the summer when it comes to a Coutinho replacement, I do not think it would be a disaster. Midfielder Naby Keita joins next summer, although he is a completely different sort of player to the Brazilian. He could be a key player in that Liverpool engine room.

For me, the Reds have enough quality to finish in the top-four this season, with or without Coutinho. The Merseysiders are currently odds of 1/3 to seal a Champions League place this season.

In the likes of Sadio Mane, Firmino and Salah, Liverpool still have quality attacking players to win them games. The signing of centre-back Virgil van Dijk may mean that Klopp’s side may not need to score as many goals as they have done to win games, as they will be keeping more clean sheets.

Liverpool could be about to lose one of the so-called ‘Fab Four’. However, with Coutinho, I doubt it will be a hard day’s night for Liverpool fans or boss Jurgen Klopp. I think it will be more of a case of we can work it out, as they have enough quality within their squad to still finish in the Premier League’s top-four this season.

Will Liverpool replace Philippe Coutinho in January?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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