Six Names On Liverpool's Shortlist To Replace Coutinho?
Six Names On Liverpool's Shortlist To Replace Philippe Coutinho?
With Liverpool having sold superstar Philippe Coutinho to FC Barcelona for €160 million (R2.37 billion), they are now said to be assessing potential replacements. Here are six names that have been linked with the Reds.
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The Brazilian wanted to leave the Premier League club at the beginning of the season, but Liverpool played hardball and refused to let him go.
Despite his disappointment, Coutinho focused on his game and contributed with 12 goals and nine assists in 20 appearances in the first half of the campaign. These numbers now need to be replaced if the club wants to reach its ambitious targets.
Various media outlets have linked several names as Coutinho's successor, with Monaco's Thomas Lemar and Leicester City's Riyad Mahrez suggested to be the favourites. Lemar was heavily linked with the Reds in the previous window, but it remains to be seen whether or not the club will pay the reported €100 million (R1.49 billion) fee Monaco want.
Mahrez, who has been in great form for the Foxes this campaign, was rumoured to be Liverpool's No. 1 target in the immediate aftermath of Coutinho's move, but those reports have since quietened, according to ESPN.
A slightly more defensive option would be Leon Goretzka, whose contract with Schalke expires at the end of the season. However, the Germany international has also been heavily linked with Bayern Munich, and Klopp would pull off a major coup if he could beat the German giants to the player's signature.
Another Germany international in Julian Draxler has been linked with a switch to Anfield. The 24-year-old has fallen down the pecking order at Paris Saint-Germain, who need to sell players in order to meet Financial Fair Play regulations after buying Neymar for a world record fee of €222 million (R3.3 billion) at the beginning of the season.
Nabil Fekir is an outside bet. The Olympique Lyon midfielder has impressed in Ligue 1 so far in 2017/18, scoring 13 goals in 16 league games already, but Liverpool would have to beat Arsenal, among others to his services.
Another name that has been mentioned is the Gunners' Alexis Sanchez, although he seems nailed on to join Manchester City either in January or at the end of the season.
It remains to be seen who Klopp's preferred choice will be, but if he fails to reinvest the massive Coutinho funds in a replacement, he would surely be in for a major backlash from fans and experts.
Which player do you think Liverpool should sign to replace Coutinho? Have your say in the comments section below.