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Monday 21 January 2019

What are Liverpool's options after selling Philippe Coutinho?

Could Thomas Lemar be the man to replace Philippe Coutinho at Anfield?
Could Thomas Lemar be the man to replace Philippe Coutinho at Anfield?

While many on Merseyside will be sad to see him go, Liverpool have made a tidy profit by selling Philippe Coutinho - a player signed for £8.5million - to Barcelona for a fee which could rise to £142million.

The Brazilian will leave a big hole in Jurgen Klopp's midfield, but with other areas of concern in the squad, how might Liverpool look to reinvest the money?


France midfielder Lemar has long been in Klopp's sights, and although Monaco have insisted he will not be sold during the January window, Liverpool now have the sort of money which could lead them to reassess. The 22-year-old, rated at around £90million, boasts a golden left foot and an impressive array of passing which has made him one of the stand-out creative players in Ligue 1. However, though he has played in central midfield to decent effect in the past, his breakout performances have come when playing out wide, which raises questions of how he would fit in a side already boasting Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.


The 22-year-old Schalke midfielder is out of contract in the summer and had been expected to join Bayern Munich. That could still happen of course, but reports of a deal having been done appear premature and Liverpool - one of several other clubs linked with him - could now be poised to nip in and snap up one of Germany's most promising young players. Unlike Lemar, he has a profile as a pure central midfielder, making him a better fit both to replace Coutinho and guard against the potential departure of Emre Can on a free transfer in the summer.


Away from midfield, the glaring weakness in Liverpool's squad remains between the posts, where Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius have failed to impress. Signing a top-class stopper in January is not easy so this could be one for the summer, but Atletico's Oblak, Roma's Alisson and Stoke's Jack Butland are among those to have been linked with a move to Anfield.


Another long-term target for Klopp could find that his time has come as his contract with Lazio ticks down before expiring this summer. Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi has admitted the 25-year-old defender could leave Rome this month, comments which will not have escaped the Anfield hierarchy as they look to become more solid at the back.


One possibility which would not impress Liverpool fans so much is the idea that they have already spent more than half of the Coutinho haul. On January 1, they paid a world-record fee for a defender, £75million, to sign Van Dijk from Southampton. Coutinho's transfer was hardly unexpected, so were Liverpool making a pre-emptive strike when they splashed out to beat the likes of Manchester City to the Dutchman? And does that leave the kitty already depleted?

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