Soccer

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has better option than cut-price Philippe Coutinho transfer

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Liverpool are reportedly weighing up a Philippe Coutinho reunion before the transfer window shuts later this month. Jurgen Klopp’s side could land the 29-year-old for a bargain fee after selling him to Barcelona for a whopping £140m – but the money may be better spent on another target linked with the Premier League giants in recent months.

On paper, a deal to bring Coutinho back to Anfield has the potential to prove great business for Liverpool, who according to Mundo Deportivo are interested in a reunion.

The whopping fee earned for the midfielder back in January 2018 funded the signings of Virgil van Dijk and Alisson, who were the final pieces in the puzzle to propel the Reds onto Champions League and Premier League glory.

Following his struggles in Spain, and with two years remaining on his contract at the Nou Camp, his value has dropped to around £27m, according to Transfermarkt.

And if he can revive his career anywhere, it would surely be at Anfield, where he lit up the Premier League with his impressive performances and scored 54 goals in 201 games in all competitions, with 45 assists in the bargain.

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There would of course be a concern over whether he could replicate that form, and how he would fit into a Liverpool team much evolved since his departure.

But at his current transfer he would arguably be worth the gamble, and would offer Klopp an option of playing in a different way when needed.

However, the Reds boss may feel he could spend that £30m or so more wisely elsewhere – thanks to Aston Villa’s signing of former Liverpool striker Danny Ings.

Ings struggled with injury during his time at Anfield, but fired 46 goals in 100 games for the Saints and will have headed to Villa Park expecting to lead the line.

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And that could clear the way for Ollie Watkins to join the reinvigoration of Klopp’s attack at Anfield.

Liverpool are admirers of the England forward, as reported by Goal last month.

And it is been widely observed that the Reds need a succession plan for their established front three of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah – even if they are looking to tie the trio down to contract extensions.

He would be expected to cost around the same as Coutinho, and of course would potentially have a higher resale value as he is four years younger. 

Watkins fired 16 goals for Villa in the Premier League and EFL Cup for Villa last season – more than any of Liverpool’s players acros all competitions apart from Salah, who scored 31, and Mane, who likewise scored 16.

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His pressing ability has also been noted, and a number of times last term he created goals for himself and team-mates through closing down defenders.

Those qualities appear to make him ideal for Klopp’s style of play – and as the Reds boss himself once said “No playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter-pressing situation”.

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That was five years ago when Klopp was just over a year into his stint as Liverpool boss, and of course he wasn’t making a comparison between Coutinho and another player.

But the fact remain that Liverpool went onto greater things after selling Coutinho.

And while the Brazilian’s time in a Reds shirt is fondly remembered by fans, Klopp and his team would perhaps be best served by looking to the future rather than trying to recreate the past.

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