Philippe Coutinho is on his way out of Liverpool (Picture: Getty Credit – Dean Noroozi/Metro.co.uk)Barcelona look set to make Philippe Coutinho’s dreams come true this January, it’s just too bad for Liverpool fans their hearts must break in the process.
Coutinho is on the verge of finally sealing his move to Camp Nou and whether it be in the next month or in the summer, the Reds must prepare for life without their dynamic playmaker.
The Brazilian is the heartbeat of the fabled ‘fab four’ which also includes Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
For Liverpool, it is an all too familiar scenario. They have lost their most influential players before but have always managed to replace them. Don’t forget, it was Coutinho was stepped into Luis Suarez’s shoes when he was seduced by Barcelona in 2014.
So, how could the Reds line-up without Coutinho? Jurgen Klopp will surely already have a side in mind and there are plenty of options available for the Reds.
Lallana or Oxlade-Chamberlain take on Coutinho’s role
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana (Picture: Getty)With the departure of Coutinho, a midfield spot opens up and if the former Inter man leaves in January, Klopp needs to fill it immediately.
Adam Lallana, a proven talisman, could possess the boots to fill the hole, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a viable option.
Lallana is keen to put the last six months behind him after an injury-ravaged spell on the sidelines, while Oxlade-Chamberlain is desperate to continue growing at Anfield.
The former Arsenal star craves a midfield spot and with recent performances suggesting he is improving under Klopp, the German may be tempted to hand him a chance to replace Coutinho.
Lallana would be far the more reliable option, however, after an excellent season last year and has all the energy and inventiveness of Coutinho.
The question is would either of the pair be able to dictate the play from further back as Coutinho has done, or are they better served playing further forward, operating in between the lines?
It remains to be seen who Klopp favours between Emre Can, who himself could be heading for the Anfield exit door in the summer, Georginio Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson. Either way, Klopp has the option to play with both Lallana and Oxlade-Chamberlain in the team or with a more defensive core.
Liverpool could line-up with both Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana in midfield if Jurgen Klopp opts to select just one designated defensive midfielder (Picture: Metro)
If Jurgen Klopp opts for extra security, particularly away from home, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Lallana are likely to compete for a single place (Picture: Metro)Like for like and swap in Naby Keita
Naby Keita will be a Liverpool next summer (Picture: Getty)Naby Keita will not rock up at Anfield until next summer, but many Liverpool fans will be crossing their fingers the midfielder will make them forget all about the little magician.
Keita has played everywhere from right winger to defensive midfield for RB Leipzig, but is most at home in the centre of the park, Coutinho’s stomping ground.
It could be just a like for like swap for Liverpool with Keita slipping into the No.8 role Coutinho has flourished in this season.
Should Keita step up and perform from the off at Liverpool, fans will soon forget about another painful Barcelona poaching.
The inclusion of Keita would also allow for either Oxlade-Chamberlain or Lallana to slot in further up the field, while Liverpool are also in the running for Thomas Lemar who could boost their attacking options still further.
Naby Keita looks a perfect fit for the No.8 role Coutinho has largely filled this season (Picture: Metro)More: Liverpool FC