Liverpool transfer news: Jurgen Klopp makes Philippe Coutinho transfer revelation
That’s the belief of Jurgen Klopp.
The Reds lost the Brazilian play-maker to Barcelona in the middle of last season, earning a British record transfer fee of £142million in the process.
His departure didn’t affect Liverpool’s momentum as a strong second-half to the campaign saw them reach the Champions League final, where they lost to Real Madrid.
It was expected that Liverpool would look to find a new No 10 this summer following a few occasions in which Klopp’s side – despite their fearsome front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane – lacked guile to carve open a back-line beyond January.
Lyon’s Nabil Fekir was identified as the German manager’s first-choice target but a £53m deal fell through at the last minute following medical complications.
And despite adding Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri to their attacking ranks this summer, Liverpool supporters have clamoured for the Merseyside outfit to add another creative influence.
But Klopp insists Liverpool are suitably equipped for the demanding campaign ahead even without an out-and-out No 10 in the squad.
“You cannot replace Phil Coutinho with exactly the same kind of player,” Klopp said.
“He’s Phil Coutinho. He has a specific style of play, tactically an outstanding player, can play as the winger, the 10, the eight – really great.
“I don’t want to put one of my players in the position where people will now say constantly ‘he’s the Phil replacement’.
“I think the biggest thing we did in the second half of last season was that we didn’t need to speak too much about Phil. That wasn’t clear in January. How could we have known that?
“If we had still had Phil then we could have played with Phil in the final. Mo goes out [injured], but Phil still there. Phil on the left wing, bring Sadio to the other side, bring a midfielder on.
“It’s a different story. It would have been nice but he wasn’t here any more. We wish him well.
“We don’t need to replace Phil. We need to make a squad for the next year.
“Out there on the market, there isn’t a Phil Coutinho light. It’s not there. But there are a lot of good players and we have brought a few of them in.”
Liverpool have brought in Fabinho, Keita, Shaqiri and goalkeeper Alisson at a combined cost exceeding £170m this summer but they are not expected to do any more business before the August 9 deadline.