Dream, realistic, wildcard, Squawka suggests: How could Liverpool replace Coutinho?

Dream, realistic, wildcard, Squawka suggests: How could Liverpool replace Coutinho?

Barcelona have announced the highly-anticipated transfer of Philippe Coutinho from Liverpool on a deal worth £142million.

The deal, the biggest involving an English club, was announced on Saturday, and is subject to the Brazilian completing a medical and agreeing to personal terms – and also includes a €400m buyout clause.

Coutinho had been a target for Barcelona during the summer transfer window but the Spanish giants had a bid of £118million rejected by the Reds, before coming back in for the player in January.

Part of Liverpool’s ‘Fab Four’ alongside Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, Coutinho has been key in Liverpool’s quest for Champions League football next season.

But now, with the two clubs announcing a deal was been agreed, Liverpool might need to look to the transfer market to ensure the departure does not damage their campaign.

So who should they turn to?

Dream: Christian Pulisic 

A long-term target for Jurgen Klopp, Christian Pulisic, whose signing the former BVB boss would have overseen in 2015, has previously been linked with a move to Liverpool as a replacement for Coutinho.

Playing as part of Borussia Dortmund’s young side, the American has become one of the most highly-rated teenagers in football, coping with the weight of expectations of a nation on his shoulders.

While there may be more ideal replacements short-term, at only 19 Pulisic still has a long way to go in improving his already-impressive game – which makes him the best candidate to ensure Liverpool do not miss Coutinho.

A keen dribbler, Pulisic has successfully taken the ball past more opponents than any other player in the Bundesliga this season (48).

Broken down, he has won 45.48% of his take-ons, attempting over 100, with rivals often having to resort to fouling the youngster to strip him of the ball.

The American has also chipped in with the goals for Dortmund, scoring three times and setting up another from 16 chances created.

It is likely, though, that Pulisic will remain a dream acquisition for Liverpool and nothing more, the winger previously having spoken of Klopp’s attempts to bring him over: “I was never really thinking about going to Liverpool.

“I have respect for Klopp and I know him – he was very welcoming to me here, [but] Borussia Dortmund have given me everything.”

There is also the fact Dortmund had to sell Ousmane Dembele in the wake of Neymar’s game-changing move to PSG, so will be doubly reluctant to lose another talented young player.

Realistic: Thomas Lemar

You could argue for Thomas Lemar to be the dream option here.

But, although the 22-year-old attacker nearly joined Premier League rivals Arsenal during the summer transfer window, Liverpool have been strongly linked with the Monaco forward most recently, making a deal more probable.

A key player for Monaco, Lemar contributed to 31 goals in all competitions last season (14 goals, 17 assists) as the French side won Ligue 1 and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League.

This season, Lemar has been slightly more subdued on the pitch with just two goals and four assists in Ligue 1 so far.

However, the Frenchman is still highly regarded and with Monaco struggling to cope without the big-name players they lost during the summer window, Liverpool will have to use much of the Coutinho fee to recruit Lemar.

And, according to reports from the Mirror, that is exactly what Liverpool plan to do, with Lemar number one on the wishlist to replace the departed Coutinho.

But, according to L’Equipe, Liverpool are in talks with Leicester City over a move for Riyad Mahrez, with Premier League rivals Chelsea also reportedly interested.

Wildcard: Leon Goretzka

Another target of Liverpool to boost their midfield, Leon Goretzka could prove to be a long-term surprise replacement for Coutinho.

With Naby Keita coming in the summer to strengthen the defensive part of Liverpool's midfield, Goretzka can be pushed forward to show his more creative side which is currently slightly limited by his deeper position at Schalke.

Still known to burst through midfield from deep, Goretzka has scored four goals for Schalke this season, but his game time before the winter break was hampered by a leg problem.

At 22, the German already has six years of first-team experience under his belt with 101 appearances in the Bundesliga.

However, the Reds face a big battle with Bayern Munich for the signing of Goretzka, who would be available on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Squawka Suggests: Nabil Fekir 

Liverpool's 'Fab Four' have frightened opposition defences, combining to score 38 Premier League goals so far this season.

With Coutinho gone, the Reds have lost the key creator of the front four, with the Brazilian having scored seven and set up six.

Perhaps Liverpool need not worry too much, though, as Lyon's Nabil Fekir might prove a suitable replacement.

Playing behind Mariano Diaz as part of Lyon's three attacking midfielders, Fekir has got himself among the goals with 11 in Ligue 1 so far.

In a similar system for Liverpool, playing alongside Mane and Salah behind Firmino, the 24-year-old would help share the goalscoring load, showing his striker's instinct by getting into the box for crosses as well as drifting wide to set up his teammates.

The Frenchman would also provide more strength in the air for Liverpool's attackers, winning 45.45% of his aerial duels in Ligue 1 so far this season. The Fab Four's most successful player in the air is Salah on 29.17%.