Liverpool FC’s star Philippe Coutinho is expected to leave the club for his dream team FC Barcelona sooner or later. 25 years old Brazilian playmaker who is playing the best football of his career at Liverpool currently was heavily scouted by Spanish giant FC Barcelona in past seasons. Coutinho signed a long-term contract of five years at Liverpool in January 2017 with no release clause which keeps him at the club up to 2022. Despite signing the contract, Coutinho was admitting his dream for playing FC Barcelona. In August, the summer transfer window after season 2016/17 ends, Barcelona’s bid of 72 million pounds was rejected by Liverpool. Coutinho immediately hands transfer to Liverpool requesting him to leave the club for Barcelona via email. Because of no release clause in his contract and less time for finding his replacement as the transfer window was closing soon, Liverpool holds him by rejecting two more bids from Barcelona with a fee up to 120 million pounds which included necessary add-on. Due to this, he is playing 2017/18 season at Liverpool with 10 goals and 7 assists before Christmas. But it is expected that Barcelona will again come after him by improving bids in this January transfer window or next summer. So Liverpool is scouting a number of players from different leagues for his replacement.
Let’s have a quick review of his playing positions and playing style. Due to his versatility, Coutinho has been playing in the number of positions as per other players’ availability. He is generally attacking a minded creative player that favors to play no.10 position. Last season he played as winger aside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. But this season, after incoming of Mohamed Salah, Jurgen Klopp is using him in different positions. Due to his creativity, he was moved to central midfield position and switches to no.10 also behind Mane, Firmino and Salah. In Sadio Mane’s absence, he replaces him and plays as a left winger. In Salah’s absence h, replaces him and plays as right winger. Due to his mobility in front line and midfield role, he is easily getting goals and assists this season. So there are very few players that can actually replace him and offer equal attack and creativity. Before moving into players that can replace him, here are two images of Coutinho’s position used by Jurgen Klopp in recent matches.
Coutinho operating as central midfielder with availability of wingers Salah and Mane (VS West Brom)
Coutinho operating as left winger on Mane’s absence (VS AFC Bournemouth)
So here are top eight players that can replace Coutinho at Liverpool and some of them are scouted also.
1. Thomas Lemar
Full Name: Thomas Lemar
Birth Date: 12 Nov, 1995
Playing position: Midfielder/Forward
Current club: AS Monaco
Thomas Lemar was heavily scouted by Liverpool for Coutinho replacement as he is familiar to play as winger/forward for 4-4-2 system and also can play in 3-man midfield. We were also told that Liverpool made a bid of more than 90 million euros at the end of transfer window but deal could not happen.
2. Julian Draxler
Full Name: Julian Draxler
Birth Date: 20 Sept, 1993
Playing position: Winger/Midfielder
Current club: Paris Saint-Germain
Julian Draxler was previously approached by Jurgen Klopp but he chooses PSG instead of Liverpool. Due to his versatility for playing as central midfield or winger in front line, many scouts and pundits believes that he is the ideal one to replace Coutinho at Liverpool.
Full Name: Malcom Filipe Silva de Oliveria
Birth Date: 26 Feb, 1997
Playing position: Winger/Forward
Current club: Bordeaux
Malcom is a Brazilian forward who is meant to replace another Brazilian at Liverpool due to his creativity and goal scoring capacity.
4. Nabil Fekir
Full Name: Nabil Fekir
Birth Date: 18 July, 1993
Playing position: Attacking fielder/second striker
Current club: Lyon
Nabil Fekir is a talented midfielder who plays for French club Lyon. He plays as attacking midfielder and also second striker. More often he is playing no.10 for Lyon so he can replace Coutinho who also switches position to number 10.
5. Max MeyerFull Name: Maximilian MeyerBirth Date: 18 sept, 1995Age: 22Nationality: GermanPlaying position: Attacking fielder/ForwardCurrent club: FC Schalke
- Riyad Mahrez
Full Name: Riyad Karim Mahrez
Birth Date: 21 Feb, 1991
Playing position: Winger/Forward
Current club: Leicester City
7. Christian Pulisic
Full Name: Christian Mate Pulisic
Birth Date: 18 Sept, 1998
Playing position: Attacking midfielder/winger
Current club: Borussia Dortmund
Full Name: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
Birth Date: 27 Feb, 1995
Playing position: Midfielder
Current club: Lazio