Written by Mitchell Sherrard

Ever since Philippe Coutinho first started to show some promise back in the 2013/14
season, Barcelona and other big European clubs have been lurking in an attempt to get
the Brazilian to join their side. In the past two seasons Coutinho’s price tag has been
rising rapidly and Barcelona are becoming increasingly desperate to get the deal over the
line before Liverpool’s valuation becomes too much for them after the World Cup.
Having signed for Liverpool in the January transfer window of the 2012/2013 season from Inter
for a mere £8.5 million, a potential £120 million+ deal for Coutinho may be enough to tempt the
club into letting him go. Liverpool fans have split opinions, some are desperate for the “Little
Magician” to stay while others are upset with his antics and disloyalty to Liverpool and want the
club to cash in.
The Brazilian is currently in the form of his life and recent performances leading up to the New
Year have proved just why Barcelona are so interested in the 25 year old. His ability to dribble
past opponents with ease, score 30 yard screamers and deliver exceptional set pieces are all
very valuable for Liverpool thus their instant rejection of Barcelona’s £90-100 million bids in the
summer. However, the playmaker’s desire to play for Barcelona having grown up in South
America is clear. The prospect of lining up alongside Lionel Messi and former teammate Luis
Suarez as well as pocketing an incredible amount of cash while not having to deal with the
English media, language and weather are all very tempting aspects of life at Barcelona Football
Club. Here are three ways that Liverpool can handle a potentially messy year as Coutinho looks
to leave and Liverpool hunt for alternatives.

Cash in and spend big

Liverpool’s reluctance to spend big in the past has caused much discontent on social media but
recent record signings of Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk have given Reds’ fans reason to
support the club’s owners and their faith in Jurgen Klopp. If Coutinho is to leave, Liverpool
should be looking for a bid between £130-150 million. Barcelona’s recent sale of Neymar for a
world record fee has left them with a hefty amount of cash in the club despite their signing of
Ousmane Dembélé. These days the two Spanish giants as well as PSG and Bayern Munich
have no problem spending big on players that definitely aren’t worth that price tag but if
Coutinho is what Barcelona need to push them to Champions League glory or sustain their
league form, then nothing will get in their way of putting in an astronomical bid for the youngster.
£150 million for Liverpool could mean not just one large replacement for Philippe but potentially
2-3 very good additions to improve the squad in multiple areas. Liverpool and Arsenal’s
continued battle for Thomas Lemar since the summer could soon be over and Liverpool may
use the Coutinho money to sign up the french youngster to add even more firepower to their
incredible frontline. Other additions of the in-form Riyad Mahrez from Leicester, Manuel Lanzini
of West Ham, or Julian Draxler from PSG are also promising replacements. With the signing of
van Dijk, Liverpool may also look to continue their rebuilding of the Championship quality
defence that they have by bringing in Jack Butland between the sticks. Klopp’s side are also in
pole position alongside Bayern to get the signature of Leon Goretzka from Schalke however
they may buy him outright to beat Bayern rather than go head to head on contract negotiations
with the German giants.


Despite all these promising additions, Liverpool will be cautious to not waste the money from the
Coutinho transfer as they did with Luis Suarez’s fee. The signings of Dejan Lovren, Mario
Balotelli and Ricky Lambert took away more than half of the Luis Suarez money as Lovren is
the only one of the three flops who remains at the Merseyside club. However the additions could
help Liverpool break down the defensive teams that they notoriously struggle against and some
more experience and talent could bolster their chances in the FA Cup, Champions League and
secure a top 4 finish by May. Liverpool fans would be delighted to see a defence with Butland in
goal, and van Dijk, de Vrij and Matip in front of him. The likes of Goretzka, Lallana, Mahrez,
Lemar, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lanzini and Draxler could be potential stars in a
talented midfield while the impressive Mohamed Salah teams up with Firmino, Mane, Lemar up
front.

Leave the attack, focus on the defence!

The second option for Liverpool is to hold onto Coutinho until the summer and ensure that their
front line continues to fire without taking any risks with new additions. In doing so, this would
allow Liverpool to quickly fix the defence in January and then rebuild over the summer after a
potentially large transfer for Coutinho is agreed. Then allow Jurgen Klopp to work his Mohamed
Salah, Sadio Mane, and Adam Lallana magic on the new additions. Jurgen Klopp’s
gegenpressing style causes injuries and problems if the players aren’t trained to perfection,
bringing in brand new players who have been playing alternative tactics for 6 months might
weaken the Liverpool midfield if done in January. Naby Keita’s summer arrival will also help
Jurgen Klopp strengthen his midfield with the inevitable departure of his part time Brazilian
captain.
However what can barely be weakened anymore at Liverpool is their defence. Positive signs in
the upcoming Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been good for Liverpool but the
consistent problems with Dejan Lovren, Simon Mignolet, Loris Karius and more have lost
Liverpool vital points in their race for top 4.

Liverpool need to fix these problems quickly and the young and talented Jack Butland could be
a start. The goalkeeping situation at Liverpool must be fixed and a potential arrival of Jack
Butland would most likely see the temporary or permanent departure of Mignolet and/or Karius.
Virgil van Dijk will be looking for a solid partner and his fellow Dutch international Stefan de Vrij
from Lazio may be a cheap solution. Probably valued between £20-30 million, de Vrij could be a
transfer into Liverpool without the need to transfer anyone out. Just those two signings may be
enough to command the youngsters at full back to get a grip on their game and begin
performing to the expected standard of Champions League defenders.

Sell Coutinho, and a few more while you’re at it.

Differing opinions amongst Liverpool fans is always present and the departure of Emre Can has
started a mini transfer saga. Many fans don’t rate the German midfielder while others are
desperate for him to sign a new deal. Contract expiration in the summer of 2018 means Emre
Can and his representatives are now permitted to speak to other clubs about pre contract
agreements. While Liverpool should have Can until the end of the season, when he is likely to
have already agreed a contract with Juventus or Bayern Munich, they may see an opportunity to
grab some cash for him and sell him now to one of those big clubs. An early departure and extra
£20 million now from Emre Can could help Liverpool improve the squad but there is also
additional cash to be made with an ever increasing Liverpool squad. Jurgen Klopp’s reluctance
to sell his player’s, persistence with youngsters and desire to always increase squad depth has
now lead to an incredibly large squad with almost 3 players available in every position. As the
2018 World Cup approaches, English duo Danny Ings and Daniel Sturridge are desperate for
playtime to showcase their talent to Gareth Southgate. Other Liverpool players who are
beginning to lose their position such as the injured Clyne may be looking for an exit pass from
the German manager. The goalkeeping competition amongst Karius, Mignolet and even Danny
Ward could result in one of them seeking consistent first team football somewhere else. Dejan
Lovren may have also had enough of the constant criticism and leave the Anfield scene. With all
of these potential deals going through, Liverpool’s cash stack will begin to grow and even small
£15-25 million sales could all count towards Jurgen Klopp’s piggy bank. If Coutinho was also to
leave, Liverpool may find themselves with a whopping £200 million+ in the bank ready to spend
big in the summer and turn themselves into a very strong force in Europe.

The Jurgen Klopp factor is clearly a promising factor for Liverpool signings as the club has
emerged as unlikely victors against the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United
and Barcelona in the race for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk. If
Liverpool are able to bring in smaller talent such as Lemar and Mahrez, and then begin
performing on the big stage with consistent performances in the Premier League and
Champions League, they may become an appealing option for world class talent on the move.
So, the ball is in Jurgen Klopp’s court but there is more or less a timer as Barcelona come
knocking for their number one transfer target who is desperate to join them. Could we see a
spending spree from Jurgen Klopp, does he want Coutinho more than anyone he could find as a
replacement or will he work some magic and hold onto Coutinho as well as bringing in some
brilliant additions, it will all be revealed as the window unfolds.

Who will Liverpool bring in? Who will they let go? Did we miss someone? Let us know in the comments below…

featured image credit Sky Sports