Klopp says Coutinho replacement needs to be correct player
- Author: Julie Sanders Jan 14, 2018,
Jan 14, 2018, 20:35
With a slew of fixtures against mid-table and lower opposition in front of him, I wanted to see Klopp's team go on a winning run which would lift them into a position as credible opposition for Manchester City.
However, despite laying praise at the rest of the Fab Four, it was Mohamed Salah in particular who the former Arsenal man tipped to replace Barcelona-bound Coutinho, waxing lyrical about his clever running.
We know he will help bring energy to Liverpool's midfield and that he is often the catalyst for Klopp's famous gegenpress, but he also needs to contribute goals because very few of the other midfielders look like they can.
But, despite having the player under contract until 2022, Klopp insists Liverpool had no alternative but to sell as Coutinho was set on Barcelona and his continued commitment to the team could not be guaranteed. We'll have 11 players and we played fantastic football without Phil. "That is not going to change my opinion about Liverpool for Sunday".
The former Liverpool striker, who has plied his trade for Stoke City since 2011, is adamant that Coutinho deserves enormous credit for knuckling down in the first half of the season despite the fact he was desperate to join Barça last summer.
Liverpool suffered high-profile exits earlier as well and struggled to replace them for years. "They want to decide their own mistakes, and their strong points". He may not have the kind of spark that Coutinho has but he is more than capable of producing the goods when necessary. "What they do, what we are and what we have to do to beat them".
"Maybe now they don't have the talent of Coutinho in the middle but [Georginio] Wijnaldum, Emre Can and [Adam] Lallana - these are guys who have energy and are strong".
In 2012 Pep Guardiola made history by fielding an XI of players that all came through the youth ranks. "Their fans demand attacking football". I think they are trying to respect that.
Coutinho signed a long-term deal past year only to hand in a transfer request a few months later.
"Replacement? First of all we have to replace him internally".
"I really rate him highly, I'm surprised Liverpool ended up with him", the former Scotland global said on Sky Sports. In terms of specific qualities, it's about the quality of the players.
And the first chance to prove that is at home to runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday.