???️ What Would It Take To Replace Phil?

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After the mess that was Friday morning, I feel the need to give my two cents worth over Coutinho and how his transfer request will affect us this year. I’m not going to fall into the “he’s actually not that good” rubbish. Too many people are beginning to shout like a spurned girlfriend, claiming his dick was small anyway. Coutinho is on his day the best all around attacking player in the Premier League. He scored 14 goals for us last season, only 2 less than Hazard. If it hasn’t been for the injury he suffered against Sunderland and the extended period of time he took to recover that goal tally would have been closer to twenty. Then people would have been talking about him as a potential player of the year. Now here comes the real kick in the teeth. He was that good without even playing in potentially his best position. His move from the wing to central midfield for the last few games of last season gave us a glimpse to what he could offer us this season. And let’s be honest in pre-season it looked rather good. When a player puts in a transfer request it normally means that the relationship is broken beyond repair. However with three weeks left in the transfer window things change. it would appear like we need some extreme marriage counseling to put this relationship back together, or at last make it amicable for the kids sake. Without a doubt the best option would be for an agreement to be made as with Suarez to keep him for one more year. Coutinho doesn’t seem the type to sulk and throw his toys out the pram for not getting his move, but neither did he seem the type to put in a transfer request. Now here is the strange thing about a player I clearly rate so highly. We don’t need to replace him. We already have the best possible replacements here. In both of his positions, left wing and central midfield the best available alternatives already play in red. Obviously there are better players out there, Bale at Real and Dybala at Juventus, but we can’t sign those players. In the market we can shop in, name a better left winger to replace Coutinho than Mane, the player voted as the best right winger in the league last year. The entrance of Salah, another free scoring right winger, means that our player of the year is free to fill that left wing berth. Lallana from central midfield was another standout performer last season. His ability to link the midfield and attack was sorely missed Saturday. The fact that he leads our press so well will see him playing, Coutinho or no Coutinho, the vast majority of games when fit. We even have as.another alternative in Bobby Firmino who when playing in the centre of a 4-2-3-1 formation in Klopp’s first season was fantastic. All of the above players can match elements of Coutinho’s game. What they all have, unlike many similarly skilled players at other teams, is the necessary work rate to play in a Klopp attack. They are the best available repayments, even if they can’t quite match that spark of genius that the little magician has. A player who looks like he is finally ready to take that step up to the most elite level and doesn’t want to do that with us. Therefore any money gained from the sale of Coutinho wouldn’t need to go on a direct replacement for him, but rather a replacement for the player filling in his shoes. This would mean that the quality wouldn’t need to be at the elite level as the newly signed player wouldn’t need to be playing all the time. Dare I say it, but Mahrez and Oxlade Chamberlain or even Barkley, all available players. could be viable substitutes on the bench to replace a tiring Mane or Lallana. There would even be some change left over afterwards. What Saturday has shown us is that all spare money and any other money we can scramble together is needed elsewhere.  Without Coutinho we will still score goals. Yet even if we keep him we are also going to concede them at far too frequent a rate. A new Centre Back and a imposing central Midfielder will be vital to any success we want to achieve. Any sale of Coutinho therefore has all the hallmarks of being a much greater PR disaster than a disaster on the pitch. Can we afford to sell our best player again. If we do we risk cementing our reputation as a selling club. We will then risk a Barcelona or Bayern Munich coming in a year’s time ready to take Mane of us and this whole depressing cycle will start all over again.. Mark Mason
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