England international reportedly emerges as top target for Liverpool

Esequiel Farfan
Enero 14, 2018

Good morning and welcome to The Independent's live coverage of the unveiling of Philippe Coutinho as a Barcelona player, having completed his £142m transfer from Liverpool. It's an easy answer.

"It was his dream and it is the truth when I say he would only leave for one club".

"But we tried everything". He's there, we are still here and we have to deal with the situation.

"On the pitch and off the pitch, we have experienced the beauty of this club and its fans".

"I knew it would come up again in the transfer window and I knew it would be very difficult". It's not that there was an open question or something and in the end 50 per cent pro, 50 per cent contra and I had to make the decision.

"Definitely Man City, I think they could do with him or someone like him".

"Ok, he chose to move to Barca, it's not a bad choice to be fair!"

That incident and the subsequent result had a shaping influence on both team's seasons, according to Klopp, whose side are fourth and 18 points behind City.

It is exactly this new role that has made Mahrez the ideal heir to the throne vacated by Coutinho. "Beyond the madness, we must be happy that he's ours".

"There was no other option", Klopp said. It's business as usual. "You always need to react. Goals and creativity all over the team".

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In the 13 league games since then, Liverpool has won nine and drawn the other four. There's not too many Virgil van Dijk's out there. "It's how it always is with the past - use it, but don't suffer because of it".

The Guinean midfielder will join in July as part of a £57m deal unless Anfield officials can agree a deal with the Bundesliga club to bring him to Merseyside this month. He also tipped Adam Lallana to be an adequate replacement in Coutinho's midfield position for the rest of the season.

Klopp continued: "So far we got all the players we wanted to have".

"As I said, I like Phil, he is a fantastic player and his behaviour [was good]". He was five years here.

Coutinho didn't win the English top-flight crown with Liverpool FC but came close in the 2013-14 season.

Until now Leicester have remained adamant that they will not sell arguably their best player, who handed in a transfer request last summer.

How will Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp ensure that doesn't happen?

"I haven't really even thought about Phil leaving".

"It can't be that at all". Jurgen Klopp maintains that the club won't immediately look to find a player that directly replaces Coutinho.

Meanwhile, Mohamed Salah will be fit for Liverpool's encounter with Premier League leaders Manchester City on Sunday after missing the last two matches with a groin injury.

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