Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confessed that bringing in a like-for-like replacement to fill the void left by Philippe Coutinho is simply not possible.
The Reds lost the Brazilian playmaker to Barcelona during the January transfer window in a deal worth a reported £146m, which they have since spent on a number of new recruits.
Naby Keita has joined from RB Leipzig, a year on from terms being agreed, while Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri have also arrived at Anfield.
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Klopp insists that, despite Liverpool missing out on the signing of attacking midfielder Nabil Fekir, Liverpool were never looking to directly replace Coutinho.
“You cannot replace Phil Coutinho with exactly the same kind of player,” he told reporters. “He’s Phil Coutinho. He has a specific style of play, tactically an outstanding player, can play as the winger, the ’10’, the ‘8’ – really great.
I don’t want to put one of my players in the position where people will now say constantly ‘he’s the Phil replacement’.
“I think the biggest thing we did in the second half of last season was that we didn’t need to speak too much about Phil. That wasn’t clear in January. How could we have known that? If we had still had Phil then we could have played with Phil in the final.”