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The exit of Philippe Coutinho has not impacted Liverpool so far as they clinched a sensational 4-3 victory last weekend to humble league leaders Manchester City, which ended their ‘invincible’ dreams of an unbeaten Premier League triumph. However, the Reds have received a fee of £142million for their former Brazilian and it is now to be seen how Jurgen Klopp spends the ‘Coutinho money’ in coming days.
There have been demands of attacking reinforcements and the likes of Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Lemar have been the most discussed names in recent weeks. But the charismatic Liverpool boss is unlikely to bring either of them, at least in this window, and has insisted he is not in crisis and unlikely to find the Brazilian’s replacement amid other priorities (read goalkeeper).
As per latest rumours, Klopp is keen on bringing in Toni Kroos and likely to make an audacious bid to lure the German sensation. Kroos, 28, is currently playing for Real Madrid, who are having a disastrous domestic campaign under Zinedine Zidane.
The defending La Liga, as well as UEFA Champions League champions, are currently 19 points adrift of leaders Barcelona in the league table and likely to have a mass exodus in the summer. Kroos has been on Liverpool’s radar since the Brendan Rodgers era but they failed to land him amid interest from the European champions Los Blancos.
The scenario, however, has altered to some extent right now and Liverpool are once again drawing big-name stars since the ex-Borussia Dortmund manager took over. The former Bayern Munich central midfielder has reportedly expressed his desire of working with Jurgen Klopp and the boss is also plotting a swoop to replace Emre Can, whose contract is running down this summer and the player’s entourage is unlikely to find a solution of extending his stay at the Merseyside club.
The Reds have already acquired RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita, who is set to join them next season and is regarded as one of the most fearsome midfielders of Bundesliga. However, Can’s egress will be a massive blow and they must do whatever they can to tie him down beyond this summer.
To that extent, the Reds must not let the opportunity of signing Toni Kroos go, even if there is little substance in this transfer rumour. Liverpool have struggled to replace Xabi Alonso in the past and the retirement of iconic Steven Gerrard has left a void in the middle of the park.
Klopp has found a solution to life after Gerrard with his ‘gegenpressing’ and ‘heavy metal football’ but they still lack enough creativity behind their attacking third. Jordan Henderson, the Liverpool captain, is hardworking and full of commitment, but his game has certain limitations. Can, a much-improved individual now compared to the player he was when he arrived from Bayer Leverkusen a few years back, is still young and needs to perform persistently to reach the next level.
Kroos, on the other hand, has already earned a ‘world class’ stature and will be a massive influence in any midfield. He is calm, composed, confident with the ball and holds stunning passing skills. He can dictate the game from a central role and keep feeding the attackers with pin-point passes. Also, his ability to create space by dragging opponents will allow Naby Keita to make his trademark box-to-box runs and set it up perfectly for the front trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
Liverpool have admitted defeat to sign Schalke’s Leon Goretzka who has preferred a Bayern Munich move, but landing Toni Kroos will be a much bigger achievement as well as statement of intent despite losing Coutinho to Barcelona. Kroos and Keita will complement each other in the middle of the park and the fans can surely dream of a majestic midfield ages after Gerrard-Alonso-Mascherano era.
(Note: This article was written before Real Madrid’s comprehensive 7-1 win vs Deportivo La Coruna)