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Philippe Coutinho’s departure might be devastating for Liverpool midway through the campaign but they have received a gigantic £142m fee from Barcelona for the decorated Brazilian. Jurgen Klopp thus holds a financial backing to make new reinforcements. Surprisingly, the gaffer has cooled down all transfer talks recently and stated about his unwillingness to replace Coutinho in a hurry. He believes in the players he has and wants to find an internal solution for the time being.
However, Liverpool were strongly pursuing Thomas Lemar in summer but backed out due to AS Monaco’s £88m valuation. While they might reignite their interest in the French international once again in summer, Klopp is deliberately ignoring the availability of Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez despite hailing him as ‘a fantastic player’.
The Algerian was strongly linked to a move to Anfield following Coutinho’s egress but those reports have been denied by sources close to Klopp’s camp. Mahrez, however, would be a great signing as he fits Liverpool’s profile for certain reasons.
Mahrez has established himself as a successful Premier League name and also inspired the Foxes to clinch a miraculous league triumph. He was also named as the league’s Player of the Year back in 2016 and is still continuing his sublime form in a less impressive Leicester squad. The 26-year-old attacker, however, handed in a transfer request in the summer but a move to AS Roma didn’t materialise due to the Serie A giants’ reluctance to meet Leicester’s asking fee.
Yet, Mahrez handled the saga quite professionally and maintained a great attitude. This might earn him his wish of moving out if a reasonable bid (around £50m, which is Leicester’s valuation) is received for the Algerian. Liverpool must not let this opportunity slip in such an inflated transfer market.
It’s highly unlikely to have a quality resource in January who is eligible to play in the prestigious Champions League competition. Mahrez had an impressive European run last season for Leicester but isn’t featuring this term due to their failure to snatch a Champions League berth. Liverpool will undeniably miss Coutinho there, but the presence of Mahrez will uplift them in this esteemed footballing event.
Liverpool might look to grind out results in Coutinho’s absence but the defeat against bottom-placed Swansea has reignited their limitations against defensive sides. The Reds missed Coutinho’s creativity and game-changing long-rangers against the Swans, which might be brought back by Mahrez to some extent.
He has tremendous dribbling skills, set-piece traits, goal-poaching instinct and creative spark. He is only 26 only is in best possible shape to flourish further. A move for Mahrez thus makes sense for Liverpool, who might have to regret if he eventually ends up at some other top-6 club.
Mahrez, predominantly a right winger, will face a tough test to have his preferred role at Liverpool in presence of the magnificent Mohamed Salah. But he has also featured in a ‘No.10’ role this campaign and Klopp would extract the best of him in an alternate role.
Also, his low work rate has been questioned at times. However, the Algerian is likely to change his game under Jurgen Klopp like many others did and despite these constraints, Mahrez would certainly be a signing of intent from the Merseysiders.