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Liverpool: Filling a Coutinho shaped hole

The Brazilian has departed Anfield leaving a gaping hole in Jurgen Klopp's midfield and while the Reds have shown they can still be a force without the twinkle-toed midfielder, a replacement is surely in order. Thomas Lemar, Leon Goretzka and Suso have been touted as preferred options yet lack of any concrete bids suggests Klopp might not splash the cash before the summer.

When Brendan Rodgers brought Coutinho to Merseyside, the number 10 was in severe danger of becoming yet another over-hyped Samba prodigy. No wonder Inter were ready to let him leave for mere peanuts compared to the £142 million Barcelona shelled out for his services. This article will in a similar vein look at players capable of filling the void and are available at a cut-price deal this summer or in January. So anyone wondering why their choices have been left out are welcome to leave their comments below.

1. James Rodriguez

Rodriguez is yet to nail down a place at Bayern Munich — by Aishwarya Raj Pandey
Rodriguez is yet to nail down a place at Bayern Munich — by Aishwarya Raj Pandey

Loads of flair and equipped with paranormal shooting ability, Rodriguez is the perfect replacement for the departing Philippe Coutinho. The on-loan attacking midfielder has fallen out with Zinedine Zidane at Madrid leading to his spell at Bayern Munich where he has been slowly getting back to the player he was at the 2014 World Cup, which saw him become the highly sought after talent in the world.

Rodriguez is no slouch either at spotting passes and linking up play and can play in midfield or as a wide man having come to Anfield in 2014 in a Real Madrid side which plundered to 3-0 victory with James in particular wreaking havoc from the wings.

Add to that some impressive physical attributes and James might turn out to be a marquee signing for Jurgen Klopp's entourage. It's criminal to think that not many teams have inquired about his services yet.

2. Julian Draxler

Jurgen Klopp has confessed his admiration for Draxler in the past — by Aishwarya Raj Pandey
Jurgen Klopp has confessed his admiration for Draxler in the past — by Aishwarya Raj Pandey

PSG's financial muscle has allowed their squad to be brimming with quality across the park. The front three of Neymar, Cavani and Mbappe are capable of dismantling any defence in the world, hence it comes at no surprise that Julian Draxler finds himself battling for a starting spot at the French capital. His performances under Unai Emery have not dipped which is a testament to the German's versatility, having been made to play in a variety of positions.

Comfortable in filling in as a withdrawn midfielder or on the flanks, Draxler is equally devastating from each foot and has a thundering strike on him. An eye for the extraordinary makes him a joy to watch as he glides across the park with the ball glued to his feet. His direct style of running and ability to beat a man are similar to Coutinho.

With the World Cup around the corner, expect a revitalized player as Draxler attempts to nail down a starting berth in Joachim Lowe's team. Another reason why the Reds hierarchy should pursue his signature.

3. Piotr Zielinski

Jurgen Klopp actively pursued his signature in 2016
Jurgen Klopp actively pursued his signature in 2016

Not many eyebrows were raised when Napoli brought a certain Polish midfielder from Udinese in 2016, he had been superb for a vibrant Empoli side and looked like a player in the mold of Andres Iniesta. The diminutive play-maker thrives in knitting play and driving from deep positions. However Zielinski's strength lies in beating his man and spotting through balls, something which had endured Coutinho to the Kop in the first place.

Whether a part of the inverted midfield three or as deep lying play-maker, Zielinski can do it all. The form of Jorginho and Marek Hamsik has been keeping him out of the first team at Naples and the Italian side might be willing to do business if a suitable bid arrives.

Klopp is in need of someone who can pick out runs of his fast and furious forwards and the Polish international certainly brings that in abundance. At just 23 years of age, Zielinski has time on its side and a move to Liverpool under Jurgen Klopp might be the perfect win-win situation for both the Reds and the player.