Liverpool should return for Nabil Fekir
Background photo: Rept0n1x CC BY-SA 3.0
Manchester City's narrow Premier League triumph dealt Liverpool a serious blow this season - but The Reds still ensured they finished the campaign on a brilliant note. After thrashing Barcelona 4-0 at Anfield to reach back-to-back Champions League finals, Jurgen Klopp's men made history by defeating Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 to lift the European crown for the sixth time.
That was an incredible feat but it seems the Merseysiders are just getting started. Sadio Mane recently promised that the team will return even stronger next season. Given the quality of players and the momentum present at Anfield right now, there's every reason to believe those words.
Having set the landmark for a new era with their Champions League conquest, Liverpool will be looking forward to ascending to greater heights in 2019/20, with the Premier League title probably becoming the priority for Klopp's men. The team is full of world-class players with a great manager whose system has worked wonders since taking over upon Merseyside. Hence, the sky is simply the limit for the high-flying Red Men.
However, while it is true that Liverpool has immense quality in their squad, there is a particular spot in the team that needs to be strengthened to further boost their chances of beating Manchester City to the Premier League title, while also continuing their fine form in Europe. Without much thinking, the gap that needs to be filled is the attacking midfielder position.
Since the departure of Philippe Coutinho who left for Barcelona in January 2018, the Reds are yet to find a perfect replacement to fill the void vacated by the Brazilian. While they have succeeded even without him, there's no denying that no one has been able to replicate his brilliance in that department; and they surely missed him during the turn of the year when their attack dipped and the team needed magic from other areas.
Statistically, Coutinho recorded 14 goals and 9 assists for Liverpool during the 2016/2017 campaign and despite spending just half of last season with the squad, he managed to bag 12 goals and 8 assists. Comparing that with Liverpool's midfielders this season - James Milner has 7 goals and 7 assists, Naby Keita has 3 goals and 1 assist, Fabinho has 1 goal and 2 assists, Wijnaldum bagged 5 goals and 1 assist while Jordan Henderson could only record 1 goal and 5 assists. This clearly shows what The Reds are missing.
To make the team stronger, Klopp needs to sign a talented attacking midfielder with immense creativity and goalscoring threat, who is capable of pulling magic at necessary moments and helping to get the best out of other players, especially the attackers.
Immediately when Coutinho left in 2018, the club tried to sign Olympic Lyon's Nabil Fekir to replace him but unfortunately, the move fell through at the last minute. However, with Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas recently stating that the Frenchman is ready to leave in the summer, it is time for Liverpool to step up and relaunch their mission to capture him.
Fekir is a like-for-like replacement for Coutinho as he offers both creativity and goalscoring threat. Like his Brazilian counterpart, the Frenchman is also efficient at shooting from distance, linking up perfectly with his teammates, launching threatening attacking moves as well as splitting opposition defences apart with his incisive passing.
Moreover, he can also operate in different positions and perform various roles to give more options to the team, thanks to his versatility. He can occupy both the left and the right sides of the midfield, function as an attacking midfielder or even as a number eight pulling the strings behind the striker.
Last season, the Frenchman ran riot by recording 23 goals and 8 assists to his name for the Ligue 1 side across all competitions while his return of 12 goals and 9 assists this term is also nothing short of brilliant. Therefore, Klopp needs to go all-out to get his man as his signing would boost the team tremendously for the challenges that lie ahead.