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Where do Liverpool go from here?

Friday 11th August 2017
It is a saga that many expected to see following Neymar's exit from Barcelona, but it is a reality that Liverpool's fans will have been shielding their eyes and ears from, and with good reason. Early reports indicate that Philippe Coutinho's time with Liverpool is coming to an end as he has reportedly handed in a transfer request. 

This has supposedly come mere hours after Liverpool claimed the player would not be sold. From a non-footballing point of view, this is incredibly embarrassing for the club. It conveys the fact that they have no power over their best players and that, if they do so decide, then the player can hold the club to ransom in order to force through their move.

Of course, nothing is confirmed in football until a player is holding the shirt, although football fans have become so good at photoshopping images that even this cannot always be trusted, therefore, these rumours could be just that, rumours. However, if they are true, then it conveys the fact that Liverpool are unfortunately still standing still with regard to transfers.

The best example of this comes with regard to Luis Suarez's transfer to Barcelona. The forward was the Red's best player throughout the 2013/14 campaign, and he was the best striker in the league that season too. In the summer of 2014 he left for the Catalan side for a fee of around £65 million. While he was a massive loss, Liverpool were remunerated handsomely, and his departure was met by the fans assuming he would be replaced appropriately.

He was not though.

Liverpool's current options up front include Divock Origi, Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings. Origi is too young to spearhead a title challenge as a striker, Ings has been unable to show any ability due to his consistent injuries, while Sturridge seems to be injured more often than not. The options in the forward department for Liverpool are slim and actually resulted in Roberto Firmino having to fill in last season.

How can Liverpool hope to win a league title without a world-class striker in their squad? Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City and Manchester United all have top quality strikers, while Alexis Sanchez was talented enough to fill that void for Arsenal last season too. The problem Liverpool have had is the fact that they are yet to replace Suarez, an incredibly influencial player that left three years ago.

The Red's fans will be petrified about Coutinho's potential departure as it may take years to replace a player that they have been nurturing for some time now. Of course, Liverpool do have a number of talented players that can go some way to replacing him, but it is another example of them selling their best player.
Tottenham have been accused of doing this in recent years, but now they seem intent on keeping hold of the likes of Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Christain Eriksen as they continue to build upon their momentum. Liverpool, on the other hand, are going backwards from the squad they had last year even though they have secured Champions League football for the coming season. The fact they are in Europe's premier competition and still losing their best players begs the question: what do the Red's have to do to keep the very best at Anfield?

Realistically, if Liverpool lose Coutinho then they must replace him with similar quality or a number of players to add competition and ability to their first team.

However, until Liverpool can find a way to persuade their best players to stay, they will not be taking the steps forwards, but instead sideways and backwards.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.

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