It’s fair to say that Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League success feels even more impressive when you consider they’ve yet to replace the departed Philippe Coutinho. Yes, it seems almost churlish to bring up the Brazilian after THAT night in Madrid, but there have been questions asked of their engine room at times this season.
Now, Klopp has seemingly identified his Coutinho replacement – almost a year after the Nabil Fekir saga – as according to Record via The Mirror, Liverpool are apparently now rivalling Manchester United for Portuguese sensation Bruno Fernandes.
After a heroic performance in the UEFA Nations League – where he had 3 shots on target and created 3 chances (thanks to FotMob) to trouble Virgil van Dijk’s Netherlands side – his stock has seemingly sky-rocketed. Indeed, his exceptional work with Sporting Lisbon in Portugal, where he scored 32 goals and assisted 18 in all competitions, surely paints the picture of his quality in attacking areas.
To put things into perspective, all together Liverpool’s midfield four of Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita and Fabinho contributed towards 10 goals and 6 assists in all competitions last season. Obviously, nobody can deny their midfielders’ work-rate, defensive solidity or ability to control games and kill games – such as the Champions League final – but there simply isn’t the creativity that was there when Coutinho donned the famous red strip.
Sky Sports’ Graeme Souness (via the Sun) blamed their lack of intricate passers as the reason the Reds slipped up against Everton back in March, so you can start to see a need for someone to come in and both supplement and feed their attack.
Indeed, what appears to be a dependency on creating through the wings or scoring through the front-three could potentially come down drastically with a dynamic playmaker controlling things centrally. Although averaging 0.4 interceptions, 0.6 clearances and 1.6 fouls (thanks to WhoScored) perhaps the Portuguese (valued at £49.5m by Transfermarkt) isn’t the strongest defensively, the attacking statistics we’ve already mentioned would make him a good fit at Anfield.
Liverpool fans, do you think Fernandes can help take Klopp’s style to another level? Join the discussion by commenting below…