Philippe Coutinho has completed his inevitable move from Liverpool to Barcelona, becoming the most expensive transfer involving an English club of all time.
His move was met with anticipated sadness and social media backlash from disgruntled Reds fans, some of whom questioning why the £146million man was permitted to leave half way through a season that promises so much for Liverpool.
Roberto Firmino sends his best wishes to Philippe Coutinho on Instagram. 🇧🇷🔴 pic.twitter.com/gplGr1125F
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) January 10, 2018
Strong, emotive words from Jürgen Klopp followed, re-enforcing his belief in the Club and his remaining crop of players.
So, of those that Coutinho has left behind, who now needs to shoulder some of the extra expectation and responsibility that O Magico has left behind?
This may seem a little harsh, as the Senegalese speed merchant has been sensational since his move from Southampton back in 2016.
He has formed part of the ‘Fab Four’ and has been a pivotal player since his arrival on Merseyside, yet with Coutinho breaking up the band, so to speak, Mané will undoubtedly come under the microscope a little more.
It may be unfair to say that he needs to up his game, as even in recent games when he has not quite been at his best, he has still be a crucial cog in the wheel for the Reds, and has popped up with some very important goals – especially that thunderbolt at Turf Moor against Sean Dyche’s Burnley.
While he’s been flourishing under Klopp and as part of a dynamic attacking quartet, Mané may now find that he’s called upon even more to provide those breakthrough moments.
Lallana is currently working his way back from a long injury lay-off and so it may be a little while before Liverpool fans see him back to his wonderful best.
When he is at his best, Lallana is one of the most beautiful creative midfielders to watch in the Premier League. And Reds will be hoping he can fast track his way to that kind of form again as soon as possible.
Lallana is possibly the most suited player to step directly into the shoes that Coutinho has vacated if Liverpool don’t bring in a replacement with their bolstered transfer kitty.
He has shown that he can be a superbly effective player in Klopp’s system, leading the press, running between the lines, creating chances and scoring goals – look back at his performances against Arsenal away and Leicester at home last season. He was fantastic.
The one concern is with his current rustiness after his enforced absence from first-team football. Kopites will be hoping it’s just a matter of time before he rediscovers this type of form sooner rather than later.
Chamberlain has been looking increasingly confident and assured in his recent appearances, and is playing some good football.
He’s starting to look like he could be the asset that Klopp hoped he would be when he parted £35million for his services on transfer deadline day.
He’s become a very useful member of the squad, who is able to play in either the midfield or attacking threes that Klopp chooses to deploy.
While he’s adapted very well to life in Liverpool, now the time will come that he is scrutinised a little more heavily.
Ox is predominantly an attack-minded player, and Liverpool will need to see much more of that from him.
He has been getting better with each passing game, but Klopp may now be looking for him to deliver more of an end product in terms of goals and assists to lighten the burden on Firmino, Salah and Mané – and bolster Chamberlain’s own credentials.
This might raise a few eyebrows, but bare with me on this one.
The young striker has been called upon more than anyone perhaps expected since he signed from Chelsea in the summer, and has even been preferred to Daniel Sturridge at times, which is a huge display of faith from Klopp.
Solanke has made a handful of starts for the Reds and more appearances from the bench, with the boss not afraid to throw him into the mix when his side need to find a winner.
While he’s still only in the very early stages of his professional career, there will now be more pressure on him when he is chucked into the action.
I understand that he is a young man still learning his trade as a striker, but he’s going to have to start coming up with the goods a little.
Many fear Coutinho’s exit will mean Liverpool will struggle to create and score as many goals as they have been doing of late, so those goals need to come from somewhere – the first place you’d like to look is one of your forwards.