As Liverpool FC prepare to travel to Old Trafford, we look at three players who can replace their creative genius Philippe Coutinho who has been suspended following the Red card in the 3-0 defeat to West Ham.
Coutinho is irreplaceable in the Liverpool FC squad in terms of his ability to create chances. However, the Reds have to replace him, and replace him well enough, in order to beat Manchester United or even get a draw at Old Trafford on Saturday evening.
The three players in the Reds’ XI who can come in for Coutinho may not necessarily be of his level, but may fit in well in the Liverpool FC XI.
1 – Jordan Ibe
Ibe made a rather indifferent start to the new campaign at Liverpool FC after impressing in the pre-season games for the Reds. However, Ibe has one trait that no other Liverpool FC player quite has– pace, and the ability to go past players and hug the touchline.
Liverpool’s lack of width was evident in the West Ham game, when Slaven Bilic’s men crowded the central areas to ensure Liverpool FC do not break through from the middle. Liverpool had deployed Coutinho and Firmino out wide who cut in and a right-footed left-back in Joe Gomez, leading to a complete lack of width.
Ibe can come in for Coutinho and his ability to hug the touchline and beat players with his pace can cause problems, especially if he begins to play in the same manner he did towards the second half of last season when he came back from his loan spell.
2 – Danny Ings
Ings made his first Liverpool FC appearance in the 3-0 defeat at the hands of West Ham. With the side already down to 10 men and having had a bad day in general, Ings was not given much service. However, the former Burnley man looked lively and managed to make one-two good runs with the ball at his feat.
Benteke also looked like he could do with some support up-front in the last game, with Coutinho sent off. Should that be the case in the subsequent game, Ings’ inclusion in the squad could be a useful move in the absence of the creative spark of Coutinho. However, Liverpool FC would have to be wary of the defensive balance in their squad if they are to deploy a 4-4-2 system with Ings and Benteke up front.
3 – Adam Lallana
Lallana’s inclusion still remains doubtful, with Brendan Rodgers yet to confirm his availability for the United game, although the former Southampton man is expected to recover in time as per the last update, before the West Ham game.
If fit, Lallana can come in for Coutinho to play wide left or from the central position with a wide player coming in for another Liverpool FC midfielder (Can/Lucas).
Lallana’s career at Anfield is yet to take off after a stop-start season last year. The new season too, has not seen the best of starts with the England international missing Liverpool’s last two games.
He can, however, prove to be a decent replacement for Coutinho with his work-rate and the ability to link up play in the final third. Lallana is yet to discover his goal-scoring touch at Anfield that saw him become one of the best players in the Premier League. If he does get fit in time for the Old Trafford clash, Liverpool FC fans will be hoping that the former Southampton captain will rediscover his goal-scoring abilities in this game.