Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is glad none of his recent signings will have to operate with the pressure of being the ‘new’ Philippe Coutinho.
Jurgen Klopp insists seeking a like-for-like replacement for Philippe Coutinho was never part of Liverpool’s transfer plans this close-season because such a player does not exist. Coutinho joined Barcelona in a blockbusting £142million deal in January but his departure did little to check Liverpool’s progress under Klopp as they sealed a top-four spot in the Premier League and reached the Champions League final.
The funds raised from the Brazil playmaker’s sale have been handsomely reinvested from the mid-season signing of centre-back Virgil van Dijk – a £75m arrival from Southampton – onwards. Fabinho and Naby Keita, the latter a pre-agreed signing from RB Leipzig, will bolster Klopp’s midfield for the coming campaign, while Xherdan Shaqiri provides another creative attacking option. Brazil goalkeeper Alisson joined Van Dijk in becoming the most expensive player in history in his position but Liverpool have not specifically recruited anyone to step into Coutinho’s shoes, nor looked likely to since their bid to bring in Nabil Fekir from Lyon collapsed.
Klopp is understandably proud of Liverpool’s performances from the second half of last season which, along with the impressive raft of recruits, has many tipping them for a sustained title bid this time around.
It is true that a player like Cristiano Ronaldo cannot be replaced, but Real Madrid needs to move on, and quickly as well. In Madrid’s favour, like LIverpool has proved, they really don’t have to sign anybody specifically to fill Ronaldo’s boots, as their immense squad depth has enough quality to spear-head their attack next season.
Gareth Bale as we all know is one of the most skilled wingers currently in the game and on his day he can even eclipse the likes of Ronaldo and Messi. Bale was prolific when he was with Spurs, and earned himself a move to the Bernabeu. But life at Madrid was not always a bed of roses for him as he was constantly injured and was not allowed to play on his preferred left flank, as it was owned by Ronaldo himself.
With Cristiano out of the picture, the left flank is free for anyone in the Madrid dressing room, but with Bale being the one with more experience, he could very well be Lopetegui’s first option to play on the left wing.
Real Madrid have a lot of young talent on their cards as Zidane was keen on promoting youth either through the ranks or buying promising talent early. All his work has paid off as Real Madrid now have one of the best young attackers in world football in the form of Marco Asensio. He had a stellar first season where he even scored in the Champions League final against Juventus. Great things are expected of Asensio, but last season was not a great one for Asensio as he was constantly benched even after good performances.
Next season though, he will have one less player to compete with, and more importantly his favored left flank is now free for anyone who can impress Lopetegui. Asensio will be surely looking to grasp this opportunity with both hands.