There’s were questions about how Liverpool would cope after playmaker Philippe Coutinho upped stakes for Barcelona, but the Reds have continued to score almost at will and are chasing second place in the Premier League ahead of their meeting with Newcastle United at Anfield this weekend.
“It’s clear Phil Coutinho was a very, very, very dominant player,” said Jurgen Klopp, speaking to the press at Melwood. “But now, meanwhile, we are a few weeks ago and I’m really happy about the reaction of the boys. They stepped up; it’s good,” enthused the German manager. “Of course, we were fighting for Phil; we wanted to keep him here — it’s not a secret anymore. At the end, he decided differently and I’m happy that it worked so far pretty well,” added the gaffer, looking ahead to the meeting with the Magpies. “I’m happy that it worked quite well, but I’m only interested in how it will work tomorrow and not how it worked in the last few games.”
Liverpool have one foot in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after putting five unanswered goals past FC Porto in the first league of their round of 16 clash and are well within the race to secure top-class European football next season with a mere 10-matches remaining in the campaign. Winning trophies is always priority number one around Anfield and Klopp is building a team that’s going to start doing just that. Although the boss is happy with how the team is performing, there’s really no question whether or not he’s going to look to replace Coutinho this summer.
World class players wants to play for world class teams and a good run in Europe coupled with a strong showing in the Premier League will only help their cause when they’re trying to recruit new talent. AS Monaco attacker Thomas Lemar has been tipped as a target for the Anfield outfit, but with the Ligue 1 side expecting crazy money for the up and coming Frenchman, Klopp could be eying one of his old charges in Borussia Dortmund superstar Marco Reus instead.
At the close of the campaign the 28-year old will only have a single year left on his contract — a situation that the German giants are keen to resolve. Reus, for his part, has been stalling on putting pen to paper on a new deal. The departure of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to Arsenal in January reportedly has him questioning the clubs ambition and has given his suitors hope of luring him away from the Westfalenstadion. Should he choose to hit the bricks, there’s going to be competition for his signature, but given his connection to Klopp and Liverpool’s growing status, the Reds will certainly be in the mixer.