Is this player the perfect Philippe Coutinho replacement?

Jack Hallows provides a profile of reported transfer target Nabil Fekir and looks at where the Frenchman would fit in at Liverpool should he sign. 

I’m pretty excited about this one I have to admit.

Liverpool have recently been linked with a whole host of names from around Europe as the summer window draws ever closer but one seemingly gaining traction quicker than you can say “top four race” is Lyon’s Nabil Fekir.

The Frenchman is alleged to be Klopp’s first choice ‘replacement’ for Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho and certain French outlets have even gone as far as to suggest it’s a done deal, with the Reds reportedly set to pay £62m for his services.

The truth behind all these rumours will remain a mystery until the player is shown donning Liverpool red at Melwood for the next addition in the club’s signing day vlog series but whether he signs or not, the links shouldn’t be surprising.

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Directly, Liverpool haven’t really missed Philippe Coutinho’s presence since he left for Barcelona in January. In fact, you could probably argue quite successfully that they’ve become a better all-round team.

Klopp has been blessed with goal threats all over the pitch and opposition teams are unsure whether to focus primarily on stopping Salah, Firmino or Mané. The end result? Whoever they leave free, generally scores.

However, one issue with having opted to not replace the Brazilian directly has been that of squad depth. The Reds simply don’t have quality players waiting in the wings to be rotated into the starting XI and recent performances have highlighted just how tired this group of players is growing.

Imagine then, being able to turn to the bench during a frustrating 0-0 and instead of having to turn to Danny Ings or Dominic Solanke, Klopp points to a man who has managed 22 goals and 8 assists this season.

Fekir can play in practically any of the attacking positions and would provide an alternative to each and every one of Salah, Firmino, Mané and even Oxlade-Chamberlain. He’s generally been at his most comfortable for Lyon playing through the middle of the park in an attacking midfield type role but we’ve seen time and time again just how good Klopp is at fitting a player into his system rather than adapting his tactics to fit one player.

With 22 goals and 8 assists in all competitions this season, there’s no doubting that the Frenchman would replace some of the firepower lost by selling Coutinho in January.

Our deadly trio have done brilliantly in his absence but the added creativity (2 key passes per 90) and goal threat (a goal every 134 minutes, 3 shots per 90) that the 24-year-old would bring to our squad would only serve to further boost our chances of smothering opposition teams before they even have a chance to breathe.

He can also take a decent free kick which is something that has admittedly been lacking since Coutinho’s sale.

If the Reds have the opportunity to add another top class attacker who scores, creates, can dribble past opposing players like they’re stuck in treacle and would inject extra pace, versatility and most importantly, quality, into our squad then really, this should be a no-brainer.

Of course, a reported £62m is a lot of money to be paying for a player who, while exciting, isn’t a guaranteed starter in this Liverpool outfit. Personally, as versatile as he is, I struggle to see exactly what specific role he’d play but that’s the beauty of this Liverpool team under this manager. We’re unpredictable.

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