Liverpool tipped to make summer move for ball-playing midfielder regardless of title outcome

Reds legend Jamie Carragher expects Jurgen Klopp to bring in a creative influence over the summer even if the Premier League crown is secured

Liverpool will make a move to land a ball-playing midfielder of the Philippe Coutinho mould in the summer transfer window regardless of where they finish in the Premier League, says Jamie Carragher.

Having seen one creative influence depart for Barcelona in January 2018, the Reds have resisted the urge to bring in a like-for-like replacement.

They have bolstered their ranks in other areas, while also adding the more combative qualities of Naby Keita and Fabinho to their options in the middle of the park.

The Reds are, however, considered to be in need of somebody to fill Coutinho’s boots , with three goalless showings in their last four games across all competitions highlighting the need for a title-chasing outfit to find greater spark .

Liverpool legend Carragher told Sky Sports of that quest: “They lost Coutinho last January and they never replaced him. They tried to replace him with someone from Lyon [Nabil Fekir] in the summer but they couldn’t get him, there weren’t three or four different options.

“So it’s not just a case of right now, in the summer, even if Liverpool win the league, it is still a position I think they will try and fill because it’s not just a case of one player going in there and being the best player. They don’t even really have that type of player off the bench.

“But when you’re talking about that being a problem, I don’t think there should be massive panic for Liverpool because they don’t look like conceding a goal – that’s back.”

Liverpool have kept five successive clean sheets, but Carragher believes Jurgen Klopp is partly to blame for the lack of end product at the opposite end of the field as some of his substitutions have raised eyebrows .

The former Reds defender added on the back of a goalless derby draw with Everton: “The thing I go back to – we know about the midfield. I do look at the changes from the bench, I don’t think they were great last week at Old Trafford [against Manchester United], the first substitution when Daniel Sturridge came on.

“Then [against Everton] I was looking at the substitutions and thinking ‘bring Roberto Firmino on, try and get someone behind Everton’s midfield’ and he stayed with the three in midfield.

“If you’re bringing Firmino on, play him as a No. 10 and play two central midfield players so instead of having three midfield players that Everton’s midfielders can see in front of them, put one in behind them.

“Even when Adam Lallana came on, he didn’t come on as one of the midfield three, he came on as one of the front three. Now maybe Klopp thinks at that stage that it isn’t a bad point.

“Liverpool have only lost one game this season, I played in a season when we only lost two games and never won the league. It doesn’t matter how many games you lose, it’s points that you drop and these points at the moment are proving vital.

“You just look and think ‘could they have been more proactive in the substitutions that they make?’ We’ll only know that at the end of the season.”

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