Philippe Coutinho’s departure was followed by Liverpool making a statement, not in the transfer market, but in the Premier League when they put four past the best team in England. However, when a key player departs, you don’t just let the gap be as is. While a part of the funds was already set aside for Virgil van Dijk and the impending arrival of Naby Keita, there is room for a creative player.
Coutinho’s vision and creativity will be missed, so Liverpool need a like for like replacement. According to reports, the Reds could make a move for on-loan Real Madrid attacker James Rodriguez. The Colombian is currently at Bayern Munich in a two-year loan spell.
Rodriguez had a low-key second season at Real Madrid last time around which led to him being loaned out to Bayern. Manager Zinedine Zidane’s system simply didn’t permit an out and out number 10 as he preferred the 4-3-3 on quite a few occasions. Rodriguez did play a few games out wide and in the three-man midfield and out in impressive performances, but the trio of Kroos and Casemiro and Modric were irreplaceable.
James Rodriguez – stats
After moving to Bayern, the Colombian didn’t exactly hit the ground running. Carlo Ancelotti tinkered with his setup to find the right balance and that didn’t help. His departure and the arrival of Jupp Heynckes worked like a charm as Rodriguez has since played in his preferred attacking midfield role.
He has made 13 appearances in the league so far, 10 starts and 3 from the bench, and has managed to score 3 times and assist 4 more. His passing accuracy stands at an impressive 89.9%, something that has resulted in a lot of faith from Heynckes who likes his sides to play fluid and attacking football. (Stats courtesy: Whoscored)
Can he replace Coutinho?
You betcha! The Colombian is a smart attacker and can unlock a defence, something little Phil used to do so well. And needless to say, he has one helluva left foot as well. Coutinho scored quite a few long-range belters, and Rodriguez can give it some welly as well. Remember his goal in the World Cup?
James has played under able managers and will be pretty receptive to the proactive tactics at Liverpool if he signs for them. Replacing one South American star with another will go down well with the Liverpool fans as no one understands the beautiful football more than the Latin Americans.