By 90Min
January 06, 2018

Liverpool are bracing for yet another of their star players to walk out the exit as Philippe Coutinho nears a move to Barcelona, and whilst the Reds are not going to obtain a like-for-like replacement, the club needs to ensure this time around that they have a contingency plan which is not going to derail their short-term future. 

The departure of Luis Suarez in 2014 left a hole at Anfield for too long, his absence sent the club down like a lead balloon - a predicament which cannot be repeated with Coutinho. 

However, the difference this time around is the man at the helm is Jurgen Klopp. The Liverpool boss has not built his side around Coutinho - unlike Brendan Rodgers did with Suarez - and as such can pluck another player from a rival's ranks to add to the fold, and Leicester's Riyad Mahrez is just the man. 

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25-year-old Mahrez struggled to find any level of consistency at the start of the season having failed to find a new club in the summer, but he has recently returned to the level of form which saw him guide the Foxes to a stunning Premier League title in season 2015/16 - scoring two goals and providing three assists in his last four games. 

Whilst his star has not eclipsed that of Coutinho's during his time in the Premier League to date, the Algeria international has shown that he is capable of producing moments of magic which has the fans begging for more.

The Anfield faithful feed off players who bring them to their feet and Klopp and Liverpool have the potential to be the perfect combination to extract every ounce of talent Mahrez possesses.

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Half the battle with replacing an impact player is settling the new addition into the side and potentially introducing them to a new league, an issue Liverpool would not have to contend with should they sign Mahrez.

The 25-year-old is ready-made for the English top flight and although his position with Leicester suggests he would be competing for a spot against the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, Klopp could be tempted to deploy him in a deeper role in midfield to enable him to pull the strings - a position Coutinho took up in recent times. 

His versatility is what will attract Klopp's interest as the Reds boss deploys a system which encourages fluidity across the park, where no man is moulded to a specific position which leaves an area of the field prohibited.

The rapid rate of movement, most notably amongst the front players, is key to Liverpool's success and although Mahrez has predominantly occupied wing positions in his career Klopp is likely to see the foundations of a player capable of occupying a number of positions. 

Creativity and an eye for a pass are qualities Mahrez has in abundance, but it's Klopp's desire to improve and develop players which will ensure the question marks over the Algeria international's work rate and defensive mindset will be answered - as he demands nothing less. 

The 2016 Player of the Year has the potential to thrive under the guidance of Klopp and at just 25-years-old, there is a lot of improvement to tap into during the prime years of his career.

Should Liverpool pursue a deal for Mahrez in January they will have a player who will be eligible to play in the club's Champions League campaign and help in their pursuit of back-to-back finishes in the Premier League's top four.  

Thus, whilst Mahrez is not a like for like replacement for Coutinho the 25-year-old has talent in abundance which will only be nurtured and furthered under the guidance of Klopp. 

Mahrez will not set out to follow in the footsteps of Coutinho but with an eye for goal and a touch of magic in his arsenal, he is capable of settling into the Reds' fearsome attack with ease. 

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