Opinion

Five Liverpool players who can replace Philippe Coutinho after injury blow

Philippe Coutinho suffered an ankle injury during Liverpool's 2-0 win over Sunderland on Saturday afternoon

Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge could be the biggest winner after Philippe Coutinho’s injury. The England international has started just four Premier League games in the 2016-17 season so far. The Liverpool centre-forward has been linked with a move away from Anfield in the January transfer window in search of regular first-team football. However, Coutinho’s injury could give Sturridge a reprieve with the former Chelsea and Manchester City man the obvious candidate to slot into Jurgen Klopp’s first team, either up top with Roberto Firmino shuffling back into a deeper role or out on the wing.

Divock Origi

Klopp turned to Divock Origi to replace Coutinho in the 33rd minute of Liverpool’s 2-0 win against Sunderland on Saturday afternoon. It will be intriguing to see once Sturridge recovers from a thigh problem whether Klopp will turn to the Englishman or persist with Origi. The Belgium international lacks the technical and goal-scoring ability of Sturridge but he would provide more of a physical presence up front. If he can rekindle the form that he showed in March and April earlier this year then Origi’s introduction could be a big positive.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum started alongside Emre Can on Saturday afternoon after the pair had previously been battling it out to partner Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson in midfield. The Netherlands international was deputising for Adam Lallana but when the Englishman returns, Wijnaldum could retain his place in the Liverpool side if Coutinho remains sidelined for a prolonged period. Let’s not forget that the Dutch playmaker scored 11 times in 38 Premier League games for Newcastle United last season.

Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno could be another option to fill Coutinho’s void. The Spanish left-back has been playing second fiddle to James Milner in Klopp’s side this season despite the vice-captain playing out of position at full-back. With questions over Moreno’s defensive capabilities, the Spanish full-back could be given more of a free role on the left wing. The 23-year-old’s pace and directness would be a useful weapon even if he lacks Coutinho’s magic. He could also double up with Milner on opposition wingers.

Sheyi Ojo

Alternatively, perhaps against lesser opposition, Klopp could be tempted to turn to youth. Sheyi Ojo has the most first-team experience of the youngsters coming through. The 19-year-old has scored one goal in 11 first-team appearances. Alternatively, Ovie Ejaria is another Liverpool teenager with a big reputation.

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