Marcelo, Coutinho and Casemiro withdraw from Brazil squad

The trio have pulled out of this month’s Brasil Global Tour clashes – and are replaced by Alex Sandro, Renato Augusto and Rafinha

Marcelo, Philippe Coutinho and Casemiro have been forced to withdraw from the Brazil squad for this month’s matches against Uruguay and Cameroon.

All three picked up injuries with their respective clubs and have been replaced in the squad by Alex Sandro, Renato August and Rafinha for November’s Brasil Global Tour.

Marcelo suffered a hamstring injury in Real Madrid’s Clasico defeat to Barcelona last month and failed to recover in time to join the Selecao in the United Kingdom.

His absence provides an unexpected chance for Juventus’ Alex Sandro to make an impression, after he was unable to make the left-back role his own in two starts for Brazil since the World Cup.

Coutinho, meanwhile, also misses out due to a hamstring injury. Midfield maestro Renato Augusto will now be presented with another opportunity to prove he can help set the tone in Tite’s midfield.

Casemiro had hoped he could overcome fitness issues of his own by on Monday but the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) confirmed he, too, would be replaced.

The Selecao face Uruguay on November 16 at the Emirates Stadium, London, before hosting Cameroon on November 20 at Stadium MK, Milton Keynes.

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Coutinho facing three weeks out in injury blow to Barcelona & Brazil

Barcelona have announced that Philippe Coutinho is to be sidelined for up to three weeks with a hamstring injury.

The Brazil international will be forced to sit out upcoming fixtures for club and country after damaging the femoral biceps in his left leg.

He was able to play a full part for Barca in their most outing, against Inter in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Coutinho completed 90 minutes at San Siro, providing the assist for Malcom’s effort in a 1-1 draw in Milan .

He is, however, set to miss the rest of the month after picking up an untimely knock.

A statement released by Barca on their official website read: “Tests undertaken on Thursday morning have confirmed that Philippe Coutinho has a small rupture in the femoral biceps of his left leg.

“He will be out for approximately two to three weeks.”

If Coutinho is unable to make a speedy recovery, then it is unlikely that he will be seen again in November.

He will be absent from La Liga and Champions League fixtures as a result, while also missing out on international duty.

Barcelona are set to face Real Betis at Camp Nou on Sunday before domestic action shuts down once more.

Coutinho-Brazil

Coutinho would have been expecting to link up with Brazil, offering him a chance to add to his 45 caps, but he will play no part in friendly dates with Uruguay and Cameroon on November 16 and 20 respectively.

If he is able to shake off his ailment inside two weeks, then he could play some part in a crunch La Liga clash with Atletico Madrid on November 24.

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That contest may, however, come too soon, as could a European date with PSV in Eindhoven on November 28.

Barca’s first outing in December will see them play host to Villarreal, and they will hope to have Coutinho back at their disposal by then.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are currently perched at the top of the Liga standings and safely through to the last-16 of the Champions League .

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VIDEO: Coutinho, Neymar & The Ones to Watch in the UEFA Champions League

Europe’s greatest club competition returns on Tuesday with yet another collection of mouth-watering ties in store.

But who will lead his club to glory with the most impressive performance of this matchday? 

Who will rise up above the rest and be crowned the UEFA Champions League Player of the Week, sponsored by Banco Santander?

Will PSG’s creator-in-chief Neymar take centre stage once again? Since his UCL debut in September 2013, no player in the competition can match his tally of 19 assists.

Or will his Brazil colleague over in Barcelona, Philippe Coutinho, be the star of the show as he faces his old club Inter? Coutinho has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last seven Champions League outings (six goals, four assists).

Another Brazilian, Porto’s Felipe, will be looking to inspire his side to victory over Lokomotiv by adding to his Group D-best 17 successful aerial duels.

The UEFA Champions League has a great tradition on unearthing young talent and few are as hot as those found at Dortmund right now.

Twenty-year-old Achraf Hakimi is flourishing under Lucien Favre and has notched an impressive three assists in the UCL this season – a joint high in the competition.

Ones to Watch

Player of the Weeks Ones to Watch
Posted by Football Santander on Tuesday, 06 November 2018

Voting for Player of the Week opens on Thursday .

Follow Football Santander on Facebook , Twitter and Instagram for continued coverage of the UEFA Champions League.

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Dembele or Rafinha? How Barcelona will line up in the Clasico without Messi

The news that Lionel Messi had been ruled out of action for three weeks with a fracture in his right arm sparked panic among Barcelona fans.

How on earth were they supposed to cope without their talisman in Sunday’s Liga showdown with Real Madrid?

Messi, after all, is the king of the Clasico, with more goals (26) and more assists (14) than any other player to have ever graced the most iconic fixture in world football.

He is, in that sense, irreplaceable. And yet someone has to fill the void left by the No.10. 

So, who will Valverde turn to? 

On Wednesday, the Barca boss pointed out that he has “very options” but the most obvious solution initially appeared to be Ousmane Dembele, the man who replaced Messi after the Argentine had been forced off injured in last Saturday’s Liga win over Sevilla.

The France international, who arrived from Borussia Dortmund last year for an initial €105 million, had both form and fitness issues during his debut season in Catalunya. 

However, Dembele has played with far greater consistency this season.

Barcelona Dembele

Indeed, while he has yet to rack up an assist, only Messi has scored more goals (five), created more chances (24) or completed as many dribbles (18) for Barcelona as the 21-year-old. 

He even made four key passes in just 65 minutes against Sevilla – a tally only matched by Philippe Coutinho and Ever Banega, both of whom played the full game.

However, Dembele was omitted from the starting line-up for Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Inter amid reports that Valverde had been left unimpressed by how long it had taken the Rennes academy product to get himself ready to replace Messi against the Rojiblancos.

Whatever the veracity of that rumour, the fact is that Rafinha took full advantage of an unexpected outing against Inter and is now in contention to start against Madrid. 

The 25-year-old had made just four previous appearances for Barca this season but, playing in a slightly withdrawn role, Rafinha excelled, even opening the scoring after starting and finishing a brilliant breakaway by coolly volleying home an exquisite Luis Suarez cross.

Of course, Malcom is also an option in attack but the 21-year-old Brazilian has been seen just twice in La Liga since joining from Bordeaux for €41 million during the summer and is as likely to start as the injured Messi.

Instead, Valverde is likely to choose between Rafinha and Dembele. The former offers industry and intelligence, while the latter is as pacy as he is unpredictable. 

Barcelona Rafinha

As it stands, Rafinha appears to have the edge, with Valverde singing his praises after an impressive showing against former club Inter.

“Everything seems brighter when you score a goal but Rafinha’s good work was already there for all to see,” the Barca boss enthused.

“He linked up well between the lines and was very generous when it came to winning the ball back.”

Still, Valverde was also at pains to point out that Dembele hadn’t been punished for any perceived indiscretion. 

“If Dembele didn’t play, it’s not because I want to send a message to anyone,” he insisted. “That inference would be wrong.

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“He’s another player in the squad. Sometimes he’ll play and sometimes others will.”

Who plays against Real remains to be seen but don’t be surprised if we see both Rafinha and Dembele, with Rafinha starting to provide great discipline and security, and Dembele coming on later in the game to exploit tiring legs.

As Valverde said himself, “One player can’t replace Leo. It’s about collective responsibility.”

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Shaqiri the closest Liverpool have to Coutinho – Mellor

Xherdan Shaqiri is capable of filling the void at Liverpool created by Philippe Coutinho’s departure to Barcelona, says Neil Mellor.

The Reds reluctantly parted with a star playmaker during the January transfer window, with persistent pressure from Camp Nou eventually forcing them into a sale.

Jurgen Klopp resisted the urge to land a direct replacement at that time, with other areas of his squad considered to be in greater need of addressing.

He did, however, snap up Switzerland international Shaqiri from Stoke over the summer, and the 27-year-old has offered glimpses of what he is capable of during limited game time thus far.

Former Liverpool striker Mellor believes he is capable of making more of an impact if given a regular run, telling Love Sport Radio: “I really like Shaqiri. What a bargain he seems like when you think what Liverpool bought him for in the summer from Stoke.

“He has that creative ability in the final third to open up defences. Again at the weekend against Huddersfield with his assist for the goal and again in the second half with a lovely little through ball.

“Not since Coutinho have Liverpool had that sort of creative player in the midfield three.

“We know about the front three and they’re going to score plenty of goals. But if you’ve got someone with that creative influence just in behind he could well make a big difference.

“Adam Lallana has been that player but unfortunately injuries have limited his game time. So Shaqiri could be a big difference in games where teams are going to set up and say ‘come and break us down’. Someone like Shaqiri could be the answer in those tighter games.”

Mohamed Salah Liverpool 2018-19

While seeking a midfield spark, Liverpool are still looking to a fearsome front three to do much of their damage, with Mohamed Salah having got himself back among the goals in recent outings against Huddersfield and Red Star.

Mellor said of the Egyptian forward: “He’s such an important player for Liverpool and his goals are going to be absolutely vital if Liverpool are to achieve and succeed this season.

“The numbers last season were quite incredible: 44 goals. It was a big surprise but he’s enjoying himself and he’s playing for a manager who’s getting the best out of him.

“The big difference for Salah from when he was at Roma is he’s playing more central now so he’s making those runs in behind and getting lots and lots of chances. I think he’ll continue to do that.

“He got two goals [against Red Star], he got the winning goal against Huddersfield. So it’s not like he’s short of goals and it was good to see him hit a couple and he probably would have got a hat-trick if he’d stayed on the pitch.”

Fabinho Liverpool 26092018

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Klopp has never questioned Salah’s form, even during an early-season dip, and he has also backed summer signing Fabinho to make a telling contribution in time after easing him into the fold at Anfield.

The versatile Brazilian was another of those to impress against Red Star, with Mellor saying of his qualities: “I think Fabinho was excellent. He was brought in for a few quid, he’s had to be patient and to adapt to Liverpool Football Club, to life in England. But it was no surprise to see that a Champions League night would suit him because obviously he excelled for Monaco in that competition.

“He’s had to be patient and he may well have to be patient in the Premier League. Injury has given him that opportunity so he may well get a little run in the side to show those qualities but there’s no doubt he has that quality to protect the defence and he’s really aggressive too which the supporters enjoy.”

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Barcelona 4 Sevilla 2: Messi injured but champions go top

Lionel Messi was substituted with an arm injury that makes him a doubt for next weekend’s Clasico but the Barcelona captain inspired a 4-2 home win against Sevilla to send his side top of LaLiga.

Philippe Coutinho scored from Messi’s pass in the second minute to get Barca off to a flying start at Camp Nou on Saturday and the Argentina superstar soon doubled the lead.

But Messi had to be substituted having hurt his right arm in an awkward fall and he could miss Wednesday’s Champions League game against Inter, as well as next Sunday’s showdown with rivals Real Madrid.

Luis Suarez’s second-half penalty and a late strike from Ivan Rakitic secured the points despite consolations from Pablo Sarabia and Luis Muriel, Ernesto Valverde’s men moving into first place in the table, with Sevilla third after their four-game winning streak ended.


Despite being on a run of one win in five in all competitions, Barca led inside two minutes with Coutinho bending home a sensational first-time strike to complete a wonderful team move involving Messi and Suarez.

Guilherme Arana struck the post but Messi scored a typically brilliant second for his side in the 12th minute, running on to a superb Suarez pass and cutting inside off the right flank to find the bottom-left corner from 20 yards to record his 25th goal against Sevilla.

Messi, though, was then replaced by Ousmane Dembele after landing heavily on his right arm, Barca’s treatment team initially patching him up but finding he could not continue.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen twice produced remarkable double saves, then Suarez sealed victory when he sent Tomas Vaclik the wrong way from the penalty spot after he was felled by the goalkeeper.

Sarabia’s 79th-minute reply took a vital deflection off former Sevilla defender Clement Lenglet to ruin Ter Stegen’s clean sheet, the Germany goalkeeper then making a second double save.

Rakitic added a late fourth with a controlled volley against his old club but Sevilla still had the final say, Muriel bending home a fine finish in added time.

Despite a welcome win, Barcelona will be concerned about Messi’s injury ahead of next weekend’s Clasico.


What does it mean: Messi major concern

Getting back to winning ways will be a huge relief for Valverde, but Messi’s injury gives him another headache. Barca are arguably more reliant on their talisman than ever before and if he is out for any serious length of time, their title aspirations will be severely dented.

Ter Stegen heroics save Barca

A wonderful double save from Ter Stegen was a vital moment for Barca, who then quickly extended their lead from the penalty spot after Suarez was felled. The first save from Andre Silva’s header was brilliant but blocking the rebound from Franco Vazquez was arguably even better. Incredibly, Ter Stegen made another amazing double save in the closing stages to keep out Muriel and Sarabia.

Ben Yedder toothless for visitors

Behind Messi and level with team-mate Sarabia, Wissam Ben Yedder was among LaLiga’s top scorers this term with nine in all competitions, but the striker had little involvement. Sevilla – now winless in 16 games at Camp Nou – were on the back foot from the off, however, blunting his impact.

What’s next?

European action for both sides this week with Barca hosting Inter in the Champions League on Wednesday and Sevilla welcoming Akhisarspor in the Europa League a day later. On Sunday it’s Huesca at home for Sevilla, while Barca will hope Messi is fit to face Madrid in the Clasico.

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How have Brazil changed since the World Cup?

A new captain, changing faces and shape-shifting tactical set-ups – Tite and the Selecao are deep in a period of transition ahead of Copa America 2019


GOAL ANALYSIS – Raisa Simplicio & Rupert Fryer


Following World Cup 2018, Brazil coach Tite and his technical staff are leading a process of renewal in the Selecao. Their work has been broken down into three stages: the short, medium and long term.

The short term utilised the six Brasil Global Tour dates from September to November, the first big test of which arrived this week with the Superclasico against Argentina in Jeddah.

Neymar refused to lose Miranda takes the Superclasico

Posted by Brasil Global Tour on Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The 1-0 victory over their old rivals made it four straight victories, but it is the performances rather than the results of those matches that are most important to the coach.

Tite has taken the opportunity to introduce a number of new faces, handing out nine debuts since the World Cup (Neto, Felipe, Eder Militao, Andreas Pereira, Arthur, Lucas Paqueta, Richarlison, Everton and Pablo), while retaining the core of the World Cup squad. The intention is to find an ideal blend of youth and experience.


A FIXED CAPTAIN


Neymar Brasil Argentina 16 10 2018

The big news ahead of the Selecao’s first post-World Cup test was the appointment of a new captain. After two years of rotating the armband around the squad, Tite announced that Neymar was being anointed the responsibility on a permanent basis. Tite made a point of explaining his decision, insisting that his no.10 was the technical leader of the team who will guide them into World Cup 2022. 

There were some reservations following intense criticism of Neymar’s temperament in Russia, but it is clear to see that the 26-year-old has learned from the experience and is growing. Some of the criticism appeared to miss the point; this was not a reward from Tite, but rather a tool to ensure the player remains entirely focused and accepts his responsibility on the pitch.


ARTHUR’S EMERGENCE


Arthur Brazil El Salvador Friendly 11092018

The most prominent of all the new arrivals is Barcelona midfielder Arthur. The former Gremio man charmed the coaching staff and started against Argentina, a match in which Tite played what he believes is his best team. The match served as a something of a ‘simulation’ for next year’s Copa America, a tournament Tite is under huge pressure to win.

If the tournament started today, Arthur would be in the first-team. Despite having just over a year of senior football under his belt, Arthur has shown the strength, athleticism, tactical nous and technical quality to set the rhythm in the Brazil midfield, seemingly relegating Manchester Untied’s Fred back to the bench.


STRONG CORE


Philippe Coutinho Neymar Brazil 2018 World Cup

While Brazil are going through a major renovation, the Selecao remains standing on a solid foundation of five key players. In goal, Alisson has been consistently excellent and is yet to let his country down, though Ederson is pushing him hard. Marquinhos is the one member of the back-four whose place is assured, while Casemiro at the base of the midfield remains possibly his side’s most important player in terms of the team’s overall functionality.

In midfield, Coutinho – whether wide right or in central midfield – is immovable and so too is Neymar. Arthur is on the verge of making it six, but elsewhere places are very much up for grabs. Both full-back positions are being keenly contested and as many as half of the positions in midfield and attack are yet to be claimed.


STRIKING COMPETITION


Richarlison Brasil Argentina Amistoso Superclássico das Américas 16102018

One of the biggest changes for Brazil post-World Cup has been in the centre-forward position. For two years, Gabriel Jesus was immovable from the no.9 position. However, after failing to score in Russia, Tite has had a rethink. Jesus was left out of the squad completely last month but returned last week and found the net against Saudi Arabia.

Roberto Firmino, for so long his understudy, is now pushing for a start. Moreover, Everton forward Richarlison has entered the race after starring against El Salvador last month with two goals. The Argentina match saw Firmino and Jesus start a Brazil match together for the very first time, but they seemed to lack an understanding and the attack certainly lacked cohesion overall. Tite, then, has plenty to ponder up front ahead of next month’s Brasil Global Tour.


NEW FORMATIONS


GFX 1a mudança Tite Arábia Saudita

This week, for the match against Argentina, Tite took the extremely rare decision not to confirm his starting XI on the eve of the game, explaining that he was yet to devise his tactical plan for the contest. The 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 that had been omnipresent since his appointment has changed following their disappointment in Russia.

Against Saudi Arabia, he used three different formations and against Argentina went out with two centre-forwards, though Jesus did play from the right. The theory was that Firmino would drop and the likes of Neymar and Jesus would exploit the space. However, in practice it proved problematic, and will undoubtedly require more work on the training ground.

Regardless, Tite and his staff are working hard on varying Brazil’s shape and finding a system that can get his best attackers onto the field while retaining the ‘balance’ he believes is so important.

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Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho, and Brazil’s top goalscorers under Tite

The trio continue to fire the Selecao victory as they compete to lead the charts under the current boss

Following their World Cup 2018 disappointment, five-time world champions Brazil are back on the Brasil Global Tour this month as they begin a new cycle ahead of Copa America 2019 and Qater 2022.

A host of new players have been introduced to the post-Russia squads, but a number of Tite’s tried and trusted stars remain to lead a new generation, particularly in front of goal.

Neymar found the net just twice at the World Cup, but has been a consistent goalscorer since Tite took the reins in June 2016. The PSG star still leads the scoring charts under the current coach, with an impressive haul of 14 goals.

Gabriel Jesus answered Brazil’s prayers two years ago when he finally ended their long search for a traditional no.9. He had a disappointing World Cup, personally, but has wasted no time getting back on the scoresheet following his recall in October. 

The Man City striker has 11 under Tite after coolly slotting home the opener in a 2-0 win over Saudi Arabia.

Jesus, though, is now in competition with Roberto Firmino for a starting role. Last term saw the Liverpool striker enjoy a career-best season in front of goal for his club, and he has four goals for Tite.

Philippe Coutinho had a long wait to establish himself in international football but has flourished under Tite, becoming a first-team regular and one of Brazil’s most important players. He has scored 9 of his 13 Brazil goals for this coach.

With Paulinho’s international career now seeming to have drawn to a close, however, Tite will be keen to find someone to replace the goalscoring threat from midfield that they have lost.

BRAZIL’S TOP SCORERS UNDER TITE

JOGADORES

GOLS MARCADOS
Neymar 14 goals
Gabriel Jesus 11 goals
Philippe Coutinho 9 goals
Paulinho 8 goals
Roberto Firmino 4 goals
Richarlison, Renato Augusto, Diego Souza, Willian, Marcelo, Thiago Silva & Miranda 2 goals
Alex Sandro, Filipe Luis, Marquinhos & Taison 1 goal

 

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Coutinho gone, no Fekir: How Liverpool’s title hopes could fall apart without a goalscoring midfielder

Joint-top of the Premier League heading into the second international break of the campaign, on paper Liverpool’s season is progressing just as their fans would have hoped.

There is, however, a potential cloud on the horizon and, unthinkably really given last season’s heroics, it concerns a relative lack of cohesion from the Reds’ front three.

Last season Mohamed Salah (32), Roberto Firmino (15) and Sadio Mane (10) accounted for 68% of Liverpool’s league goals, as well as adding a barely credible 30 between them in the Champions League (more goals than 74 of the other 76 Champions League campaigns by English clubs).

Such productivity is not only unlikely to be sustainable, but points to the fact that Liverpool do not have a midfield stocked with reliable goalscorers who can chip in when the forwards are labouring.

Jamie Carragher added heft to the debate recently, suggesting that Liverpool are yet to replace Philippe Coutinho.

“We need a bit more quality in midfield, I think. That’s all. Maybe he’ll revisit that in January,” he told This is Anfield.

“I just look at that midfield and I think we’re missing that Coutinho type of player. We went in for [Nabil] Fekir, so we’re obviously looking for someone like that.

“We’re trying to compete with City, and I look and they’ve got De Bruyne and Silva in there. I don’t think we’ve got that sort of player.”


Liverpool midfield/forward stats (2017-18 Premier League)


Player Name Goals Scored Assists
Mohamed Salah 32 10
Roberto Firmino 15 7
Sadio Mane 10 7
     
Philippe Coutinho 7 6
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 3 7
Emre Can 3 4
Daniel Sturridge 2 1
Georginio Wijnaldum 1 2
Jordan Henderson 1 1
Dominic Solanke 1 1
Danny Ings 1 0
James Milner 0 3

And when you look down a list of Liverpool’s top goalscorers in the Premier League last season, after the industrial hauls of the celebrated front three, the next highest scorer was Coutinho himself with seven, even though he started the season in mid-September and played his final match for the club in December.

It’s not that 10-goal-a-season midfielders are common (Liverpool have had only four such players in the Premier League era: Steven Gerrard four times, Steve McManaman in 1997-98, plus Maxi Rodriguez and the transformative Dirk Kuyt in 2010-11), it’s just that having one could be the factor that tilts the title towards Anfield rather than the Etihad Stadium or Stamford Bridge.

Think of the great title-winning sides of the last 30 years and a steady supply of goals from midfield is a key ingredient – from the 45 scored by Chelsea in 2009-10 (34 of them from Frank Lampard and the lesser-celebrated Florent Malouda) to the 42 from Manchester United in 1993-94 when Ryan Giggs, Andrei Kanchelskis, Lee Sharpe, Roy Keane and Paul Ince all contributed at least five goals each.

Marc Overmars offered 12 for Arsenal in 1997-98, Robert Pires 14 in 2003-04, Manchester City’s eventual hunting down of Liverpool in 2013-14 would not have happened without Yaya Toure’s 20 goals, while Riyad Mahrez’s 17 for Leicester in 2015-16 was only seven fewer than Jamie Vardy’s famous total.

Yaya Toure Manchester City 2013-14

Even among Liverpool’s long-past league wins you can find John Barnes scoring 22 in 1989-90, along with 11 from Steve Nicol and Steve McMahon. Two years earlier Barnes had scored 15 in his first league campaign with the Reds, with the trio of McMahon, Ray Houghton and Craig Johnston adding 19 between them.

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There is an exception to the rule, however, with the most notable example in the Premier League era being Blackburn in 1994-95, where Kenny Dalglish guided his side to the title with a midfield contribution of less than 20 goals – the only team to achieve that feat.

Of course, that Rovers side were understandably reliant on Alan Shearer and Chris Sutton, who scored 49 between them, 61% of their total, and were one of the first set of forwards to have their own acronym.

So from the SAS to MSN and BBC and whatever you want to call Liverpool’s trio; it’s all well and good having a blue-chip frontline, but sometimes you really do need your pals behind to help out.

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Liverpool haven’t replaced Coutinho and need to find a De Bruyne or Silva – Carragher

Liverpool need to be in the market for a Kevin De Bruyne or David Silva, says Jamie Carragher, with the Reds considered to be in need of a “bit more quality in midfield”.

Jurgen Klopp did add in that area of the field over the summer, with Fabinho and Naby Keita drafted in from Monaco and RB Leipzig respectively.

There had, however, been departures from Anfield, with Philippe Coutinho leaving for Barcelona and Emre Can linking up with Juventus.

Carragher believes creativity is still missing in a key department , with Liverpool needing to look to Premier League rivals for inspiration when it comes to the next transfer window.

“We need a bit more quality in midfield, I think. That’s all. Maybe he’ll revisit that in January,” the former Reds defender told This is Anfield .

“I just look at that midfield and I think we’re missing that Coutinho type of player. Obviously, we went in for [Nabil] Fekir, so we’re obviously looking for someone like that.

“We’re trying to compete with City, and I look and they’ve got De Bruyne and Silva in there. I don’t think we’ve got that sort of player.

“We’ve got different types of players and we don’t play the same as them. But, now and again at Anfield, you’re going to need someone to open up teams and do something a little bit clever.

“That’s my only worry with this squad, but besides that, I think this could be Liverpool’s greatest squad for the last 30 years.”

Liverpool spent big in the last window , with Alisson and Xherdan Shaqiri also brought onto their books.

They did, however, have disposal funds following the £145 million ($192m) sale of Coutinho and Carragher doubts that they will invest so heavily again in January or over the summer of 2019.

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He added: “I mean there’s no doubt we’ve spent big in the last 12 months. But my argument to that is we had to sell our best player to spend big. Manchester United didn’t have to sell anyone to buy Pogba, you know.

“City didn’t have to sell anyone to buy Kyle Walker. We could only spend that much money because we sold Coutinho for an astronomical fee really.

“So, I don’t expect Liverpool to be spending that type of money going forward, every single season, on two or three players.”

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