Klopp drops massive hint over Coutinho replacement amid shock EPL superstar links

Jurgen Klopp insists Liverpool have their ‘eyes open’ as they look to sign a replacement for Philippe Coutinho during the January transfer window.

Having sold Coutinho to Barcelona for £142million, Liverpool are searching the market for reinforcements but will not pay ‘crazy’ money for a target, says Klopp.

Riyad Mahrez, the Leicester City and Algeria playmaker, has emerged as a top target for Liverpool, but Alexis Sanchez has also been linked with a shock move to Anfield.

Sanchez, 28, appears destined to leave Arsenal this month and Manchester rivals City and United are at the front of the queue to secure his signature for around £30m.

Asked whether Chile star Sanchez could be targeted as a replacement for Coutinho, Klopp dodged the mention of the Arsenal star but said: ‘Replacement? First of all we have to replace him internally.

‘We have our eyes open in this window but we won’t do crazy things. ‘If we do something… we don’t need to “replace” him, we need to step up. We have played fantastic football without Phil. We only have to carry on.’

Sanchez was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool in 2014 but he opted to join Arsenal, with his desire to live in London said to be a big factor.

Klopp also downplayed rumours suggesting Liverpool could move to bring Naby Keita to the club this month. Last August, the Reds agreed to pay over £50m for the 22-year-old Guinea international, who will join in the summer.

‘There is nothing to say. He’s a player of Leipzig, that’s what I know,’ Klopp added. Liverpool, who are fourth in the Premier League, 18 points behind Manchester City, face the league leaders this weekend.

On the prospect of facing Pep Guardiola’s side, Klopp said: ‘In a football way we should look to clarify something [after the 5-0 defeat]. ‘We need to show we can cause them problems and make their life difficult. It’s Anfield, I’m really looking forward to it.

‘The strength of Man City is their tactical discipline. We lost a player in the game there and conceded five. It was a different situation. We have since found our way.’

Speaking to the media for the first time since Coutinho’s high-profile departure, Klopp said Liverpool had ‘no other option’ but to sanction his transfer.

‘There was no other option. If someone is angry or disappointed it could be the manager but I’m not. We tried everything to convince Phil to stay here,’ he said. ‘This was his dream. He would only leave Liverpool for one club. The club was fighting until the last second to keep Phil. It would have been difficult to say no and then use him in the second half of the season.’