A life without Philippe Coutinho is one that takes extensive planning and preparation, seemingly both tactically and emotionally.
The recent acceleration in reports hinting at a January move to Barcelona for the Brazilian has naturally sparked a resurgence of rumours linking Liverpool to their next marquee acquisition.
An imminent £133million bid marks good reason to line up alternatives, although Liverpool’s priority undoubtedly remains keeping their little magician until the end of the season.
The latest name to crop up on Jurgen Klopp’s supposed list of replacements is Dani Ceballos, with Liverpool one of five clubs to have made an approach for the Real Madrid star, according to Spanish outlet Diario Gol.
Needless it be said that reports from Spain haven’t always proven to be reliable, especially when Coutinho’s transfer saga has been concerned.
It isn’t the first time, however, that Ceballos has emerged as a possible target, courtesy of suggestions the 21-year-old is angry with his lack of game time under Zinedine Zidane and eager to play regular football elsewhere. In fairness, a tough task breaking into Madrid’s star-studded lineup is something he probably should have expected upon joining from Real Betis last summer.
Ceballos arrived at the Bernabéu with a glowing reputation in 2017 after finding himself in high-demand thanks to his superb U21 European Championship-winning campaign with Spain – in which he was awarded Player of the Tournament.
The gifted midfielder somewhat fits the prototype of a replacement playmaker, but not one accomplished enough yet to be deemed a suitable and immediate alternative to Coutinho.
Liverpool are also believed to have reignited their pursuit of Thomas Lemar, and have supposedly moved ahead of Arsenal in the race for the Monaco star.
The Frenchman doesn’t represent a straight Coutinho replacement, but does possess the pace and directness well-suited to Jurgen Klopp’s attacking approach.