Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp reveals who will replace Philippe Coutinho
Jurgen Klopp believes an in-form Sadio Mane can help Liverpool forget about Philippe Coutinho.
Liverpool travel to Swansea tonight looking to maintain an 18-match unbeaten run in all competitions while also keeping pace with their top-four rivals in the Premier League.
But the talk of Coutinho’s £142m exit to Barcelona still remains as they look to move on with life after the Brazilian.
Klopp feels the return to form of Mane in recent weeks, after the Senegal ace struggled earlier in the season in the shadow of Mohamed Salah and Coutinho, will only help.
Mane has scored two in Liverpool’s last three matches, including a stunning strike in the 4-3 win over Manchester City last weekend.
“It had nothing to do Phil but because we have players of this quality in the squad we don’t need to talk about Phil,” said Klopp. “Sadio is one of the players who, for sure, can fill this gap if you want. If there was a gap. But only when he is a good moment.
“Now he is in a good moment and I am really happy about that because it helps.”
Klopp revealed he had a meeting with Mane to discuss his form which suffered particularly when he squandered a chance to tee up his team-mate’s in December’s draw with Everton.
But Klopp insists since scoring against Burnley on New Year’s Day he has rediscovered his form.
He said: “We spoke. It is difficult to talk about that. Of course we had talks and I like to be honest and I don’t want to say Sadio was brilliant when he wasn’t. Everyone could see that he struggled a bit here.
“It didn’t look like it was too easy for him. After the Everton game when he didn’t pass the ball, everybody made a big criticism of him. I didn’t mention it to be honest.
“You cannot play football without mistakes. He didn’t want to do it. Now he is completely different again.
“At Burnley he scored a fantastic goal but it was not a world class game of Sadio, Since then he is now really back, he works hard, he protects the ball, no risky dribbling and he is a world class player.”
But Swansea manager Carlos Carvalhal believes the Premier League’s bottom club can cause an upset tonight.
“I prefer being in Goliath’s position, but during my career I have been David most of the time,” said Carvalhal. “I have done some surprises often in my career, but in that moment Goliath was a little ill!”
Swansea are set to revert to a five-man defence in a bid to keep Liverpool’s electric front three of Roberto Firmino, Mane and Salah quiet.
Salah has scored 18 goals in the top-flight this season. Swansea have netted just 14 as a team and on Boxing Day, Firmino led the way with two goals as Liverpool beat Swansea 5-0 at Anfield.