Klopp eyes bargain as he narrows Coutinho replacement hunt to duo

James Marshment

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reportedly identified his two preferred targets to fill Philippe Coutinho’s long-term shoes at Anfield.

The Reds sold the Brazil playmaker for £142m last January and while he is yet to be replaced, Liverpool have done more than OK in his absence, going on to reach the Champions League final and this season, mounting a title challenge after taking 26 points from their opening 10 games.

But according to reports, Klopp is still very much in the market to replace Coutinho at Anfield, and hopes the January arrival of one of those targets could reinforce their hand as the race for the Premier League crown reaches its climax.

According to Radio Marca, Liverpool and Napoli are both trying to sign Athletic Bilbao midfielder Iker Muniain.

The 25-year-old will be out of contract next summer and it’s claimed Klopp and Liverpool will try and bring him in January, or even trying to persuade him to sign a pre-contract agreement ahead of a summer 2019 switch.

The attacking midfielder, who has only ever played for Bilbao, is believed to be in talks over a new deal at the San Mames Stadium, but it’s reported that Liverpool are ready to muscle in and make an approach for the player.

He has over 357 appearances to his name for Bilbao and he’s scored 51 goal, including four goals from just seven La Liga starts this season.

Klopp’s other option is understood to be Kerem Demirbay, who has a £28million exit clause in his Hoffenheim deal.

 

The player is said to be well aware of Klopp’s interest in him and was quoted by Sky Germany about their decision to scout him during their 3-3 Champions League draw at home to Lyon: “Of course I noticed that [Liverpool scouts were there]. I can handle it.”

Liverpool saw a potential deal for Nabil Fekir break down over the summer after asking Lyon to change the payment schedule over the player after his medical highlighted a problem with his knee.

 

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