Liverpool once again proved they can cope without Philippe Coutinho during Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing against Arsenal.
Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah terrorised the Gunners’ defence throughout the 90 minutes and all got themselves on the scoresheet.
Liverpool’s midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum, meanwhile, dominated in the middle of the park.
Were Coutinho to ever return, it’s a wonder how exactly Jurgen Klopp would reintegrate the Brazilian into his squad.
One of the aforementioned six players would have to drop to the bench to make room for Coutinho, which based on this season’s showings would be unfair.
Klopp has a lot of talent at his disposal yet he’s still keen on making further additions before the end of the summer transfer window, even if Coutinho does end up staying.
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – who wants a move to Liverpool – is on the German’s radar, as is Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
Regarding the latter, Liverpool are prepared to smash their transfer record by making a £60 million bid for the 21-year-old Frenchman.
Much will ultimately depend on whether or not Coutinho joins Barcelona, who are reportedly readying a fourth and final bid of €160 million for the 25-year-old.
Chances are Liverpool will say no, but Barcelona have a plan B that would once again be problematic for the Reds.
According to Mundo Deportivo, if Barcelona miss out on Coutinho, they will rival Liverpool for the signing of Lemar.
Lemar is on a three-man shortlist that also includes Juventus’ Paulo Dybala and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann, though the Monaco winger is the most likely option.
Liverpool must be getting sick of the sight of Barcelona, who time and time again have tried to scupper their summer transfer plans.
Worse still for Liverpool is that Barca potentially have a bargaining chip in Arda Turan, who Monaco were previously interested in signing as Lemar’s replacement.
The Blaugrana could use Turan in a player-plus-cash deal for the 21-year-old.
Monaco have repeatedly insisted Lemar isn’t for sale this summer, but it would appear they’re finally open to the idea after signing Keita Balde from Lazio.
Like Lemar, Balde is young, athletic and plays out wide. The 22-year-old’s arrival has opened the door to Lemar leaving, which Barcelona are ready to take advantage of.