Why Liverpool have been targeting a winger, rather than a central player

Coutinho Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers may want to use the versatility of his current players.

Many Liverpool fans have been wondering why their side have been targeting wingers rather than central players.

Prior to January, central midfield looked like an area that could have done with being strengthened, ideally a midfielder who is used to breaking up the play from a deeper position and good distributor of the ball – playing in the ‘quarterback’ role.

Throughout this January transfer window, Liverpool have been linked with wingers, which on the surface looks pretty odd given the need for a bit more bit in the middle of the park – but in the eyes of Brendan Rodgers it may have been there all along.

Liverpool’s game has been to win the ball high up the field and remain compact otherwise, and then play in the counter-attack. During the Merseyside derby he may have showcased the player who can give them some bite in the middle of the park, just further up the field.

For much of the season Philippe Coutinho has been used as makeshift left winger and has cut inside a lot in the final third. But in the Merseyside derby he was playing almost wholly through the middle of the park, he showed that he has a good deal of strength on the ball and wasn’t afraid to get stuck in to win the ball back.

However, given the current injury to Lucas, and the question marks surrounding the fitness of Joe Allen lately, it still leaves Liverpool a little short in central areas.

But the prospect of Yevhen Konoplyanka arriving at Liverpool could mean Coutinho will be playing in a more central role than he has done for the Reds. Just by having another body in to play a position well allows Rodgers to capitalise on Coutinho’s versatility.

Having missed out on Salah, Liverpool do not want to miss out on another target. By securing Konoplyanka’s signature will give the Reds another option and highlight the versatility that already exists within the squad. It may simply be a question of having enough bodies in other positions to use it.

image: © Dean Jones

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