Philippe Coutinho poses prior to signing his new contract with FC Barcelona
Liverpool are set for a major cash windfall after selling playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £142million, as reported by BBC Sport.
The Reds fended off Barcelona over the summer as they attempted to land Coutinho as a replacement for his Brazilian international teammate Neymar, but they have finally relented.
Coutinho had starred this term with 12 goals and eight assists in 20 games in all competitions, with many praising his application despite seeing his dream move blocked over the summer.
Now, Coutinho is finally on his way to the Camp Nou, and fans are now hoping to see Liverpool sign a replacement – but the Reds may yet have a different plan in mind.
Liverpool agreed a deal back in August to sign Keita, but only starting from this summer, and it's believed that Liverpool could offer more money on top of the £57million fee to complete the deal now.
RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita runs with the ball
Fans have taken to Twitter to offer their thoughts on a possible early deal for Keita, with some believing that he would be an ideal addition to the Liverpool midfield for the second half of the season after Coutinho's exit.
However, others believe that Liverpool are wasting their time as Leipzig won't let him leave, also highlighting that it would be 'awful' business for the club given that they really need Keita plus another player to replace Coutinho, rather than simply relying on Keita by spending more money on him.
I truly believe getting Naby Keita this month will hugely soften the blow of losing our most creative force, but #RBLeipzig still have a lot to play for and won't part with him easily #LFC #Bundesliga— Mohammad Hammoudeh (@Hammoudeh201) January 8, 2018
Bringing in Naby Keita early is by no means replacing Coutinho as we signed him regardless of Coutinho leaving. He may fill some of the gap left by Coutinho but with Can looking like he's on his way out in the summer it's essential Coutinho is still replaced like for like. #LFC— Scott Robinson (@ScottRobbo) January 7, 2018
I think we’ll be just fine if #lfc can convince Leipzig to part with Naby Keita now instead June— Compos mentis. (@A__zak__) January 7, 2018
If klopp wants to wait to spend that coutinho money, then so be it. But, bringing Keita in early would be ideal. I just can't Leipzig sabotaging their season, similar to how we have done. #lfc— Tom Edwards Molyneux (@tommolyneux11) January 7, 2018
So we're willing to pay more to secure a player (Keita) now rather than wait, but not willing to spend more on other players (Lemar and unnamed targets) and would rather wait? Poor. #lfc— MS (@ClutchKarius) January 7, 2018
While it would be brilliant to get Naby Keita in early, it doesn't look great from a fans perspective if he's the only other incoming this month. Understand its difficult to get players in Jan, but should have a plan in place if we knew Coutinho was leaving. #LFC— Jonny (@JonnyH9310) January 7, 2018
So Liverpool sold Coutinho with no back up plan and end up throwing more money at RBL to bring Keita who have already said they won't be letting him go until the end of the season. At least we can say, we tried #LFC— Mike Richards (@Mitchyr84) January 7, 2018
Would love to pay compensation to RB Leipzig to get Keita now. But still like us to get a goalkeeper and Mahrez #LFC— Kyle Wilson (@kyle_wilson92) January 7, 2018
I'd love Keïta earlier but instead of getting Keïta plus a new player we'd only be getting Keïta.... Awful business from the club if so #lfc— Taylor (@tayIorsport) January 7, 2018