Ousmane Dembele would be a better signing for Liverpool rather than his Barcelona team-mate Philippe Coutinho, says Danny Murphy.
Both Dembele and Coutinho’s Camp Nou futures remain in doubt following the club’s lavish spending on new summer recruits. So, Liverpool have allegedly been keeping tabs on their situations.
A move for Coutinho, who starred at Anfield for five years before leaving for Barcelona in January 2018, appears the more likely option.
The Brazilian playmaker has struggled to make his mark at Barcelona, which has prompted talk he could be on his way out. Although the player’s agent, Kia Joorabchian, concedes a return to Liverpool will be difficult.
Dembele, on the other hand, has reportedly emerged as a surprise target for the European champions.
The 22-year-old forward endured another difficult campaign at Barcelona, which saw him being dogged by injury and disciplinary problems.
But Murphy, who made 248 appearances in the Reds midfield, reckons Dembele would be a great catch for the club. Furthermore, he reckons the Frenchman could nick Roberto Firmino’s spot in the line-up.
“Dembele would be a fantastic signing for Liverpool,” he told bwin.
“He’s not had the best time at Barcelona, but clearly has an abundance of talent and the ability to win games by himself.
“If he can recapture his belief in his ability then Liverpool would have a formidable front three with him, [Sadio] Mane and [Mohamed] Salah.
“When playing to his potential, I think he would edge Firmino out of the first team.
“Firmino is the type of player that would raise his own game and everyone’s around him if Dembele came into the team.
“He’ll fight for his place week in, week out and, if you’re not giving your all on the pitch, then Firmino will be right there to take it.”
However, the nine-time England international believes re-signing Coutinho would be a step backwards and could hinder the team’s style.
“Liverpool would be taking a step backwards if they re-signed Coutinho,” continued Murphy.
“Coutinho is at his best when playing in a central three, not wide left. If he were to come back, he would change the dynamic of the team and it would disrupt the balance.
“Liverpool’s midfield three are all super-athletes who defend as much as they attack, which they’ll lose if playing Coutinho there.
“[Jurgen] Klopp had the ability to try a different formation once Coutinho departed and the results speak for themselves. It would be risky to revert back to accommodating Coutinho.
“There’s always room for a creative player, but Liverpool should be looking at a player like Ousmane Dembele or [Wilfried] Zaha, not Coutinho.”