- Liverpool have reportedly made contact over a deal for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez
- The Algerian is being lined up as a possible replacement for Philippe Coutinho
- Brazilian is expected to seal January move to Barcelona
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Liverpool are set to seek their Philippe Coutinho replacement closer to home after receiving a setback in their pursuit of Thomas Lemar.
The Reds are believed to be keen on bringing the Frenchman to Anfield this month, if Coutinho is granted his wish of a move to Barcelona.
Monaco, however, remain insistent that Lemar will be staying put at least until the end of the season, forcing Liverpool to explore wider options.
On that list could be Riyad Mahrez, with the Reds having made contact over a deal for the Leicester City star, according to French outlet L’Equipe.
Mahrez also boasts a place on Chelsea’s January wishlist having rediscovered his majestic top form under manager Claude Puel in recent months.
The Algerian has teased performances reminiscent to that seen in Leicester’s Premier League-winning 2015/2016 campaign, for which Mahrez was named the PFA Player of the Year.
Despite being of opposite foot to Coutinho, he represents one of the more logical potential replacements courtesy of his experience in English football and notable tendency to shift inside as a central technician.
Besides possessing the pace and quick-feet to provide a threat from wider areas, he also offers the invention Jurgen Klopp would lose were Coutinho to depart.
Adding another interchanging feeder for the likes of Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane promises to be key to Liverpool’s chances of securing a top four finish.
With seven goals and seven assists to his name so far this season, Mahrez is certainly a capable candidate to try and compensate for the loss of Coutinho’s attacking production.
Liverpool accelerating their efforts to fill a Coutinho-shaped hole suggests the Brazilian is edging ever closer to sealing a switch to the Nou Camp.
Though an official offer is yet to arrive, an imminent bid of around €150million is expected to tempt the Reds into business.