Ray Parlour says Jurgen Klopp needs to get Philippe Coutinho back into the Liverpool side in the absence of Sadio Mane.
The Senegal international scored in Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Monday afternoon before Mane headed off the Africa Cup of Nations with his national team.
Mane has proven a key player in the Merseyside outfit’s title bid so far after the African forward netted nine times and made four assists in 19 appearances in the Premier League this term.
The 24-year-old attacking midfielder moved to Liverpool in a £34m deal from Southampton in the summer transfer window as Klopp’s marquee signing.
Coutinho has been sidelined with an ankle injury since a 2-0 win against Sunderland at Anfield in November.
Former Arsenal midfielder Parlour explained why it is crucial that Klopp get Coutinho back into his side to fill Mane’s void.
“Liverpool need Philippe Coutinho back. Once they get him back, they won’t miss Sadio Mane as much. He is a different player to Coutinho,” Parlour told Sky Sports News HQ.
“He has got a little bit more pace. If Klopp can get Coutinho back into the side, it will be a bonus. Mane has been one of the signings of the summer, there’s no doubt.”
Liverpool are in second place in the Premier League table and five points adrift of leaders Chelsea.