Liverpool Denied Lemar After Allowing Coutinho and Sturridge to Leave

Liverpool are set to miss out on their top January transfer target, despite allowing Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge to leave Anfield midway through the season.

Philippe Coutinho became the second most expensive player in the game's history when he moved to Barcelona at the beginning of January in a deal believed to be worth £142 million.

Liverpool were looking to sign Thomas Lemar, the French attacking midfielder, from Monaco as a replacement for Coutinho and bolster their attack.

On Monday (January 29), the Merseyside club allowed Sturridge to leave on loan to West Brom, while Monaco's vice-president Vadim Vasilyev said they would not sell Lemar until the summer.

"He will stay at Monaco until the end of the season at 100 percent," he told RMC. "If Liverpool or Arsenal come with a big offer before the end of the market? This is not relevant.

"We will say no because the objectives are clear. Without important players like Lemar, we will not succeed."

Daniel Sturridge
Daniel Sturridge at Anfield, Liverpool, England, October 28, 2017. Sturridge was the second attacking player to leave Anfield in January. PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty

The winter transfer window began well for Jurgen Klopp's team as they signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton for £75 million, making him the most expensive defender in history.

The sale of Coutinho was accepted on Merseyside as his prominence had fallen with the arrival of Mohamed Salah in the summer from Roma, who has already netted 26 goals this season.

But the departure of Sturridge as well, with no replacement seemingly on the way, has left many at Anfield concerned about the remainder of the campaign.

Salah is joined in a lethal attack alongside Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, but their only back-up striker is 20-year-old Dominic Solanke, who is yet to score his first goal for the club.

Liverpool are fourth in the Premier League table and 18 points short of leaders Manchester City, out of the FA Cup after losing to West Brom on Saturday, and not in contention for the League Cup.

This leaves Klopp and Liverpool's sole focus on Europe. They face Porto in the last-16 of the Champions League in February while needing to fend off Tottenham, Chelsea and Arsenal in the pursuit of a top-four finish in the Premier League.