COMMENT By Will Butcher
Liverpool have the perfect, ready-made replacement for crocked playmaker Philippe Coutinho in youngster Ovie Ejaria.
Brazil international Coutinho has been ruled out for six weeks, after damaging ligaments in his ankle against Premier League strugglers Sunderland on Saturday.
The 24-year-old is set to miss Liverpool’s next seven domestic encounters, in what is a huge dent in Liverpool’s Premier League title chase.
However, attacking midfielder Ejaria could be set to immediately profit from Coutinho’s injury, as Jurgen Klopp considers his options to replace the former Inter Milan star in Tuesday’s League Cup clash against Leeds.
Ejaria has featured regularly in the EFL Cup for the Merseyside giants this season, impressing against the likes of Tottenham and Derby and also making his Premier League debut against Watford.
Mixing an abundance of pace with the ability to wrong foot a defender, Ejaria’s presence in the middle of Liverpool’s attack could provide the spark that will go missing in Coutinho’s absence.
Liverpool’s number 53 excited fans after coming off the bench in the 6-1 triumph against Watford to make his domestic debut earlier this month, playing a major part in their sixth goal with an impeccable back heel to Roberto Firmino.
The 19-year-old’s driving runs deep against Spurs saw Anfield’s faithful watch from the edge of their seats, as he continues to show a maturity that is far beyond his tender years.
Ejaria faces stiff competition from the likes of Divock Origi, Marko Grujic and Sheyi Ojo for a place in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI on Tuesday night.
But with a tenacious desire to impress and earn a place in Liverpool’s side, Ejaria’s raw talent could be enough to tempt Klopp into giving the attacking star a chance.
In other Liverpool news, this defender will be made to wait for his first-team chance.