Liverpool set to offer Roberto Firmino a 'contract for life' at Anfield

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It had been Jurgen Klopp's wish, however, to sign him for this season.

Since 2010, the Reds have seen Fernando Torres, Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling all move on to new ventures, failing to replace them as individuals or even deal with their departures as a team.

Liverpool want to bring in new players but also protect the existing squad with bumper new deals.

He is not, though, a Coutinho, and what he gives to a Liverpool team with potency up front but brittle habits is bound to evaluated on a gauge partly set by Coutinho.

Firmino, Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah had formed a part of Liverpool's vaunted "Fab Four" this season as the Reds terrorised Premier League defences but with Coutinho's departure, the quartet has split to leave Reds fans anxious about the strength of Jurgen Klopp's squad.

If a deal is agreed for Keita in the winter window, he will become the most expensive player in Liverpool's history.

Philippe Coutinho
Getty Philippe Coutinho has looked destined to leave according to Alan Shearer

What they do next will tell us everything about whether they want to be back at the top table or if they are content to cash in on their best player every couple of years. The other time, the Reds' purchase of Virgil van Dijk.

They occupy the fourth and final spot with 16 matches remaining and are on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league, but there is a danger the loss of Coutinho could derail them.

Coutinho's exit could go one of two ways for Liverpool.

RB Leipzig have previously said that there is no way that they would let him go midseason.

I scored on my Anfield debut for Liverpool - a header, too - and it was the best feeling in the world.

Without a doubt, there will be another "Coutinho" out there, a player available for a small fee that turns out to be worth millions, but in today's insane and competitive market, it'd be a surprise for Klopp to go down that road.