Coutinho injury could open door for Spaniard to make mark

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It’s still unclear how long Liverpool’s Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho will be out for after coming off against Swansea clutching his shoulder, but if he’s unavailable for the visit of Southampton, Brendan Rodgers can turn to another summer signing.

While the results of a scan will determine the damage sustained to Coutinho’s shoulder, there is every likelihood Liverpool’s manager will be without the twinkle-toed number 10 when the Saints go a ‘marching to Anfield next.

After seeing off both Stoke and Manchester United on Merseyside in the Premier League with 1-0 wins so far, it’s no surprise to see Liverpool’s price for a victory over Southampton is as short as 4/9.

There is no hiding the fact any period of enforced absence for Coutinho will come as a blow to the table-topping Reds, though, where one door closes another inevitably opens.

Signed from Seville in the summer for a fee of £6.8m, Luis Alberto has only tasted around six minutes of Premier League action so far, coming off the bench in the closing stages of the 1-0 win over Manchester United during Liverpool’s last home game.

Alberto did get a start in the Capital One Cup though and looked pretty assured in the advanced midfield role which Coutinho was occupying against Swansea until limping off.

The Spain U21 player is a versatile forward who can move across the front line, but showed an eye for an assist and a goal while on loan at Barcelona B last season, finishing the season with 11 goals to his name – albeit in Spain’s second division.

Although he is slender in build, he’s technically gifted, and considering the sizeable outlay Liverpool have made to bring him in, then it makes sense that he be given a run-out in the Premier League.

The visit of a team from the lower half of the table is just the sort of occasion where a player like this can make his mark on the big stage and thrust himself into his manager’s thoughts.

Liverpool’s impressive start sees them priced at 23/20 to achieve a top four finish at present.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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