Liverpool take striker search to Europe after giving up on Benteke

Liverpool have decided that £32.5m for Christian Benteke is too rich for their blood and have switched to Europe to continue their striker search.

That’s according to reports in the Sunday Telegraph this weekend, with the paper indicating that Juventus striker Fernando Llorente and Sevilla star Carlos Bacca are the two men now at the top of the Reds’ wishlist.

Many thought Benteke, who scored 13 Premier League goals in 28 appearances for the Villans this season, would be the man Brendan Rodgers turned to in order to revitalise a disappointing strike-force in the summer, but the Midlands club’s refusal to budge on their evaluation for the Belgian has finally put Liverpool off.

Instead, the 28/1 title outsiders have found two replacement targets, with Llorente the more likely to move to Anfield.

The Spaniard is thought to be readily available for purchase this summer as the beaten Champions League finalists look to reshape their own attack, while Sevilla remain stubborn on the possibility of selling Bacca.

The bad news for Liverpool fans is that Llorente struggled for form this season, scoring just nine goals in 45 all-competition appearances for Juventus, half the total he managed in the same number of games during his debut campaign last season.

With the Reds missing the goal-scoring impact of Luis Suarez since his departure, that kind of return in front of goal is not what the club need.

Somebody of Bacca’s class, who managed 28 goals in all competitions for Sevilla in 55 games, would be far more appealing, although the La Liga club are adamant the Colombian will not be sold.

Coming from an outfit that has build a solid reputation as a selling club, however, that party line is extremely hard to believe.

With a rumoured release clause of around £21.4m in the 28-year-old’s contract though, keeping on to the player may well be out of Sevilla’s hands.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.