Having lost their battle with Chelsea for the signature of Egyptian forward Mohamed Salah, the January transfer window is in danger of becoming a non-event for Premier League top-four challengers Liverpool.
The Reds are 17/20 to finish the season in a Champions League spot, but with so many gaps apparent in their squad, Brendan Rodgers needs to move heaven and earth to land these reported targets.
Left-back – Ricardo Rodriguez
Wolfsburg’s young defender was the subject of a failed £6m bid from Sunderland during the summer and Rodriguez’s value has surely shot up since, after a string of man of the match performances in the Bundesliga this term.
The 21-year-old Swiss international has scored three goals and laid on three assists in the division, while starring in a mean backline that was only bettered by top-two clubs Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen in the first half of the campaign.
Rodriguez would provide the longed-for width down the left side in the 3-5-2 formation Rodgers has tried with varied success at Anfield.
Central-midfield – Saul Niguez
‘Saul’ was thought to be the reason for Manchester United assistant manager Phil Neville’s Spanish sojourn a couple of weeks ago.
However, Liverpool scouts were reportedly in town to watch the 19-year-old central midfielder in action for Rayo Vallecano at home to parent club Atletico Madrid last time out in La Liga.
A bid of around £12m could tempt Atleti to part with Saul, who fits the Rodgers ethos of buying promising youngsters and the Spain Under-21 regular would go straight into the Reds’ squad as cover for injured Brazilian Lucas Leiva.
Winger – Antonio Candreva
Rodgers showed his hand somewhat by competing with Chelsea for Salah, which indicates that Liverpool are in the market for a winger/wing-forward to ease the creative burden on Philippe Coutinho.
The Reds have been linked with Lazio’s 18-cap Italy man Candreva, who can play on either wing or behind a centre-forward and has either scored or provided the assist for 10 of the Biancocelesti’s 27 Serie A goals this term.
Candreva is co-owned by Udinese and Lazio are thought to be dawdling over a decision to snap him up outright, leaving the door open for a possible move to the Premier League.
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