Liverpool: Does history suggest they can close gap?
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Liverpool have at least five players they could use as bait to try and land Raphinha from Leeds United. The Premier League champions have been linked with a move for winger Raphinha in the summer transfer window, with Jurgen Klopp needing to add strength in depth to his attack.
Klopp began the process of revitalising the Reds’ front line when he signed Diogo Jota from Wolves in a £41milllion deal back in September.
Jota made an instant impact, scoring nine goals in his first 15 games for Liverpool, but has been out since suffering a knee injury in December.
The Reds have struggled in front of goal since then, slipping off the top following a run of a four Premier League games without a goal.
And although they have banged in eight goals in a four-game spell since then, Klopp’s side are now 11 points behind leaders Manchester City following a damaging 4-1 defeat to their rivals at the weekend.
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Raphinha has been identified as a potential solution to Liverpool’s attacking woes, having scored four goals and laid on four assists since joining Leeds from Stade Rennais in October.
And while Leeds won’t want to part with the Brazilian, Liverpool have at least five players they could offer to help soften the blow for Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
Having shelled out £17m to sign Raphinha, Leeds are likely to want at least £25m for the winger.
With finances tight, the Reds could offer one or more of their surplus stars either in a straight swap deal or a players-plus-cash offer.
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The most obvious solution would be to offer players who could provide a like-for-like replacement for the right-sided wideman.
Xherdan Shaqiri would be one option and would offer plenty of Premier League experience.
The former Stoke winger has recently become Klopp’s go-to option when he needs back-up for Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane – but in Raphinha, the Reds boss would be getting a younger player with more potential for development.
Harry Wilson, currently on loan at Cardiff, is also a right-sided winger – although back in September The Athletic reported that Bielsa didn’t believe the 23-year-old would suit Leeds’ style of play. Liverpool wanted £20m for the Wales international last summer.
Also on loan with the Bluebirds is Sheyi Ojo. The same age as Wilson, the winger has posted five goals and six assists in the Championship this season, compared to three strikes and eight assists for Wilson.
Two other players who could be offered are striker Divock Origi and midfielder Marko Grujic.
Origi scored crucial goals to help Liverpool to their 2019 Champions League triumph but has dropped down the pecking order since then. He could provide experienced competition for Patrick Bamford.
Meanwhile, Grujic has played just one game for Liverpool since arriving at Anfield in 2016. He has had loan spells at Cardiff, Hertha Berlin and his current club Porto, but would appear to have his work cut out to break into Liverpool’s midfield.
The 24-year-old can play as a defensive midfielder, and given Leeds’ rearguard injury problems recently he could offer useful back-up to Kalvin Phillips.
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