In light of Danny Ings’ latest injury blow and the potential absence of players like Sadio Mane in the future, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp highlighted the need to have suitable replacements prepared and lined up for any such unforeseen scenarios
Liverpool have looked good in the Premier League and at this stage, even Jurgen Klopp is fancying the chances of his side actually waging a challenge for the title. With that in mind, another long term injury to Danny Ings would have thrown caution to the winds at Melwood for Jurgen Klopp regarding the depth of his squad.
The fact that the Reds will be without Sadio Mane throughout January due to his African Cup of Nations commitment, means their attacking options are further reduced which leaves the manager with little margin for potential injury set-backs to his other forwards.
It’s therefore no surprise that Klopp spoke about a need for Liverpool to dig into the market and recruit suitable replacements for the positions left vacant by the likes of Danny Ings and Sadio Mane, albeit if only for a month.
The Hard Tackle would hence like to profile three attackers that the Reds have been linked with, and could target in the January Transfer window in a bid to strengthen their squad for a title challenge.
Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
The Reds were unsuccessful in their pursuit of the Borussia Dortmund winger during the summer transfer window with the German club rejecting Liverpool’s reported £11 million bid. However, the possibility of having to miss out on the services of Sadio Mane in January will offer Liverpool all the more incentive to acquire Pulisic going into the winter transfer window.
The teenager who only turned 18 a couple of months ago has been a revelation for Thomas Tuchel’s side ever since he made his debut midway through last season. It was, however, under Klopp’s reign at the club that Pulisic made his way to Germany in the first place and who’s to say the boss wouldn’t offer the American a second big break with a move to Anfield.
Having already featured in 9 games this season, the USA international has scored 2 goals and assisted 6 others in a brilliant start to the season. A natural winger, Pulisic is blessed with bags of pace, agility and creativity and having plied his trade at Dortmund, he will be adept with Klopp’s high-pressing tactics as well.
It is these attributes that make him such a convincing buy for a January transfer window. The Liverpool boss has always been a firm advocate of pursuing the right players more than the best players and its a belief that’s strengthened further when doing business in the winter.
Christian Pulisic: Has been directly involved in 5 goals (2 goals, 3 assists) in 6 league appearances for Borussia Dortmund this season #BVB
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) October 22, 2016
Usually players coming in at that stage of the season are expected to gel into the club’s playing style immediately. It’s a tough ask and that’s precisely why the Reds will have to tread carefully and dig deep into the market to find players who will have the work-ethic to fit into Klopp’s intensive pressing game.
That said, Pulisic fits the bill in every aspect and will act as a perfect replacement for Sadio Mane at right-wing and with Klopp having witnessed the youngster’s talent first-hand at Dortmund, the Reds could be enticed to aggressively pursue the American once more in January.
Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club Bilbao)
The Athletic Bilbao star has been on the radar of a number of European clubs in recent years. With that in mind, the club recently slapped a £44 million price tag on the Spaniard amidst interest from Liverpool. The Reds have long been interested in the 22-year-old’s signature, having failed on a couple of attempts in earlier windows to sign him on the cheap.
The Guardian reported that the Reds missed out on signing the Bilbao winger in January 2016 for a price of £12 million, a figure that has now jumped up to a staggering £44 million.
While the lofty price tag may have the Reds distance themselves from the player, there is no questioning the quality that Williams would bring to Klopp’s side.The Ghanaian-origin Spanish winger has played 76 games in all competitions for Bilbao since breaking into the first team in the 2014-15 season and has gone on to score 17 goals and assist 10 others.
His exploits at club level earned him his maiden international cap for Spain during their 3-1 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina in May 2016. Apart from the usual qualities of a winger, Williams’ aerial presence is an aspect of his play that’ll interest Klopp.
The Reds don’t have too many physically marauding players in attack or midfield and could use a body or two like Williams’ to help win possession aerially. With pace, movement and heading ability, the Spaniard could bring in a new dimension to Liverpool’s style of play. That said, whether he will be in the Reds’ books after January, is there to be seen.
Moussa Marega (Vitor Guimaraes FC – On-loan from FC Porto)
The Malian forward is arguably the toast of the Portuguese league at the moment with his goal-scoring exploits helping his side Vitor Guimaraes to a place in the Champions League spots.
In 8 league games, Marega has belted 10 goals and assisted two others in a stellar start to the campaign. The striker is on a season-long loan at Vitor from parent-club FC Porto and the 25-year-old seems to be enjoying every bit of the playing time he is receiving at his ‘foster home’.
His performances haven’t gone unnoticed with the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool expressing their interest in luring the striker to the Premier League. However, it appears the Malian forward will not come cheap, with Porto reportedly placing a £40 million release clause on Marega.
The 6ft 1in striker cuts a burly figure and could be a more than capable replacement for Danny Ings. Moreover the 25-year-old has the ability to play the role of a secondary striker and also play on the wings and be able to cause just as much damage.
While a £40 million purchase on a 25-year-old as a ‘short-term replacement’ for Danny Ings doesn’t entirely make sense, a loan move could do justice to Liverpool’s interest in the player.