It’s nearly three months away but there are those who are looking ahead to the January transfer window as the 2018-19 Premier League table looks to be taking shape.
Despite their good start, Liverpool continue to be linked with a number of global stars, including a number of players who are out of contract next summer.
With such players free to negotiate with overseas clubs from January onwards, contact is being made with agents about their clients’ availability.
With current sides potentially tempted to cash in on January, the Liverpool Echo have looked at some of the players the Reds could make cut-price moves for in the new year, or bide their time before landing for free next summer.
The homegrown option – Aaron Ramsey
Jurgen Klopp ’s midfield have been criticised for their limited returns in front of goal at times – something you can definitely not accuse the 27-year-old of.
Ramsey has reached double-figures in three of the past five seasons, and would provide an attacking energy that the Reds have missed this year.
As Naby Keita continues to find his feet, Adam Lallana feeling his way back from injury and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ruled out for the campaign, Ramsey could prove to be a welcome addition to the Liverpool midfield should they make a move.
The ‘ruled out’ one – Adrien Rabiot
Despite Liverpool distancing themselves from a move for Rabiot at the start of last month, their continue to be linked with the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder.
The Reds were understood to be baffled by such stories, with Klopp having had no conversations with the France international in private or otherwise to discuss an imminent deal.
Having splashed out almost £100m in the summer to sign Keita and Fabinho, the Liverpool boss was satisfied with his midfield options.
However, with the duo taking their time to settle and Lallana and James Milner the wrong side of 30, the 23-year-old could become an option should Klopp look to the long-term.
The one from a rival – Anthony Martial
Players don’t move between Liverpool and Manchester United with Phil Chisnall the last to switch between the sides back in 1964, while Sir Alex Ferguson famously block the Reds’ attempts to sign Gabriel Heinze in 2007.
But could an expiring contract change that? Anthony Martial has not enjoyed the healthiest of relationships with manager Jose Mourinho and reportedly wanted to leave Old Trafford in the summer after missing out on a place in France’s World Cup squad.
Capable of playing upfront or on either flank, the highly-talented Frenchman would fit in well at Anfield, battling Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane for a starting role.
However, it is worth noting that Manchester United do hold the option of an additional year on his contract while Liverpool would be the last club they would wish to sell to if they decided to cash in on Martial in January.
The forgotten man – Iker Muniain
Rewind six years and Muniain was being touted to make a big-money move with a multitude of major Europe queueing to land his signature after he helped Athletic Bilbao reach the Europa League Final – knocking out Manchester United along the way.
However, he remained with his boyhood club before two anterior cruciate ligament injuries (the most recent suffered last September 2017) saw him fall off the radar somewhat.
Still only 25 and back to full fitness, Muniain has three goals from six appearances so far this season while, as a right-footed left-winger, could provide a low-budget alternative to Mane should Klopp look to add to his attacking options in January.
The familiar face – Ryan Babel
Babel has enjoyed a career renaissance in recent seasons with Besiktas, even earning an international recall in the process.
Now 31, the forward is no longer the player failing to live up to his potential who left Liverpool in January 2011.
Capable of playing outwide or upfront, he would jump at the chance to return to Anfield and would not expect to start every game, again offering a low-budget alternative in attack.
The youngster – Declan Rice
Originally a centre-half, the 19-year-old has been utilised as a holding midfielder by Manuel Pellegrini so far this campaign to great success.
Rice has so far resisted signing a new contract at the London Stadium, prompting speculation about his future, while he has reportedly been made a final ‘take-it-or-leave-it’ offer by the Hammers.
The back-up goalkeeper – Alphonse Areola
With Simon Mignolet vocal about his desire to leave Anfield in search of first team football during the summer, Liverpool will be on the search for a new back-up goalkeeper to Alisson in the forthcoming months.
Paris Saint-Germain’s Alphonse Areola could be an option after losing his place to summer signing Gianluigi Buffon this season.
A France international, the 25-year-old might be unwilling to wait for the Italian to retire to regain his place, and with Buffon having the option of a second year at PSG, could look to move in the forthcoming months.
The left-back – Jordan Lukaku
Liverpool’s squad is arguably the strongest it has ever been in the Premier League this season, but the one position where fans will question the strength-in-depth on offer is at left-back.
Alberto Moreno is out of contract himself in the summer and has been linked with a return to Spain, with former club Sevilla and Barcelona both reportedly interested, so the Reds will have one eye on potential alternatives for Andy Robertson.
At 24-years of age, Belgium international Jordan Lukaku could fit the bill with the pacey full-back known for his attacking attributes at Lazio. Maybe Lucas Leiva could put in a good word should the Reds show any interest in Romelu ’s younger brother.
…and one that won’t happen – Mario Balotelli
Brendan Rodgers ruled out signing the Italian before actually signing him but the Reds have learned their lesson.
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Still having a nightmares. A player totally unsuitable for Klopp’s Liverpool.
No, just no.