Liverpool legend Steve Nicol has warned his former side off signing a French forward after calling into question his desire and commitment.
Liverpool have one of world football’s most fearsome forward lines. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino remain at the top of their game. Diogo Jota’s arrival from Wolves last season then gave Jurgen Klopp a high quality fourth option.
Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino provide adequate depth below that quartet, though that has not stopped the Reds being linked with Barcelona’s Ousmane Dembele.
By July of next year, each of Salah, Mane and Firmino will be the wrong side of 30. While they remain elite level performers, the time will eventually come when Liverpool begin to move in a new direction.
Dembele, 24, has been reported to be on the club’s radar and Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo claimed he was being ‘brainwashed’ into leaving by his agent. The Frenchman is in the final year of his contract at the Camp Nou and would therefore be available for free next summer if he refuses to pen fresh terms.
Dembele has struggled with injury in recent seasons. Nonetheless, his talents are unquestionable and should he leave Barcelona, there will be no shortage of clubs striving to sign him.
However, Reds legend Nicol has urged Liverpool to steer clear, claiming Dembele would be a “bust”. His reasoning stemmed from doubts he holds over the forward’s work ethic – something that Klopp would not tolerate.
“On his day? Which days are we talking about here? I can’t remember a day. This is a bust,” said Nicol (via the Liverpool Echo).
“In my opinion, he has done absolutely nothing since he went to Barcelona.
“So why would you give this guy a contract worth millions when you could give it to somebody else who looks as though they might be better a professional and actually cares.
“Because the impression I get is that he is not a great professional and he doesn’t really seem to look as though he cares.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain sends Klopp gametime message
Meanwhile, Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has insisted that he needs a consistent run of games to bring out his best performances.
Persistent spells on the treatment table have prevented the 28-year-old from ever reaching his full potential at Anfield.
This season, however, Oxlade-Chamberlain has enjoyed a more consistent run of match action. After only playing 184 minutes in five out of the first 10 matches, the Englishman has played in all of the last seven, racking up 320 minutes. Oxlade-Chamberlain has now insisted that such a run of minutes is crucial for his form.
“A player like me who sometimes does risky things like run with the ball and drive with the ball, rhythm helps that,” he told the Daily Mirror.
“Rhythm helps all players, but especially for me the way I play. With game time and more games, it all becomes a bit more natural and I don’t have to think about these things as much. It’s getting better [for me], but obviously at the minute we have got a few injuries in midfield. Hopefully soon we will have everyone back and the competition starts.
“As long as I can be absolutely ready and be able to perform well when needed, I need to make sure I am doing that. Games help and I felt better, but definitely can improve even more for sure.”