Premier League • England

Liverpool linked with TWO Barcelona forwards in case Salah leaves, as one prepares for Anfield visit

Raphinha and Ansu Fati next to the Barcelona badge

Raphinha and Ansu Fati have both been linked with Liverpool

Liverpool are being linked with Barcelona attacker Raphinha and on-loan Brighton forward Ansu Fati as potential replacements for Mohamed Salah by the Spanish press.

Salah was targeted by the Saudi Pro League a few months ago, but Liverpool rejected Al-Ittihad’s attempts to buy him. In the future, though, there could be further approaches for the Egypt international.

Liverpool have coped well without Salah while he has been at the Africa Cup of Nations, but his permanent departure from their squad would open up a vacancy.

Salah, the last man standing from Liverpool’s famous attacking trident with Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, would be a tough act to follow at Anfield, having risen into the club’s top five all-time goalscorers.

Therefore, Liverpool continue to be linked with a range of high-profile attackers in case Salah does leave, despite rumours on the contrary that he could actually sign a contract extension.

The latest suggestions to emerge from the Spanish media are Barcelona-owned duo Raphinha and Fati.

It has been claimed that former Leeds United winger Raphinha could be the subject of an offer from Liverpool if Salah leaves.

As a fellow left-footed right-winger, he would seem to be a like-for-like replacement for Salah.

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Barcelona’s asking price for Raphinha, who remains under contract until 2027, remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, Liverpool will be able to monitor Fati’s development while he continues his loan spell with Brighton.

Fati’s contract with his parent club has the same length as Raphinha’s, but he is spending the season outside LaLiga.

Despite some injury issues, Fati has scored four goals from 18 appearances for Brighton – whose squad also features former Liverpool stars James Milner and Adam Lallana, but was deprived of Alexis Mac Allister precisely by the Reds in the summer – so far.

Next month, Brighton will visit Anfield for an away match against Liverpool in the Premier League, which could give Fati an opportunity to impress.

Indeed, it is claimed that Liverpool would only decide about a move for Fati depending on how he performs for the remaining duration of his stint with Brighton.

The difference between him and Salah (and Raphinha) is that he is a right-footed left-winger and not vice versa.

There have been some questions raised about the opposite side of Liverpool’s attack, where Luis Diaz and Cody Gakpo have been decent but no match for what Mane used to be, but it would be the right flank that would be a more urgent area to reinforce if Salah was to leave.

Liverpool winger links remain hypothetical until Salah leaves

For now, that remains hypothetical. Salah has remained committed to Liverpool so far and is now in his seventh season with the club.

He is now into the final 18 months of the richest contract in Liverpool history, so his future will have to be addressed soon.

Salah has scored 18 goals this season, more than Raphinha and Fati (four each) put together and doubled.

One thing to determine will be how Salah feels about who becomes Liverpool’s next manager after Jurgen Klopp departs in the summer, since he has only ever played under the German tactician for the Reds.

Perhaps only then will his future become clearer, but contingency plans may continue until that point.

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