Premier League • England

Liverpool panic and put three ruled-out names back on midfield shortlist to avoid disastrous outcome

Kalvin Phillips, Joao Palhinha and Cheick Doucoure

Man City's Kalvin Phillips. Fulham's Joao Palhinha and Crystal Palace's Cheick Doucoure

Liverpool have identified six targets to strengthen the defensive midfield role, according to a report – but half of the list consists of names they moved on from earlier in the summer.

After missing out on Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to Chelsea, Liverpool are scrambling to find a replacement for Fabinho. The defensive midfield role remains vacant in their squad, so they will need another addition alongside Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai.

According to an update from the Daily Mail, Liverpool are thinking of six options before the transfer window closes. Their shortlist specifically includes: Joao Palhinha, Cheick Doucoure, Sofyan Amrabat, Kalvin Phillips, Andre, and Khephren Thuram.

Amrabat, Phillips and Thuram are all players Liverpool looked at earlier in the summer before moving on from. However, they have now revived their interest in the trio, who play for Fiorentina, Manchester City and Nice respectively.

Tuesday’s European transfer gossip confirmed that Thuram is back on the agenda at Anfield

In Amrabat’s case, Liverpool might be playing catch up, since Manchester United have also established themselves as bidders for the Morocco international, who used to play for Erik ten Hag at Utrecht. Perhaps it has prompted a sense of urgency from their rivals to avoid missing out.

Alternatively, Liverpool could raid Manchester City for Phillips, who has Premier League experience but is not high up the pecking order at the Etihad Stadium after a challenging debut season following his move from Leeds United.

Premier League options available for Liverpool

Palhinha and Doucoure are also active in the English top flight at present with Fulham and Crystal Palace respectively. However, Palhinha – who made more tackles than anyone else in the Premier League last season – would cost £60m and Doucoure £70m.

But after agreeing to pay Brighton more than £110m for Caicedo, only for the deal to fall through due to the player’s preferences, Liverpool have made it clear they have funds to spend and might decide either of those deals are actually worth it.

They do have some doubts about Palhinha, though, since he is older than their usual profile of target and is currently injured. Doucoure, in contrast, could be someone they put up the money for.

The 23-year-old has been in English football for a year now and featured regularly for Palace following his arrival from Lens.

Meanwhile, Liverpool are concerned about the challenges of prising Andre away from Fluminense, but are still keeping tabs on the Copa Libertadores quarter-finalist.

Whichever option Liverpool choose, it will be critical for them to replenish their depth after the exits of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, who were regular starters last season, as well as backup options like Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

If funds allow, they may even need to sign two players from their shortlist, but one should be the very minimum.

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