Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard has explained why the Reds can do far wrong by pursuing a midfield star he believes ticks all the boxes for Jurgen Klopp and offers them a solid alternative to Jude Bellingham.
The Merseysiders plan to seriously strengthen their engine room this summer as they prepare for an overhaul. Indeed, after a season of disappointment, Liverpool will finish without any silverware and even a late season rally might not salvage a top-four finish either.
But with several stars due to leave this summer, most notably in midfield, it gives Klopp the perfect opportunity to rebuild his side. First up, James Milner is on the verge of an agreement to join Brighton. And the veteran star will be joined out the door by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita. Arthur Melo, meanwhile, returns to Juventus after an injury-destroyed spell on loan.
Of those candidates Liverpool are looking to sign it seems that Inter Milan star Nicolo Barella is emerging as a top target. Indeed, a top source has confirmed the Reds’ interest in the Italy star amid claims Klopp is preparing a ‘super offer’.
Furthermore, with Inter potentially being forced to cash in, they have placed a €70m (£63m) valuation on his head.
Nonetheless, that would appear money well spent with Barella the driving force behind Inter’s push in the Champions League.
The Nerazzrurri are now just 90 minutes away from reaching the 2023 final in Istanbul after sweeping aside city rivals AC Milan in the semi-final first leg.
Simone Inzaghi’s side were 2-0 up after 11 minutes through goals by Eden Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. And while that is how the game finished, Inter were extremely good value for their win.
Liverpool interest in Nicolo Barella confirmed by Crouch
Should they complete the job in Tuesday’s second leg, Inter will face either Real Madrid or Manchester City in the final.
That could well prove Barella’s final outing in an Inter Milan shirt too, a fitting way to end his spell at the San Siro.
The 26-year-old’s displays this season have certainly impressed Gerrard, with the Liverpool icon endorsing a swoop by the Reds.
Talking up his qualities, he told BT Sport: “He’s creative, he can nick important goals.
“I watched him against England in Naples and he was involved in all parts of the game. He did really well against the England midfield – Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice. He’s at a good age as well, coming into his prime.”
Barella’s evening was ended just after the hour mark in Naples as England recorded a 2-1 win. And while that game made an impression on Gerrard, his former Liverpool teammate Peter Crouch has hailed his European displays.
To that end, Crouch has hailed the 43-times capped Italy star for his displays against Benfica in the UCL quarter-finals. He scored in both legs to set up their place in the last four.
Now Crouch has let slip Klopp’s wish to bring Barella to Anfield.
“He was crucial in the Benfica games,” Crouch stated. “He’s got great feet, tenacious as well and decent in the tackle. The first game he was the difference. There’s many, many admirers, Liverpool being one at the moment.”
If Crouch is correct, Liverpool could well land themselves a midfield gem. As per Gazzetta dello Sport, Inter will be forced to sell this summer. And if Barella does move to Anfield, Klopp may well be landing an ideal addition to his Liverpool midfield.