Klopp directing traffic as Liverpool pursuit of new Benzema meets Real Madrid

Nice striker Amine Gouiri celebrating after scoring a goal 2021

A striker compared to Karim Benzema is tearing up Ligue 1 this season, though Liverpool have now been joined in their transfer pursuit by Real Madrid.

Liverpool did not sign a direct replacement for Xherdan Shaqiri after the Swiss international left for Lyon this summer. Divock Origi was also tipped to leave. Indeed, Jurgen Klopp recently admitted his surprise over the Belgian remaining at Anfield.

The likes of Origi and Takumi Minamino could have a bigger part to play in the Reds’ forward line than initially expected this season. Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are due to miss around a month of the season when the 2021 AFCON kicks off at the beginning of 2022.

As such, links between Liverpool and an array of exciting forwards have begun to emerge with increased regularity.

The latest forward to be namechecked is Nice’s French sensation, Amine Gouiri. The 21-year-old took a giant leap forward last season when notching 16 goals and eight assists across all competitions.

Proving he wasn’t a flash in the pan, Gouiri has gone one better this season thus far. In seven matches he has registered five goals and two assists.

Klopp was reported earlier in September to be a big fan of the rising hotshot. Indeed, he apparently made a ‘direct request’ to Liverpool’s board regarding sanctioning a purchase.

But according to the latest from Hard Tackle (citing Spanish outlet Fichajes), Real Madrid have entered the mix.

Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City chasing Nice striker Amine Gouiri

Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester City chasing Nice striker Amine Gouiri

Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City are reportedly chasing Nice forward Amine Gouiri, with more news on Liverpool's Federico Chiesa chase and Pep Guardiola wanting Christopher Nkunku.

Gouiri has been likened to Los Blancos legend Benzema, and at 33, his time at the top is nearing its end.

Real have been linked with a blockbuster swoops for Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland. But the article highlight Real are rarely found wanting for options in the final third.

Man City are also namechecked as an interested party. Pep Guardiola’s side failed in their efforts to land Harry Kane this summer. His versatility could also appeal to the Cityzens with Gouiri capable of operating on the left as well as central.

Gouiri’s current deal in Nice has three years remaining. That, combined with his rapid rise will ensure a deal cannot be made on the cheap.

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Liverpool given blunt message by Salah agent

Meanwhile, the agent of Mohamed Salah has agreed that the forward is a Liverpool legend in what was perhaps another reminder to the club of his need for a new contract.

Despite a sparkling Anfield stint, there have always been fears in the background over a move to one of Europe’s elite.

The Egyptian’s contract is due to expire in 2023. While the likes of Fabinho, Alisson Becker and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all penned fresh terms this year, Salah remains the final frontier.

If they cannot tie him down to longer terms, they would be at risk of losing him for a cut-price fee – or nothing at all. After seeing Georginio Wijnaldum walk away for free this year, they would not want to lose another key man in similar fashion in two years’ time.

Thus, talks will be ongoing to extend Salah’s deal. Although, Jurgen Klopp recently admitted there was no news about his contract situation.

A recent tweet from Optus Sport read: “Liverpool FC has existed for 129 years. No Reds player has ever gotten to 100 top-flight goals quicker than Mo Salah. Not Gerrard, not Torres, not Suarez, not Fowler. No one. The Egyptian King is already a bonafide Anfield legend”. Salah’s agent, Ramy Abbas Issa bluntly replied: “Yep”.

READ MORE: Paper Talk: Liverpool out to pip Chelsea to record-breaking Serie A swoop