Liverpool dealt blow by West Ham as Klopp continues midfielder search

In pictures: Liverpool v Newcastle

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Liverpool have been handed a major blow by West Ham in their pursuit of a last-minute midfielder as Lyon will reportedly not sell Houssem Aouar this summer. Jurgen Klopp has been vocal about his desire to bolster his midfield ranks this summer, with injuries in that department mounting.

The Reds are currently without Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Curtis Jones in the centre of the park. And Klopp has been forced to add club captain Jordan Henderson to his list of absentees after the England international sustained a hamstring injury on Wednesday night.

Liverpool beat Newcastle 2-1 on the night, with young prospect Fabio Carvalho scoring a 98th-minute winner to break the hearts of the Toon Army. But Henderson hobbled off of the pitch in the 71st minute, leaving Klopp with just three fit midfielders.

Klopp’s side have been linked with solving their crisis by signing Aouar recently, though L’Equipe have revealed that Lyon are no longer open to selling the midfielder. The Ligue 1 side recently sold Lucas Paqueta to West Ham, meaning they feel that they would be drastically short of star quality in the centre of the park.

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Aouar is out of contract at the end of the season, meaning that he will become a free agent having refused to sign an extension at Lyon. The 24-year-old will be able to sign a pre-agreement with foreign clubs in January, with numerous Premier League sides keen admirers.

Brighton, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Nottingham Forest have all shown interest this summer and are likely to be in the market for him once more. It would also be no surprise for those in the traditional ‘Big Six’ to keep tabs on the playmaker, especially as Arsenal came close to securing his signature previously.

The Gunners came close to signing him for £55million two seasons ago, however, Lyon decided that they did not want to cash in on the France international. And they look set to pay the price for that decision now unless Aouar has a change of heart and decided to commit his future to his boyhood club beyond 2023.

Liverpool will now turn their attention to other targets, with RB Leipzig star Konrad Salzburg and Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo linked. The club have also reportedly reached an agreement with Juventus to sign Arthur Melo on loan, providing Klopp with a short-term resolution to his growing concerns that could prove costly at the end of the season.

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