Liverpool's 2021: Anfield woes, sensational Salah and an Old Trafford rout
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Liverpool’s season will be plagued with a dilemma once their two attacking stars Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane depart for the African Cup of Nations in two weeks’ time. But the club have been offered a solution by ex-Arsenal player and pundit Paul Merson who has urged them to sign Wolves striker Raul Jimenez.
Mane and Salah both depart for the AFCON which begins on January 9, with the final being held on February 6.
As the talismanic stars of Senegal and Egypt respectively, the duo are likely to advance to the final knockings of the competition, especially with Senegal reaching the final last time out.
But whilst the club have squad depth to last them for the month, Merson believes the signing of Jimenez would serve them well even in the long-term.
“Liverpool need to sign a centre forward like Raul Jimenez in January – and not just as cover for the African Nations Cup either,” Merson told the Daily Star.
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“They need someone to come in while Sadio Mane and Mo Salah are away, yes. But I think they need someone for the future too.
“They need a player who can put pressure on the front three and help them win league titles consistently for the next few years.
“It’s no good coming second for the next five years. Diogo Jota and Roberto Firmino are very good players but I still think they need a proper centre forward and if they brought in Jimenez he would play.”
With Liverpool’s attacking contingent containing the likes of Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi alongside the four aforementioned players, squad depth is not too much of a worry.
But Jimenez would bring a level of Premier League expertise that Minamino and Origi do not with 34 league goals in just 86 games prior to his nasty head injury against Arsenal.
Game time may be an issue for the Mexican, although Merson believes he would gain enough minutes given the amount of competitions that the Reds play in.
“He wouldn’t need to play every week but he would get game time. Liverpool play so many games a season, and he could give them something different,” Merson continued.
“He’s a bigger version of Firmino who scores more goals. He can come short and has that vision. And he has played with Jota enough times at Wolves.
“I think he ticks the boxes. I think it’s a nice signing that. He would come in and not kick up a stink if he isn’t playing every week. That’s what they need.”
Wolves would be reluctant to lose the man they signed for £30million in 2019 after a successful loan spell.
It is almost certain they would require a fee well above the amount they paid.
But with Liverpool having spent just £36m in the summer, there is likely to be money to splash in the January transfer window for Jurgen Klopp if he wishes to spend it.
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