Brendan Rodgers moved to play down talk linking Liverpool with a January move for Barcelona's Cristian Tello, per The Independent's Phil Medlicott, but the player's long-running link to the Reds continues to gather traction.
Tello is out of favour at the Camp Nou, having started just twice in La Liga under new manager Tata Martino this season, and looks set to move on from the Catalan club in the coming months.
Liverpool transfer news and rumours: Mohamed Salah and Cristian Tello close to Anfield switch? http://t.co/QNDtdg3toA— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) December 31, 2013
Liverpool getting Tello on loan is very close to happening: Just had a confirmation from internal source from Barcelona— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) December 30, 2013
Given the supposed long-standing interest of Rodgers, then, it is not surprising that the Reds should have been linked with a move for his services given the player's current situation.
Tello is a different player compared to anybody currently on the Reds' books, with Victor Moses perhaps the most alike in playing style, but is a type of player with whom Brendan Rodgers has plentiful past experience.
Indeed, the regular suggestions made over recent days that Liverpool are looking to capture Egypt international Mohamed Salah, per the Mirror's David Anderson, would indicate that a wide forward is very much in the Reds manager's thinking.
What Tello, or indeed Salah, would offer is pace and directness from wide areas—in contrast to the more measured and languid Philippe Coutinho.
It would be a balance to the side that has not always been present this season, with injury to Iago Aspas denying the Spaniard the chance to make a claim for the role.
Well, we did speculate on whether staying at Barca was a good option for Tello, Liverpool will get a fine player if that one comes off.— IBWM (@Inbedwimaradona) December 30, 2013
Looking back at Rodgers' time at both Swansea and Reading, pace and direct running from wide areas has been a common theme. For Reading, read Jobi McAnuff and Jimmy Kebe, while at Swansea it was Wayne Routledge and Nathan Dyer, at least at the end of his spell at the club, who operated in the position.
Tello is not a maverick in the same way Salah can be, but he is a technically gifted forward with searing pace over short distances. Rodgers proved adept at improving the decision-making of his previous charges at Swansea in particular, and that remains the aspect of Tello's game most in need of guidance.
Liverpool are an excellent side, with multiple ways to break down an opposition side, but they do lack depth compared to many of their rivals—as became clear over the Christmas period.
Given that Luis Suarez, as the side's main threat, is a unique talent, it is pointless to try to find a replacement option for the Uruguayan. What is important is to bring in players who can help the side to break down opponents were he to lose form or be unavailable for any reason.
Tello has plenty of speed and skill and would be a good addition for Brendan Rodgers' side.— Pedro Pinto (@pedropintotv) December 30, 2013
Tello, by Barcelona standards, is an unremarkable player, but that is not to say he cannot be useful for Martino's side or any other in European football.
Liverpool are looking to secure a place in next season's Champions League and will almost certainly strengthen in January in order to achieve that aim.
Signing Tello, while it wouldn't guarantee success, would make Liverpool a stronger unit and, in conjunction with the creative players already in the Reds squad, he could be a major threat from his wide position in the Premier League.