Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will delve into the Bundesliga this summer following reports he's lined up Bayer Leverkusen's Javier Hernandez. Also, the Reds are alleged to have launched a bid for Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Hernandez has been in prolific form since moving to the BayArena from Manchester United last summer, and Italian outlet Calciomercato claimed Liverpool will bid for the striker at the end of this season (h/t Metro's Will Giles).
The Reds have been struggling for goals this term, with Daniel Sturridge not gaining fitness, Christian Benteke experiencing mixed form since arriving at Anfield and Danny Ings out for the season with a knee injury.
The £32 million signing of Benteke has been questioned after scoring seven goals in his first 24 appearances for the Merseysiders. However, the Guardian's Andy Hunter quoted Klopp this week, and the manager insisted Benteke is a long-term fixture in his plans:
You are too quick in your judgements. If I worked like this I would send players who miss chances to the next club or whatever. Stay cool. Of course he has a future, that is not a question.
What we have to do is think what team fits together for the special game. For the next game it could be different. We have to think about how we create chances. First of all we cannot hope that we get the ball into the box and then maybe Christian will finish it. He is a goalscorer and makes chances and so on, that is all good, but this is how it works – we make a starting line-up and it ends at 11, then we make the bench. He has always the possibility to play.
Hernandez left the Premier League as a fringe figure at Old Trafford, but he's shown his elite credentials with a record of 19 goals in 22 games for Bundesliga giants Bayer Leverkusen.
That pick-up in goal production led Leverkusen sporting director and ex-Germany goal machine Rudi Voller to issue a hands-off warning regarding star forward Hernandez, per German outlet DW Sports:
DW Sports @dw_sports
Sport director Rudi Völler of @bayer04fussball: We're not selling #Chicharito to @Arsenal or anyone else.2016-1-3 13:38:12
Liverpool recently experienced a goal drought that saw them net just four goals in six Premier League outings, ending with a 3-3 thriller against Arsenal in January, but the club's strikers continue to struggle.
Klopp will have taken heart in Hernandez's recent refusal to deny a BayArena exit this summer, when asked if he could leave the Factory Squad, per Metro's Sean Kearns:
We’ll see, you never know what happens. I’m glad and happy to be part of this great club. In this sport, it does not matter whether you sign a contract for ten years or ten times prolong by one year. In six months, everything can again be different.
You look at my last three years in which I have played for Real Madrid, Manchester United and now Leverkusen. It is my goal now to play a very good second half.
Reds chief Klopp is also reported to have already made a £10.8 million bid to sign Barca stopper Ter Stegen, but the Spanish champions are seeking £23 million for his signature, according to Spanish magazine Don Balon (h/t Daily Star's Alex Harris).
The alleged goalkeeper hunt strikes as strange when considering incumbent Liverpool No. 1 Simon Mignolet has just signed a new five-year contract at Anfield, as mentioned in Harris' report.
Ter Stegen has kept 13 clean sheets in 35 appearances for the Blaugrana since moving to the Camp Nou from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2014, with Claudio Bravo, 32, often beating him to starting spot.
Goal's Ben Hayward agreed with Barcelona's decision to utilise Chile international Bravo as the more senior of their two stoppers, but also hailed 23-year-old Ter Stegen as one to watch for the future:
Ben Hayward @bghayward
@Jajendi Ter Stegen is the future, but Bravo is definitely the present. More reliable at the moment.2016-1-6 21:25:15
There is the chance Liverpool boss Klopp could attempt to create fiercer competition among his goalkeepers by signing Ter Stegen as a rival for Mignolet, but their current offer is far below Barca's asking price.
What's more, the Merseysiders may struggle to convince Klopp's compatriot to leave the reigning champions of Europe simply to duel for a similar spot at Premier League outfit Liverpool.