Liverpool Transfer News: Reds Make Riyad Mahrez Contact in Latest Rumours

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 6, 2018

WATFORD, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 26:  Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Premier League match between Watford and Leicester City at Vicarage Road on December 26, 2017 in Watford, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Liverpool have reportedly made contact with Leicester City regarding a possible move for Riyad Mahrez.

According to L'Equipe (h/t Metro), the Reds have asked the Foxes about the winger, and that interest could increase with Countinho agreeing to a £142 million Barcelona move on Saturday.

Per the piece, Liverpool are interested in signing Thomas Lemar from AS Monaco too, with both him and Mahrez viewed as potential replacements for Coutinho. The Reds are said to be at the head of the chase for Mahrez, who is also attracting attention from Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona.

The speculation has reportedly been dismissed by the Reds, though, per Carl Markham of the Press Association:

Now that Coutinho has agreed to move to Barcelona on Saturday, the Reds have a void to fill in the attacking third. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are all fine players, but Coutinho brought a brilliant creative spark.

Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona.
Coutinho has been linked with a move to Barcelona.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Mahrez, although different in style, has been doing something similar for Leicester since arriving in English football in 2014. The winger lodged a transfer request in the summer but ended up staying at King Power Stadium.

He's been closer to the extraordinary levels we witnessed from him during Leicester's run to the Premier League title in 2015-16. Mahrez is difficult to contain at his best, as he darts infield from the right flank, links attacks together and makes telling impressions in the final third.

Mahrez is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.
Mahrez is one of the most exciting players in the Premier League.Clive Mason/Getty Images

This season, he's got seven goals and seven assists, showcasing his ability to both create and finish chances. With those figures considered, links to some of the biggest clubs in European football are no surprise.

As we can see here, courtesy of DZ Football, in terms of goals and assists, Mahrez compares favourably to some of the division's best attackers:

While Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp would likely love to have another wide player of such quality in his squad, it's difficult to see exactly where Mahrez would fit into the German's side.

He's at this best on the right, but Salah has been incredibly effective from that position this term. And while Mahrez is versatile, his influence is lessened in any other area of the field.

It also means he wouldn't be a natural replacement for Coutinho if the Brazilian were to leave, as journalist Dharma Bhagalia noted:

Mahrez has shown enough quality and enough consistency in recent years to suggest he's good enough to be playing UEFA Champions League football. And given how much he's brought to Leicester in his time at the club, for the right price the Foxes would surely be open to a sale.

Liverpool don't feel like the right fit for the Algeria international, though. If the Reds are eyeing a player who can provide something similar to Coutinho, there are better options elsewhere.