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Liverpool Transfer News: Latest Rumours on Mario Gotze and Michael Keane

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMay 28, 2017

MAINZ, GERMANY - JANUARY 29: Mario Goetze of Dortmund sits on the bench during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Borussia Dortmund at the Opel Arena on January 29, 2017 in Mainz, Germany. (Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)
TF-Images/Getty Images

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp may try to sign Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder Mario Gotze should the Reds lose star playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

A report from Italian source TransferMarketWeb.com (h/t Marc Williams of the Daily Star) says Klopp could see Gotze as Coutinho's ideal replacement. Williams also noted how the Germany international "was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool last summer."

The TMW report pointed out how Gotze is contracted to Dortmund until 2020. However, Klopp's history with the player could count in Liverpool's favour should any deal be negotiated this summer.

Gotze was once Klopp's star pupil during the latter's spell in charge at BVB. The pair won two Bundesliga titles as the former Bayern Munich man became a key member of a fluid and prolific attack.

Klopp knows how to get the best from Gotze.
Klopp knows how to get the best from Gotze.ODD ANDERSEN/Getty Images

Of course, signing Gotze would only become necessary should Brazil international Coutinho move to the Camp Nou. He's regularly been linked with Barca but recently downplayed the speculation to ESPN Brasil (h/t Metro's Tom Olver): "I have a long contract with Liverpool. Speculations are for journalists only."

Even so, Coutinho's national-team boss Tite believes the silky schemer would be a perfect fit at Barcelona, per Joaquim Piera of Sport:

"I don't want to be pretentious and give an opinion on Barça, but who wouldn't want a player like Coutinho? That magic, that capacity to invent and create something, that change of rhythm, the way he builds play..."

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There is little doubt Coutinho would suit Barca, a club reliant on a philosophy of attractive, possession-based football. Yet Klopp is emphasising the same style at Liverpool. In fact, his adherence to high-pressing, rapid transitions and fluid combination play have brought out the best in Coutinho.

The Brazilian scored 13 goals and provided seven assists in the Premier League this term, per WhoScored.com. His performance inspired Liverpool to a top-four finish and qualification for next season's UEFA Champions League.

Klopp needs to keep Coutinho from Barca's clutches.
Klopp needs to keep Coutinho from Barca's clutches.PAUL ELLIS/Getty Images

Gotze offers a similar level of flair and vision, but he's not as consistent as Coutinho.

He's also been recovering from a metabolic disorder, although Germany manager Joachim Low revealed last month the 24-year-old has been making progress, per Bild (h/t ESPN FC's Stephan Uersfeld).

If he was the Brazilian's replacement, Gotze would have to hope reuniting with Klopp would get him back to his best.

          

Liverpool Battling Rivals for Michael Keane

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho wants executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward to move quickly for Burnley centre-back Michael Keane to beat rivals, including Liverpool, to the player's signature.

Keane remains on Liverpool's radar.
Keane remains on Liverpool's radar.JON SUPER/Getty Images

A report from the Daily Mail (h/t the Daily Mirror) noted how Mourinho is anxious for United to wrap up a deal for Keane quickly.

Liverpool retain an interest in the 24-year-old defender, who was once on the books at Old Trafford, per the Mirror: "Liverpool's top defensive target is Southampton's Virgil van Dijk, but Keane is also on the radar should he not want to go back to the club that cast him aside."

Klopp will know how much his squad needs defensive reinforcements after conceding 42 times in the Premier League this season. Specifically, the Merseyside club needs a steady presence alongside Dejan Lovren.

Keane proved highly dependable during a solid season with Burnley in which he helped the Lancashire side finish 16th and avoid relegation. Sky Sports' Monday Night Football pundits Jamie Carragher and Gary Neville responded to the England international's links to Liverpool earlier this month.

Both Carragher and Neville felt Keane is afforded a lot of protection by the Turf Moor side's pragmatic approach, protection he may not get in Klopp's free-flowing tactics.

Keane has been in fine form for Burnley.
Keane has been in fine form for Burnley.Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Liverpool need top quality at the heart of the back four next season. Keane is a player who could yet reach that level, depending on if Klopp believes he's ready to make the step up to Champions League football.

Either way, being in Europe's premier club competition again means Liverpool will still need Coutinho in the ranks.

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