Liverpool transfers: Midfield options for the Reds after Caicedo rejection

Liverpool thought they had a chance of signing Moises Caicedo from Brighton & Hove Albion, but the player himself had his heart set on Chelsea. Reds boss Jurgen Klopp himself confirmed that a fee had been agreed, but that is as far as it went. Therefore, the club had to swiftly move on to other targets to try and boost their midfielder options.

Klopp oversaw Liverpool's first Premier League game of the new season on Sunday when facing Caicedo's soon to be new club Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. The encounter finished in a very entertaining 1-1 draw, but both teams probably would have benefited by having Caicedo on the pitch. The key for Liverpool now is to locate other transfer targets and make a deal happen quickly.

The reason they'd like it done quickly is because Chelsea were largely the better side in that match and the midfield battle was one in which Liverpool lacked balance in at times. A very forward-thinking midfield three was selected by Klopp in the form of Alexis Mac Allister, Cody Gakpo and Dominik Szoboszlai, but a slightly more defensive alternative may have been more ideal.

With Caicedo now no longer an option, Liverpool and Klopp must turn their attentions elsewhere. They are next in action this weekend when AFC Bournemouth are the visitors to Anfield on Saturday afternoon. The club would surely love a new recruit to come into the building before then, giving him as long as possible to settle into new surroundings.

Let's focus on four midfielder targets Liverpool may focus on now Caicedo decided to join Chelsea.

Liverpool midfielder option: Romeo Lavia

At the time of writing, news broke of Liverpool agreeing a fee with Southampton over the signing of Lavia, so this deal could go through relatively quickly. Journalist Jacob Steinberg of The Guardian has indicated that Liverpool would pay £60million for the services of the highly-rated 19-year-old. The next discussion now is to convince the player to join. Lavia had also recently been linked with Chelsea.

Lavia's involvement for Southampton has been limited in the early weeks of the new season with his future up in the air. He therefore may not necessarily be able to go straight into the Liverpool team, and may need to gradually build up his fitness. Nevertheless, Liverpool would be getting a top talent that impressed despite Southampton's relegation. There is still improvement to come, but he ticks all the boxes needed to be a success at Anfield.

Lavia
Romeo Lavia #45 of Southampton gets away from Joelinton #7 of Newcastle United during the Premier League match Newcastle United vs Southampton at St. James's Park, Newcastle, United Kingdom, 30th April 2023 (Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images) in Newcastle, United Kingdom on 4/30/2023. (Photo by Mark Cosgrove/News Images/Sipa USA) – Photo by Icon sport

Liverpool midfielder option: Kalvin Phillips

Earlier this summer, it was revealed by Sky Sports that Kalvin Phillips was a possible target of Liverpool as they looked to replace the then soon to be departed Fabinho and Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia. He is clearly a player that Klopp is a fan of and did have the chance to sign him last year, according to The National News. Therefore, he could look to explore this, although signing from a title rival may make it complicated.

It is known that Phillips is struggling for regular game time at the Etihad, and he is possibly a player that Man City boss Pep Guardiola would not stand in his way, assuming a replacement can be found. Phillips has shown playing for England that he can excel as a holding midfielder on the big stage, and he deserves to be playing more than he is. He would provide the balance Liverpool need in midfield, offering good defensive security against counter attacks.

Phillips
Kalvin Phillips #4 of Manchester City during the Emirates FA Cup Quarter Final match Manchester City vs Burnley at Etihad Stadium, Manchester, United Kingdom, 18th March 2023 (Photo by Conor Molloy/News Images) in Manchester, United Kingdom on 3/18/2023. (Photo by Conor Molloy/News Images/Sipa USA) – Photo by Icon sport

Liverpool midfielder option: Cheick Doucoure

Cheick Doucoure is another name that has done the rounds across various media platforms as a possible Liverpool transfer target. In terms of the qualities he can offer, he would be a good fit to this team, again in terms of being able to provide much-needed balance to the team. He can contribute in both halves of the pitch, making him an all-rounded that Klopp would really benefit from having as an option.

At 23, Doucoure has many years ahead of him, and would fit the DNA for the type of player Klopp can really get the best out of. Liverpool need midfielder options, specifically to replace the loss of Fabinho, who did such a specific job for the team. Doucoure is Premier League proven and would relish the chance to play for a team that will challenge for major honours, domestically and on the European stage.

Doucoure
25th February 2023; Selhurst Park, Selhurst, London, England; Premier League Football, Crystal Palace versus Liverpool; The pass from Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace is blocked by Andrew Robertson of Liverpool – Photo by Icon sport

Liverpool midfielder option: Joao Palhinha

A final option Liverpool may consider is that of Joao Palhinha; the Fulham central midfield player. An injury sustained by the Portugal international in pre-season may present an issue in signing the player, should it get to that point, but there's no doubt he would slot into the team with ease. He is now a permanent fixture in the team for his country, and impressed in his debut season for Fulham.

The Evening Standard stated earlier this summer that Liverpool were monitoring the injury sustained by Palhinha to see if that would potentially prevent a deal from happening. He is very comfortable on the ball and can pick out a pass, turning defence into attack at speed. He reads the game efficiently, meaning he can kick-start counter attacks, which is when Liverpool are arguably at their most threatening.

Palhinha
Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson Becker saves a back heel from Fulhams Joao Palhinha during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday May 3, 2023. – Photo by Icon sport

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