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Liverpool Downplay Reports of January Interest in Mahrez and Lemar

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The club is keeping their cards very close to the chest.

Leicester City v Huddersfield Town - Premier League Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Images

With the various details, of both a financial and personal nature, beginning to emerge around the terms and the circumstances of Philippe Coutinho’s blockbuster move to Barcelona, it’s natural that attention is immediately turning to the question of what Liverpool will do with all that cash.

One the one hand, there is a widely held view that some form of reinforcement is necessary if Liverpool is to avoid having the second half of their season go off the rails, at a point where the grip on a top four place is tenuous. On the other hand, the specters of Alberto Aquilani, Andy Carroll, and Mario Balotelli loom large in the club’s recent transfer history.

There were rumors in the immediate wake of Coutinho’s transfer that Liverpool were turning attention to quick deals for Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez and AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar, with the latter having been linked with Klopp last summer. Those rumors have purportedly been quickly and forcefully dismissed by sources within the club, according to reports that are emerging.

beIn Sports France sparked a flurry of interest when they indicated yesterday that Mahrez was scheduled to have a medical at Liverpool and would join for a sum of around €55 million. Soon after that claim was made, however, sources closer to England and to Liverpool, including the Echo’s James Pearce, suggested that the club were insistent about Mahrez not being in Klopp’s plans.

As for Lemar, in whom Liverpool are almost certainly interested, the question has been more about timing. AS Monaco’s officials have been vocal about no significant deals being in the works during the January window, though there were some indication that stance may have softened in recent days. Today, Sky Sports News have reported that Liverpool will not seek to bring Lemar in during this window, though a summer pursuit still remains a possibility.

Given the fiasco that erupted during Liverpool’s summer dealings with Southampton over Virgil van Dijk, it’s possible that the club are trying to kill any leaks before take on a life of their own. It’s also possible that Liverpool really have no interest in pursuing these two acquisitions at this time, with there being question marks about whether Mahrez would be a suitable fit for Klopp’s side, as well as doubts about Monaco’s willingness to do business in January.

This leaves supporters in the position of facing the not-totally-unlikely scenario of there being no outfield reinforcements being brought in during this window. As the Van Dijk saga showed, Klopp isn’t one to bring in a few names just for the sake of bringing in new names. If that does turn out to be the case, the club will be taking quite a gamble, just as they did in choosing not to pursue alternatives for the central defence last summer.

If the club’s January dealings play out in a similar way, time will tell just how big of a risk they have taken.