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Liverpool FC Transfer Rumours: Reds Back Off Benteke and Turn Attentions Elsewhere

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Those concerned about the cost of meeting Christian Benteke's release clause will be heartened by rumors that Liverpool have backed off the Aston Villa striker and started to look elsewhere in their search for goals this summer.

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With Daniel Sturridge expected to miss at least the first month of the Premier League season, it's clear that Liverpool need support up top. They've already secured the signing of Danny Ings from Burnley and will welcome Divock Origi to Merseyside after his loan spell at Lille ended, but neither appear to be first-choice in a Liverpool squad that hasn't adequately addressed their need for goals since Sturridge first fell injured last September and Luis Suarez left just under a year ago.

Most of the transfer chatter this summer has linked the club with Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke, whose release clause far outweighs his talent and would demand Liverpool spend most of their summer budget to acquire his services. With other players--ones most believe would be better suited to Brendan Rodgers' purported style of play--available at a lesser few and arguably of higher quality, there has been plenty of attention paid to Liverpool's tracking of Benteke.

So it's with some relief that reports on Saturday evening have the club backing off, with multiple outlets noting that there is a significant disparity in Liverpool's valuation of the player and his £32.5m release clause. They're supposedly looking elsewhere, with strikers targeted in La Liga and Serie A in the form of Sevilla's Carlos Bacca and Juventus' Fernando Llorente.

The latter is a familiar name for Liverpool supporters in the past decade, with links nearly every window during the Rafa Benitez era for a player who lit up La Liga while with Athletic Bilbao. Llorente was one of Europe's hottest prospects for a number of years, but since moving to Italy he's found it more difficult, and after a subpar campaign this season, it's hard to see Liverpool spending any notable sum of cash to bring the 30-year-old in, especially with the expectation that he'd be an instant fit with the personnel and system currently in place.

Bacca had a more successful season in 2014-2015 but would also prove a relatively awkward fit; the Colombian scored 28 goals, seven of which came as part of Sevilla's Europa League winning campaign. He's been connected with a number of clubs over the past month, but at 28 years old and not necessarily known for his workrate and versatility up front, he's another one that would seem an odd fit.

Moving away from Benteke, or at least away from his ridiculous pricetag, is good news, but neither Llorente nor Bacca provides much in the way of inspiration. If Liverpool are looking to provide proper support for Sturridge and provide a platform for success in the short- and long-term future, they'll need to look elsewhere.