With most of the focus on Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah, Naby Keïta, and the potential fallback options should Liverpool miss out on their top defensive, attacking, and midfield targets respectively, the club’s need to bring in a new left back has been rather lost in the shuffle in recent weeks.
Though Ryan Sessegnon’s expected Tottenham move has dragged on longer than expected, Liverpool have shown no signs of returning for the talented Fulham youngster, and there have been few serious links to other potential targets. There have been a few quiet whispers, though.
Including a few in Portugal linking 22-year-old left back Rafa Soares with an Anfield move. The Porto academy product spent last season on loan with Rio Ave, who finished seventh in Portugal, and impressed enough that many believe he will be Porto’s starter next season. It also sounds like he’d welcome Liverpool interest.
“I know I’ve been followed by English clubs, especially after our campaign,” Soares told Omnisport this week. “Liverpool are a great club and to be linked to them is an enormous honour for me. I’ve followed Liverpool from a young age and I shiver any time I hear You’ll Never Walk Alone—it’s unique.”
Soares as a potential Liverpool target isn’t something that has gotten much play outside of Portugal, and though he had a solid season last year at Rio Ave, scoring three goals and five assists in 38 total appearances, he does seem a potential target who would fall awkwardly between established star and promising youngster.
In short, he might be ready for a move to a bigger league, but a move to a mid-table club who can afford to gamble on him taking that next step would be the more expected route—where if it worked out and Liverpool then moved for him in two years, everyone would wonder why they didn’t buy him two years earlier.
Of course why they wouldn’t have would be because, right now, he’s a player who falls somewhere between promising prospect for the future and a lock to start from day one. Because right now, in short, he would be a gamble. An intriguing gamble, but nonetheless a gamble.
“Liverpool are famous and popular in Portugal where people value the history of a club,” Soares added. “I’m naturally flattered, but I'm a Porto player and focused on succeeding here. My main goal is to establish myself and get first-team football. I feel ready and confident that after last season I will get the chance.”