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Red Herring Rumours — Douglas Costa Edition

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Liverpool are reportedly linked with Bayern's Brazilian winger, but they're not really.

Club Atletico de Madrid v FC Bayern Muenchen - UEFA Champions League Semi Final: First Leg
See! These hamstrings are way too limber to be Liverpool hamstrings.
Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Hai there! Remember before it all burned down a few hours ago? Liverpool were in good shape, scout reports were optimistically being posted, and despite an excessively bullish demeanour regarding their supposedly imminent transfer dealings, it looked as if though the club's hubris would not go unpunished.

No such luck, of course, as the Reds' bid to bring Virgil van Dijk to Anfield was knocked back by allegations of attempting to 'tap up’ Southampton's defensive leader, and Liverpool immediately and publicly backed out of the deal. The phrase "transfer ban" has even been whispered in the ETW-er corners of the internet, and while it's unclear if the club's decision was made to avoid exactly that, or to punish Southampton for their chosen methods of bargaining, with an eye on coming back for the player at a later stage, for now, it seems van Dijk is no longer in frame.

Mohamed Salah still is, however, but Roma are reportedly proving difficult in negotiations, demanding more than Liverpool are willing to part with. A classic tactic in such a situation is to publicly leak your interest in a similar player to the press, indicating that the player you really want isn't your only option, hopefully convincing the selling club — who may or may not be in danger of falling foul of the FFP rules — to accept your lower bid.

Liverpool are employing that exact strategy in this very moment, and the chosen tool to bring Roma to their money knees is Douglas Costa. The Brazilian winger has been struggling for regular game time under Carlo Ancelotti, and Bayern Munich are willing to sell, with suitors supposedly lining up around the block. Tottenham, Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus are reportedly all interested in the 26-year old, and according to Bild, so now is Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool.

They're not really, though. Sure, the former Shakhtar man can be an absolute world-beater on his day, and possesses attributes that would fit Klopp's attacking tactics perfectly, but his lackluster defensive contribution and significant injury record make any actual interest highly improbable.

Assuming the club, staff and stadium haven't all burned down by tomorrow, Mohamed Salah is still the Reds' number one attacking target. Costa is just there to knock a few million off the price. Sorry, Doug.