The three goalkeepers Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp should target
As far as lifting the mood goes, Liverpool's move to bolster their squad so quickly after Saturday's Uefa Champions League final defeat will go some way to assuage the heartache of Kiev.
While no doubt still reeling from the 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid, the midfield reinforcements of Fabinho, signed Monday from Monaco, and Naby Keita, the Guinea international who will join after spending the season at RB Leipzig on July 1, Liverpool are railing with their actions in the transfer market.
But while Keita and Fabinho, a holding midfielder with four Brazil caps, for a combined total approaching £100 million (Dh486m) are welcome additions, addressing a deficiency in Klopp's squad weakened by the departure of Emre Can to Juventus and a long-term injury to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it's not the position most Liverpool fans had hoped would be resolved.
Goalkeeper has been Liverpool's Achilles heel long before Loris Karius' costly errors that gifted Madrid two of their three goals in Kiev. The German was installed as first choice on the basis that he was less error-prone than Simon Mignolet, rather than being superior to the Belgian. And while the club have, eventually, made the right noises of support for their player, Klopp knows he cannot afford to let another transfer window pass without addressing the problem.
Liverpool will rue the fact new signing Fabinho will not be able to lay the ground work for them on another potential Brazilian recruit. Roma goalkeeper Alisson is a long-time target of Klopp's, and it would have been handy to have had Fabinho in the Brazil camp in Russia to sound out the Selecao's No 1 and extol the merits of a move to Anfield. Unfortunately for Klopp, Fabinho has found his path to the national team blocked by the likes of Casemiro and Fernandinho and will not play at next month's World Cup.
Alisson will not come cheap. Roma are acutely aware that Mohamed Salah was sold way under market value last summer, joining the English club for what could go down as the deal of the decade at £36.9m. The Egyptian went on to score a record of 32 Premier League goals in a 44-goal debut campaign and, to rub salt into the wound, helped to eliminate his former employers in the Champions League semi-final, eviscerating the Italians in the 5-2 first leg.
Roma find themselves in a position of strength this time around. Buoyed by the millions of that run to the semi-finals and the guarantee of Champions League football next season will bring, it could take a world-record bid of upwards of £60m to prise the 24-year-old Alisson from Stadio Olimpico.
If Roma refuse to negotiate Klopp could turn his sights to Jan Oblak. The 25-year-old Slovenian kept 22 clean sheets as Atletico Madrid finished runners-up to Barcelona in Spain and has long been regarded as the Primera Liga's top performer, twice winning goalkeeper of the year. Oblak helped the club win this season's Europa League, but after four years in the Spanish capital may well be tempted by a fresh challenge.
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Closer to home Jack Butland is expected to be available for transfer following Stoke City's relegation. The England goalkeeper slammed the club's "farcical" transfer dealings following a 2-1 defeat to Crytal Palace that condemned the club to the Championship and would most likely be a cheaper option than Alisson and Oblak.
All three, as well as being supremely talented and obvious upgrades on Karius and Mignolet, are all young enough and good enough to command a first-team place at Anfield and also offer re-sale value.
Whoever Liverpool target Klopp knows it will most likely cost them significantly more than the £34.7 million that Manchester City paid to Benfica to sign Ederson 12 months ago. They know if they hope to challenge City for the title and match this season's achievements in Europe on a more regular basis, they cannot afford to scrimp.
Updated: May 29, 2018 06:36 PM