With a busy week of international football set to get underway on Wednesday, we select 10 Liverpool targets who you should keep an eye on.
We would be lying if we said the domestic hiatus is something to treasure, but there are positives to take out of this current international break for Reds supporters.
Manager Jurgen Klopp is set to embark on a potentially thrilling summer of transfer business, as he tries to perfect his Liverpool squad ahead of next season.
Unsurprisingly, the Reds are being linked with top class players left, right and centre, and the upcoming week of international games provides a good chance to see what all the fuss is about.
Here are 10 Liverpool targets who will be representing their countries in the coming days.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen
Marc-Andre ter Stegen has been continually linked with a move to Liverpool since Klopp’s arrival, and there does appear to be genuine substance in the rumours.
Although the 23-year-old is understandably a back-up for the incomparable Manuel Neuer for Germany, he may well be given some playing time in the next seven days.
The world champions face home games against England and Italy, on Saturday and Tuesday, respectively, and with Neuer the undisputed first-choice, Ter Stegen may want to be looked at by coach Joachim Low.
Joining Ter Stegen as deputy to Neuer is Bernd Leno, who has also been tipped to be a long-term replacement for Mignolet in recent months.
The 24-year-old Bayer Leverkusen stopper is similar to Ter Stegen in that he is young and exciting, and would be a clear upgrade on the Reds’ current number one.
He may also be given a chance to shine by Low, in what would be his debut at senior level. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_1″]
Left-back is certainly an area of the pitch where Klopp may look to strengthen this summer – Alberto Moreno needs competition, if not replacing – and Jonas Hector is one linked with coming in.
The 25-year-old FC Koln man is an impressive all-round full-back, not dissimilar to Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, and he would be a fine acquisition.
Hector is making the left-back spot his own for Germany, which says all you need to know about his quality, and he will surely feature prominently against England and Italy.
He may even come up against former Liverpool forward Raheem Sterling, or even James Milner, which will be a good gauge of his ability.
Another defender who has been rumoured to be of interest to Liverpool is Fenerbahce’s experienced left-back Caner Erkin.
The 27-year-old has won 42 caps for Turkey since his debut in 2006, and is a proven international and Champions League player.
Physically strong, and more defence-minded than Moreno, Reds fans will get their chance to see Erkin for Turkey this week.
He comes up against Sweden and Austria on Thursday and Tuesday. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_2″]
The player most recently linked with a move to Merseyside this summer is Germany U21 international Niklas Sule.
He is seen as one of the most exciting centre-backs in the country, and acquiring his signature would add guaranteed competition at the heart of Liverpool’s defence.
Although not yet a regular at senior level yet, Sule will still be on international duty with the U21s. They take on Faroe Islands on Thursday, then Russia next Tuesday.
Reinforcements in midfield are something Klopp must address in the coming months, and Granit Xhaka is someone who fits the bill perfectly.
The Borussia Monchengladbach enforcer combines strength, intelligence, creativity and energy to great effect, and he would solve an issue that has hampered Liverpool even since Javier Mascherano’s exit in 2010.
Xhaka is arguably the first name on Switzerland’s team-sheet these days, and he comes up against Republic of Ireland and Bosnia during the international break.
It will provide Reds supporters with a good opportunity to see firsthand what the 23-year-old can bring to the table, should Klopp get his man.
One of the less high-profile reported transfer targets for Liverpool has been Piotr Zielinski; an energetic midfielder.
The on-loan Empoli man has impressed greatly this season with his technical class and work-rate, and he is maturing into one of Poland’s key men.
The 21-year-old will no doubt feature against Serbia and Finland, on Wednesday and Saturday, and supporters will be able to form their own opinion of him. [td_ad_box spot_id=”custom_ad_3″]
Mario Gotze was someone who had a superb relationship with Klopp at Dortmund.
The silky forward has fallen completely out of favour at Bayern Munich, and there are strong rumours that he could be willing to link-up with his former boss again come the end of the season.
Gotze will be absolutely desperate to get some playing time under his belt during the international break, and he will surely be given his chance at some point against England and Italy.
There appears to be a real chance that a move could materialise, which is very exciting.
Yet another gifted young German player, Leroy Sane is one of Europe’s most exciting footballers.
Capable of thriving either out wide or in a No.10 role, Sane’s quick feet, pace and unpredictability are something only Jordon Ibe brings to the team currently, and with far less quality.
Such is Germany’s incredible strength in depth in forward areas, the 20-year-old has to settle for a place in the U21s for now.
He will be a key man in their European Championship qualifier against Croatia on Thursday evening.
With Daniel Sturridge‘s injury problems always an issue, and Christian Benteke almost certain to leave, reinforcements in attack are paramount for Liverpool this summer.
Former Man United poacher Javier Hernandez has been linked with the Reds, and he would be an ideal addition if he decided it wasn’t an issue joining their most bitter rivals.
If you’re someone who likes a late finish/very early start to your day, Mexico will be playing in the early hours of Saturday and Wednesday.
They face Canada home and away in those matches, and ‘Chicharito’ will be a key figure as always. He has scored 23 goals in just 31 appearances for Bayer Leverkusen so far this season.
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