5 Copa America stars Liverpool could target this summer

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Copa America gets underway in the early hours of Friday morning, and Henry Jackson selects five of its participants Liverpool could try and sign before the start of next season.

copa-america-2015

South America’s answer to the European Championships is fast approaching, with the Chile-hosted extravaganza featuring some of the world’s best players in Lionel Messi, Neymar and Sergio Aguero, among others.

The tournament is another good opportunity to look at potential signings for Liverpool this summer (all games are live on Premier Sports) as Brendan Rodgers looks to add to the recent signings of James Milner and Danny Ings.

While some of the South American talents on show are well out of the Reds’ price-range, there are still a number of top players who should be on their radar.

Here are five possible summer arrivals at Anfield; are they realistic?

Miranda (Brazil)

Miranda may not be a player known the world over, but he has been one of the most consistent centre-backs in the whole of Europe over the last or three years. There is every chance he could start alongside Thiago Silva in Chile.

The 30-year-old has been an integral part of Atletico Madrid’s wonderful defence, and although less-heralded than the outstanding Diego Godin, he has been just as key in the Spanish giants’ great success under Diego Simeone.

The Brazilian star is tall, quick and an excellent reader of the game, and while his quality on the ball is not in the ‘world-class’ bracket, he is good enough. He won over half of his duels on 2014/15, and averaged 5.6 clearances per game.

With rumours of Martin Skrtel moving on, which as Karl Matchett writes, could actually be a good thing for Liverpool, Miranda would be a superb replacement.

There are stumbling blocks, of course. The lure of Champions League football elsewhere could certainly appeal, with Chelsea and Man United both linked with him, and his wage demands could also be high for a player of his age.

Miranda turns 31 later this year, but in this day and age that is nothing for a defender if they have avoided serious injury. Liverpool should at least make an attempt to lure him to Merseyside.

Brazil fixtures:

-Peru: June 14th (10:30pm)
-Colombia: June 18th (1am)
-Venezuela: June 21st (10:30pm)

Ever Banega (Argentina)

The career of Ever Banega has been a frustrating one in many ways, with the 26-year-old often flattering to deceive just when it looks as though he is going to kick on to the next level.

The Sevilla star is a superb footballer though, and one who is now looking like he is coming into his prime. Expect him to start alongside former Anfield hero Javier Mascherano for Argentina, ahead of the likes of Fernando Gago, Lucas Biglia and Roberto Pereyra.

Banega is a complete player, capable of playing as both a deep-lying playmaker or a more attack-minded, box-to-box midfielder. He is slick in possession, reads the game well and has a physical edge to him.

His superb performance for Sevilla in this year’s Europa League final triumph against Dnipro deservedly saw the former Boca Juniors man named Man of the Match.

Although central midfield isn’t necessarily an area of the pitch where Liverpool are desperately in need to strengthen, the purchase of Banega would be a clear upgrade on anyone in the current squad.

He is at a good age, and has all the attributes to be a success in the Premier League. That lack of Champions League football could once again be an issue, however.

Argentina fixtures:

-Paraguay: June 13th (10:30pm)
-Uruguay: June 17th (12:30am)
-Jamaica: June 20th (10:30pm)

Roberto Firmino (Brazil)

Quite why Hoffenheim starlet Roberto Firmino is yet to be snapped up by one of Europe’s powerhouses remains an absolute mystery, given his vast talent and huge potential.

The attacking midfielder is one of the Bundesliga’s finest players, and 13 goals and 10 assists, added to the 16 and 11 he got in his first season with Hoffenheim, outlines his pedigree.

Blessed with outstanding natural ability, whether it be silky dribbling, eye-catching creativity or deadly finishing, Firmino is the real deal.

It is being rumoured that Brazil coach Dunga will be starting the 23-year-old as a striker at Copa America, with Liverpool’s star man Philippe Coutinho in behind, in an exciting new-look attack. Imagine that at Anfield.

Brendan Rodgers managed to capture Coutinho back in January 2013, when he was also bizarrely ignored by the top clubs, and who’s to say the same couldn’t happen with Firmino.

He is a player with enormous talent, and one who could potentially transform the Reds ahead of the 2014/15 campaign.

Brazil fixtures:

-Peru: June 14th (10:30pm)
-Colombia: June 18th (1am)
-Venezuela: June 21st (10:30pm)

Carlos Bacca (Colombia)

Carlos Bacca is a classic example of late footballing bloomer. Having enjoyed a solid but unspectacular career, his performances for Sevilla since joining in 2013 have seen his profile sky-rocket.

The 28-year-old Colombia striker has netted 49 times over the last two years, and as Jack Lusby stated last month, he is “a multi-faceted centre-forward, nearing top-level status”.

Bacca was Sevilla’s hero in their aforementioned Europa League final triumph in May, scoring twice, highlighting his ability to perform in the big games.

The Colombian has the street-fighting instincts of former Liverpool great Luis Suarez, and would bring undoubted experience, goals and tenacity to a Reds squad lacking all three right now.

He is certainly attainable, but whether Sevilla would sell one of their best players ahead of a Champions League campaign in 2015/16 is questionable.

Colombia fixtures:

-Venezuela: June 14th (8pm)
-Brazil: June 18th (1am)
-Peru: June 21st (8pm)

Gonzalo Higuain (Argentina)

The most high-profile name on this list may seem like an unlikely purchase for Liverpool, but unlike his Liverpool-linked compatriot Carlos Tevez, it cannot be ruled out.

The 27-year-old has been one of Europe’s premier strikers for several years now, and has a goalscoring record any player would be proud of.

122 goals in 264 games for Real Madrid was a terrific return, and he has bagged 53 in 102 appearances since joining two years ago. Add to that 23 in 47 for his country, and it’s easy to see why he is so highly-rated.

Higuain may not have the all-round game of some, but when it comes to clever movement, strength and world-class finishing, he is one of the best around. [td_ad_box spot_id=“custom_ad_3″]

Napoli’s failure to reach the Champions League, after Higuain ballooned a vital last-day penalty over the bar against Lazio, could work in the Reds’ favour, and there have been rumours of the ex-River Plate star wanting a new challenge.

While signings likes Danny Ings are all well and good, bringing in someone with the reputation and proven class of Higuain is exactly what Liverpool need, in order to ignite their 2015/16 challenge.

Argentina fixtures:

-Paraguay: June 13th (10:30pm)
-Uruguay: June 17th (12:30am)
-Jamaica: June 20th (10:30pm)

(Statistics via WhoScored and Squawka)

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