Leipzig's Naby Deco Keita ahead of the Champions League soccer match between FC Porto and RB Leipzig in the Estadio do Dragao in Porto, Portugal, 01 November 2017. Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

Liverpool set to approach RB Leipzig to discuss January move for Naby Keita

Following Philippe Coutinho‘s £142 million move to Barcelona, Liverpool have been tipped to make an offer to sign RB Leipzig’s Naby Keita early.

Coutinho is in the final stages of securing his long-awaited switch to the Nou Camp, having paid £11.5 million of his own money towards the British record fee.

Losing a player of the Brazilian’s quality, who scored 12 goals and assisted nine in 20 games in the first half of the season, is a major blow for Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds are now considering moves for a potential replacement for Coutinho, with AS Monaco’s Thomas Lemar the most likely candidate.

According to the Telegraph, however, they are also interested in bringing Keita to Anfield six months earlier than previously agreed.

Liverpool struck a £55 million deal with Leipzig towards the end of the summer transfer window that would see the 22-year-old move to Merseyside on July 1.

But it is claimed that Coutinho’s departure has hastened their need for the box-to-box midfielder, and “they are in a strong financial position to make another tempting offer.”

RB Leipzig are “determined to retain him as they seek to qualify for next year’s Champions League, but Liverpool would be willing to pay more again to get him this month.”

Unfortunately “at this stage that still looks unlikely,” but “Keita would rather join Liverpool this month.”

RB Leipzig's Naby Keita in action during the pre season match at the Emirates Stadium, London. 29th July 2017. Photo: David Klein/Sportimage via PA Images

It can be argued that Keita was always considered Coutinho’s direct replacement, and that may have been why the Reds were so willing to allow him to remain in Germany for a further season.

Fenway Sports Group’s no-sale stance in the summer saw the No. 10 knuckle down and produce a host of top-level performances, and the hope was he would remain at Anfield at least until the summer.

But his desire to join Barcelona saw him force through a departure this month, with Klopp reluctant to stand in his way as he continues to build.

Keita would likely arrive to operate in the midfield role that Coutinho regularly filled in the first half of the campaign, with his dynamism and forward thrust providing further cutting edge.

If Liverpool are successful in convincing Leipzig to part ways with the Guinean, he could both give Klopp’s side a further boost and take advantage of another six months to adjust to life in the Premier League.

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