Liverpool are likely to need reinforcements in attack in the January transfer window, with a number of realistic targets to consider ahead of two key departures.
Whether Liverpool will dip into the transfer market mid-season remains to be seen, but it seems a sensible avenue for the club’s recruitment staff to explore.
So who could the Reds realistically sign in January?
Here are 10 options, avoiding those who will be at the AFCON (here’s looking at you, Ismaila Sarr) and those who should be priced out of a winter exit (sorry, Raphinha).
New York-born, Canada international, there is a long-standing interest in David among Liverpool analysts, having been on a three-man shortlist to bolster the attack in 2020.
Prior to the £45 million deal to sign Jota, the Reds weighed up the pros and cons of him, David and Sarr, and with another addition to the attacking line needed, it stands to reason their interest could be revisited.
Instead of Liverpool, David joined Lille from Gent, and after a strong maiden campaign in Ligue 1, winning the title, the 21-year-old is in fierce form this time around.
So far this season, he has scored 10 goals in 14 league games, making him top scorer in the French top flight, typically taking up duties as one of two strikers in a 4-4-2 system.
Whether he could perform as a lone striker for Liverpool is unclear, though there are certainly elements of his game that would suggest he could become a long-term successor in Firmino’s unique role.
There is an acceptance that this is likely to be David’s last season at Lille, and it is possible their hand could be forced with a sizeable offer in January.
Position: Right, left winger
Just like David, there is known interest in Doku within the halls of Kirkby, with at least two moves to bring the young Belgian to Anfield already falling flat in 2018 and 2020.
Three years ago, Liverpool even invited the player and his family to the training ground at Melwood, but despite meeting the likes of Mane and Steven Gerrard, he instead preferred an “intermediate step” first.
That took him to Rennes in 2020, and while he is yet to produce above-average numbers in terms of goals and assists in Ligue 1, there are signs the teenager is ready to step up.
A whirlwind of unpredictability on the right wing, Doku is also honing his craft on the left, and that is where he caught the eye for Belgium at the Euros.
Doku has a strong head on his shoulders, and his next move will be carefully measured – with his father recently telling Het Laatste Nieuws that while he isn’t looking to move just yet, “it depends on which team is interested.”
The opportunity to fill in for Mane and Salah at Liverpool would be an exciting one for Doku, while upon their return he could continue to develop in a regular squad role – though it would be a big step up.
Position: Left, right winger
Cantwell will almost certainly be the least popular option on this list, but there is sense in a possible approach for the versatile Norwich winger.
Firstly, he is capable of playing in a variety of roles, including on either wing, as a No. 10 and even deeper in the midfield, and he has already gained considerable Premier League experience.
Liverpool were credited with an interest in Cantwell back in 2020, when they were even described as “front-runners” for a deal, which suggests Klopp is a strong admirer.
The prospect of Klopp moulding him as a useful option either in attack or even in midfield is an attractive one, with the club no doubt aware that the 23-year-old will soon enter the final six months of his contract.
That makes Cantwell an attainable, low-cost target, and though there is a leap between Norwich and Liverpool, there remains real scope for development in his profile.
Position: Right winger
Casting the eye back abroad, and Ajax winger Antony is one of the most appealing attacking options outside of Europe’s top five leagues.
Having made the move from his native Brazil in 2020, swapping Sao Paulo for Ajax, his pace, skill and willingness to run at defenders has made him a devastating outlet on the right flank.
His best performances this season have come in the Champions League, with two assists in the 5-1 mauling of Sporting CP, a goal in the 4-0 home win over Dortmund and a hat-trick of assists in the reverse 3-1 victory over Klopp’s former club.
But he has also been a top performer for Ajax in the Eredivisie and as he makes his first forays into the Brazil national team, where he stands alongside Raphinha as a key cog in the next generation.
Ajax is, more often than not, a stepping stone to the leading lights in Europe, and while Liverpool may typically prefer players to prove themselves at a higher level before making their move, it would be sensible to get ahead of the curve this time.
Antony may not be a like-for-like replacement for Salah, but with there a need to rejuvenate the Reds’ forward ranks with an injection of youth, he could be a fantastic alternative.
Position: Striker, left winger, right winger
While outwardly, Salzburg will insist their intention is to keep hold of their latest attacking sensation until the summer, there are strong signs that the right bid would convince them to sell mid-season.
In Adeyemi, the Austrian club hold the next jewel in German football, with the teenager stepping into the breach after high-profile moves for Erling Haaland and Patson Daka to a phenomenal standard so far.
This season, he has already scored 15 times in 23 appearances, along with two assists, including three goals and an assist in four outings in the Champions League.
He is already being primed for a long-term berth with Germany, scoring from the bench on his senior debut against Armenia, with Hansi Flick trialling the youngster in different roles across the forward line.
While it could be argued that a reduced role at a club like Liverpool could restrict Adeyemi’s development, the intensity of their interest – according to reports in Germany – suggests a pathway would be made for him at Anfield.
If there is a belief that Adeyemi could step up for the Reds, a big bid in January could see them move ahead of the likes of Dortmund and Bayern Munich in their pursuit.
Who else could be on the radar?
Beyond those five forwards highlighted, there are a number of other options Liverpool could consider heading into the January market.
Sources in Portugal have linked the Reds with Porto winger Luis Diaz (24), and with 11 goals and two assists in 17 games already this term, he could be an attractive target for the left flank.
If the desire is to bring in a striker, rather than a wide player, Nice’s breakthrough centre-forward Amine Gouiri (21) or Fiorentina’s Dusan Vlahovic (21) would give Firmino competition as No. 9.
Christopher Nkunku (24), the multitalented Frenchman making his mark at RB Leipzig, could be a perfect addition if a deal could be brokered, and while a deal may be off-limits, Jarrod Bowen (24) is vindicating Klopp’s praise with West Ham this campaign.
There is, of course, a big distinction between ‘realistic’ and ‘likely’, with Liverpool’s recent track record suggesting it could be another quiet January despite the obvious issues.
But supporters can still dream, right?