Liverpool take on Porto next week in their Champions League second leg encounter at the Estádio do Dragão, but the match offers an extra degree of interest.
Porto midfielders, Yacine Brahimi and Héctor Herrera, are both out of contract this summer and could possibly be destined for Anfield next season.
Liverpool have missed the attacking midfield flair of Philippe Coutinho this season and have yet to replace the iconic playmaker. Goals have been hard to come by from midfield as the likes of Milner, Fabinho, Henderson, Keita and Wijnaldum, all possess similar defensive qualities.
This indicates that two attacking midfielders will certainly be on the menu this summer for Jurgen Klopp as he aims to improve his side.
Additionally, Adam Lallana and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have struggled with injuries and could yet continue to do so, meaning attacking midfield talent has been in short abundance. Liverpool’s goals from outside the penalty box has also diminished since Coutinho’s move to Barcelona last year.
The likes of Mahrez, Gündoğan, Sane and De Bruyne have yielded more goals for Man City in midfield compared to that of Liverpool’s. Although, Naby Keita has scored twice in his past two games so Klopp will be buoyed by his continued improvement and contribution to the team. However, on this evidence, the Liverpool owners and strategists will certainly be keen to address this area of the pitch come the summer.
The good news is they needn’t spend a penny! Well on transfer fees that is. Yacine Brahimi and Héctor Herrera can now be signed for absolutely free. Yes, you heard that correctly, free! As of January, six months before their contract expires, Liverpool are now free to negotiate with their agents.
Algerian winger/playmaker, Yacine Brahimi, is a tremendous talent and has interested the likes of Manchester United, Everton and Arsenal in the past few weeks. He works hard for the team, is fast, skilful and has scored some sensational goals for Porto over the years.
Since Coutinho departed, Liverpool haven’t had a specialised wide player in midfield. Often, striker Sadio Mane has been pushed out wide than playing to his true strengths of through the middle up front.
The potential addition of Brahimi would cure this conundrum and add a new dimension to Liverpool’s attacking midfield options. While Man City have such a strong squad and bench to call upon when the need arises, wouldn’t it be incredible if Liverpool too, had wingers of the ilk of Mahrez and Sane. Especially if Liverpool are chasing the game or need to find that vital breakthrough.
Take for example the matches where Liverpool have struggled to break down teams this season, most notably in the draws against Leicester City, West Ham, Man United and Everton. A player of Brahimi’s quality could come off the bench and be the difference. That is a goal threat Liverpool could absolutely do with next season and the Algerian has all the tools needed to succeed if Klopp were to pursuit his services.
Another talented midfielder at the Estádio do Dragão is Héctor Herrera. It has been suggested that Atlético Madrid are very keen on the midfield dynamo, but nothing has been signed yet. This has kept the door open for Liverpool and other potential suitors to talk to the Mexico international’s agent.
Héctor Herrera, is a very different player to that of Yacine Brahimi. Herrera, like his namesake at Manchester United, Ander Herrera, (no relation by the way) loves to hold things together in the middle of the park.
This is the kind of player that Jurgen Klopp loves. An energetic midfielder who can pass and move, tackle and works hard for the team. Héctor Herrera can offer Liverpool that.
Porto missed him badly this week as he missed the first leg due to suspension. However, Herrera is back for the second leg! Good news for Porto, bad news for Liverpool.
Everything Porto do, goes through him. He also has an eye for a goal and played a superb World Cup for Mexico as well. It will be well worth watching Herrera next week at close quarters.
If Liverpool can sign both Brahimi and Herrera, it would represent a massive coup from Jurgen Klopp and the owners. Last summer Liverpool sent out an ambitious message in the transfer market. They could certainly send out a similar statement of intent this summer. The understanding and quality these two midfielders would bring to Anfield is mouth-watering.
Liverpool fans will be keen to see what the talented duo have up their sleeves in next week’s second leg, while also hoping to seal a place in the semi-finals of Europe’s elite competition.