Liverpool lining up move for £60m “machine” in January, he’d unshackle Mac Allister - opinion

It's amazing what a successful transfer window can do. One year ago, the 2022 World Cup captivated the footballing world's attention, with players battling under the scorching Qatar sun for glory. For Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, it was a welcome break, a chance to recalibrate and steer his side back on track after a rather abject start to the 2022/23 Premier League campaign.

But fortune did not favour the spluttering Reds and cohesion went out the window, with a malfunctioning engine room spreading instability across the park for the Anfield outfit.

Liverpool finished fifth, which closed a seven-year window within the Champions League, but Klopp got to work and cleared out the deadwood, bringing in the likes of Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch to restore the midfield.

Klopp has a plan and while the aforementioned stars are dynamic and multi-functional, there is space in the squad for a tough-tackling titan such as Fulham's Joao Palhinha.

According to Spanish reports, Liverpool have joined Manchester United in the pursuit of Portugual international Palhinha, who has been immense for Fulham since joining from Sporting Lisbon for £20m in 2022.

Bayern Munich are also expected to return after failing to secure Palhinha's signature on transfer deadline day in August, despite having already wrapped up a medical and agreed a £60m fee.

Now resigned to cashing in on their star man, the Cottagers are understood to be lining up a bid for Fluminense midfielder Andre - also a recent target for Klopp's side - to facilitate Palhinha's departure.

While Andre is a talented prospect, Palhinha, aged 28, would bring the experience and mettle to complete Liverpool's midfield.

Since arriving on the Premier League scene, Palhinha has established himself as one of the finest holding midfielders in the business, instrumental as Marco Silva's side finished in tenth place last term after promotion from the Championship.

Dubbed a "tackling machine" by teammate Harrison Reed, no player completed more tackles than Palhinha last term; in fact, he topped the charts by a landslide.

In a similarly resounding vein of form this term, the 23-cap international has made 72 tackles thus far in 2023/24, with Tottenham Hotspur's Yves Bissouma in second with 47.

Fulham raised several question marks after a slow start to the campaign - perhaps understandable after ferocious talisman Aleksandar Mitrovic completed a £50m transfer to Al-Hilal in the summer, having posted 14 goals from just 23 Premier League starts last year.

But recently the side has clicked into gear, winning successive fixtures 5-0 after an enthralling 4-3 defeat against table-toppers Liverpool at Anfield.


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