Liverpool: Klopp unable to explain slump in form
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Liverpool are interested in a summer move for Sevilla winger Lucas Ocampos, with Takumi Minamino potentially in line to be used as a bargaining chip, according to reports. The 26-year-old has featured regularly for the Spanish heavyweights this season, playing in all but one of their La Liga outings and claiming four goals and four assists in the process.
Ocampos has struggled to replicate the prolific form he showed last season as of late, with the Argentina international managing 14 goals during the previous campaign.
He also helped Sevilla to yet another Europa League triumph in August, playing 71 minutes in the final as the Andalusian club edged Inter Milan in a thrilling 3-2 victory.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is tracking the wide man with a keen interest, but the club will need to cough up the entirety of his £56million release clause in order to sign him, according to La Razon.
Sevilla are understood to be open to selling in order to help their financial situation, but are not prepared to consider offers that fall below the mark.
The Reds are said to be hesitant to pay the full fee and, as a result, are weighing up the possibility of including out-of-favour winger Minamino with the hope of forcing Sevilla into a compromise.
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The Japanese speedster, who is currently impressing out on loan at Southampton, has caught the eye of Sevilla chief Monchi who has been alerted to the possibility of signing him this summer.
The 26-year-old has played just 27 times for the Merseyside club since joining in January last year, with former employers Red Bull Salzburg pocketing a £7m fee for his services.
An £10m move is reported to be the preferred outcome for the Spanish side, but it remains to be seen whether Liverpool will use Minamino as leverage in an attempt to reduce the fee required to land Ocampos.
The latter began his professional career in his native Argentina with River Plate, before joining Monaco in 2012 where he performed well enough to earn a nomination for the prestigious European Golden Boy award two years later.
He was eventually beaten to the prize by then-Liverpool winger Raheem Sterling.
Ocampos went on to play for Marseille, Genoa and AC Milan before he was snapped up by Sevilla in 2019.
Liverpool are exploring additional options in attack ahead of the summer transfer window, given their lack of goal threat at times this season.
Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have scored just 13 times in the Premier League between them, leaving most of the attacking burden firmly on the shoulders of talisman Mohamed Salah.
Klopp expressed frustration at his side’s recent struggles up top last month, after the Reds were held to a goalless draw at home to Manchester United in a crucial encounter between the division’s top two.
“There is no easy explanation,” he told reporters. “You always miss chances. You have to keep going and try to ignore the talk around it.
“Everyone wants to see goals. You cannot force it. It’s football, these moments happen. You have moments where you can’t explain why you score from all angles.
“Against Crystal Palace [the 7-0 victory in December] everything ended up in the net. It’s a bit annoying in between these moments.”
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