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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Ben Husband

Ex-Liverpool duo can't help but agree with "cold" Jude Bellingham transfer statement

Liverpool’s convincing exit at the hands of Real Madrid may prove the deciding factor in the race for Jude Bellingham.

That’s the view of BT Sport pundits Rio Ferdinand, Peter Crouch and Michael Owen, who all think the Reds could miss out on the generational talent. Jurgen Klopp’s side were dumped out of the Champions League on Wednesday night, losing 6-2 on aggregate to the European champions.

The majority of the damage was done in the first leg at Anfield where Los Blancos ran riot to take a three-goal lead back to the Spanish capital. And at the Bernabeu, any faint hopes of a miracle comeback never really materialised with Karim Benzema scoring the only goal in a routine 1-0 victory.

It means Liverpool are now out of the running for any silverware this season, with their only focus between now and May being on getting a place in the top four. A major summer rebuild is on the cards for Klopp, with a retooled midfield at the top of his agenda.

Bellingham is believed to be the Kop boss’ top target, but faces competition from across Europe for the Borussia Dortmund ace. Still just 19, Bellingham promises to be the cream of the crop in his position for another decade and will cost at least £100million.

But in the wake of Liverpool’s defeat to Real, Ferdinand thinks the cold hard truth is that a move to the Spanish giants is significantly more appealing at this moment in time.

“I just think, if he watches that tonight, he's sitting there thinking: ‘If Real Madrid are in for me and Liverpool, there's only one place I can go’ – and they [Liverpool] don't finish in the Champions League as well maybe,” Ferdinand explained.

Rio Ferdinand thinks Jude Bellingham would pick Real Madrid over Liverpool (BT Sport)

“As a player – nothing to do with my allegiances to United or Liverpool – you look at it cold and you go: ‘I see more trophies here [at Madrid]’.”

And ex-Liverpool pair Crouch and Owen couldn’t disagree with either, with the former suggesting his old side are in a period of transition. Crouch said: “I don't disagree with it. If you're Jude Bellingham and you've got a pick of a host of clubs, and Liverpool are in transition at the moment, it might not be the right answer for him.”

Owen poured more cold water on their chances. Questioning whether their owners would have deep enough pockets and stating that if they miss out on the top four altogether, Liverpool’s chances would be hindered further.

“You're hanging your hat on maybe one or two additions to freshen it up,” Owen said. “But the worry is, if Liverpool don't get in the Champions League, then it's not as an exciting proposition.

“They probably won't have the money to go and do it. We all know Liverpool isn't awash with money, so I know there's a kitty there, probably, to go for a Bellingham for £100 million, maybe a little bit more. But if they don't get in the Champions League, that's going to put a little bit more pressure on the purse strings.”

Liverpool currently find themselves in sixth position in the Premier League table, six points behind Tottenham in fourth, albeit with one game in hand. The Reds now have a fortnight’s rest before a trio of games which will define their season.

Following the international break they travel to Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of three days, before taking on league leaders Arsenal at Anfield on April 9.

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