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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Dan Marsh

Liverpool had Real Madrid duo 'within reach' but failed to complete transfers

Three weeks on from a 5-2 drubbing at Anfield, Liverpool travel to the home of Real Madrid on Wednesday night in the hope of penning another memorable chapter in the club's storied European history.

The Reds have it all to do if they are to progress to the Champions League quarter-finals, but Jurgen Klopp's side have achieved the improbable before against Europe's elite.

Ahead of the big match, Liverpool have been plagued by a number of selection issues with Jordan Henderson and Stefan Bajcetic both ruled out. And somewhat ironically given the Reds' current midfield woes, they are likely to come face to face with two players who could have quite easily been lining up for them, rather than against them, had things worked out differently in the transfer market.

According to AS, both Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos have been close to moving to Merseyside in the past. The report claims that Asensio was even 'in reach' for the Reds, who had identified him in the wake of his impressive performances for Mallorca as a youngster.

The Reds enquired about the midfield maestro before any of their European rivals, but their failure to push through their interest opened the door for Real Madrid, who moved swiftly to strike a deal after Asensio's impressive performances for Spain at the Under-19 European Championships.

Ceballos has also been on Liverpool's radar in the past, although their interest in him was not as concrete as their interest in Asensio. They received 'positive reports' on the playmaker during his spell in the Spanish second-tier with Real Betis before Los Blancos came calling.

Join the debate! Do you think Lukaku should be given another chance by Chelsea ? Let us know here.

Real Madrid duo Marco Asensio and Dani Ceballos were both courted by Liverpool in the past (Flor Tan Jun/Getty)

Liverpool will have to defy all the odds if they are to exact revenge on Real, who beat them in last year's Champions League final. But while Klopp admits Liverpool have just a "one per cent chance" of overturning their three goal deficit, he believes his side are up for the challenge.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference, Klopp said: “What I said after the game on the night was Madrid, with the result, they are through to the next round. But now we are three weeks later and we know there is a game to play. If there is only one per cent chance I would like to give it a try.

“As difficult as it is, that is probably possible. Not likely but possible and for that we are here and then we will see where it will lead us to.

“We respect the competition and the opponent too much to not be looking forward to this game tomorrow. It is a tough task, as we are not in a great situation. If I was on that side of the table these are the questions I’d be asking and I would say the same thing, ‘No chance for Liverpool’. So that means we are alone.”

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