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Liverpool news: Midfield targets called into question after Barcelona move 'blocked'

The international break can provide Liverpool with an opportunity to take stock after an underwhelming start to the season.

Questions have been asked about the Reds' transfer business past and future after a return of just nine points from six games, with next summer already looking significant. Jurgen Klopp 's side finished just one point shy of the title last term, but already have work to do if they went to close the gap to those above them.

Klopp and his team have made big and correct calls in the past, and it's important for the club to get things right again. That's the focus as we look at the latest news lines coming out of Anfield.

Midfield target doubt

Former Liverpool star Steve McManaman has cast doubt on some of the club's apparent midfield targets, questioning whether they have the necessary quality. The Reds brought in Arthur Melo on loan on transfer deadline day, but have further potential recruits in their sights.

While Jude Bellingham and Fede Valverde are believed to sit towards the top of the list, McManaman is less enthusiastic about some of the other names linked. These include two men with Premier League experience in the form of Douglas Luiz and Youri Tielemans.

"I don’t want to be disparaging towards either of these two players because they’re good Premier League players," McManaman told horseracing.net. "Are they good enough to get in the starting line-up of one of the world’s best teams? I just don’t think so at the moment."

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Man Utd's Mane moment

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal confirmed the club were keen on Sadio Mane before the forward signed for Liverpool. The Senegal international moved to Anfield in the summer of 2016, shortly after Van Gaal was sacked by the Old Trafford club.

Where does Mane rank among Liverpool's best signings? Have your say in the comments section

Sadio Mane, now at Bayern Munich, was once close to joining Man Utd (Getty Images)

"Sadio Mane is a true team player and this is the reason why I really wanted to sign him (at Manchester United)," the manager told NOS. "These are difficult players to play against."

Mane, who has previously admitted to having been "really close" to joining United, scored 120 goals for Liverpool across six seasons, including one in the 2018 Champions League final. The 30-year-old moved to Bayern Munich over the summer, having won every trophy going in a Liverpool shirt.

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Barca defied on Wijnaldum

Former Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman has claimed the club's president got in the way of him signing Gini Wijnaldum from Liverpool in the summer of 2021. The Dutch midfielder, who played under Koeman at international level, ultimately moved to Paris Saint-Germain upon leaving Anfield.

"I tried to sign Wijnaldum for Barca but I failed because the President wanted to annoy me more than bringing in a player,” Koeman said. “That delayed the operation and for that reason, he opted for PSG. Otherwise, he would have played for Barcelona.”

Koeman was sacked by Barcelona a few months later, and has since taken charge of the Netherlands national team once more. Wijnaldum, meanwhile, joined Roma on loan from PSG this year but suffered a serious injury which will keep him from representing his country at the World Cup.

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