Five suggested transfer targets for Liverpool in January

Dries Mertens

Will Liverpool go back into the transfer market in January? You bet they will...

The need isn't quite as desperate as it seemed on September 1, after their bungled deadline day efforts, thanks to the emergence of genuinely talented youngsters that have resultantly been handed a chance.

Nevertheless, you can expect owners FSG to deliver the funds Brendan Rodgers says he needs to improve his squad.

It is unclear how much of a budget Liverpool will be provided with, or indeed how much FSG have, although some fanciful unverified claims of £40 million have been suggested around the web in recent days.

Here is a look at five players the club have been linked with signing in the next transfer window, and unsurprisingly, the list focuses on strikers and wingers.

Fernando Llorente

Spanish star Llorente has had a very public falling out with Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa, which resulted in the striker walking out of training last week. The goalscorer has just one year remaining on his current contract, and a January exit appears inevitable. He would be ideal for Liverpool, a different type of player to Suarez, perhaps a perfect foil. He is also much more mobile than the loaned out Andy Carroll, and would be a bargain at around £15 million. Against, is the fact there will be offers on the table from Champions League clubs. Chelsea and Juventus are likely to make a play for his signature, but if the Reds could sign him it would certainly fix their goalscoring issues.

Dries Mertens

Belgian winger Dries Mertens has been linked with switches to both Liverpool and Tottenham in recent days. The wide man is currently at PSV, where he has scored four goals in eight games this season, and 21 in total last season. He would be available for around £12 million, again excellent value, and it could be all the incentive Brendan Rodgers needs to press the button to move Stewart Downing on. Mertens is also infamous for shoving Gary Cahill into Joe Hart, breaking his jaw and ruling him out of Euro 2012.

Wilfried Zaha

Crystal Palace winger Zaha is another player who the Reds are competing with Spurs to sign. The advantage Liverpool have, is they will be able to offer greater prospects of regular football, compared to Tottenham who have Bale and Lennon established on either wing. As a youngster, Zaha will need that, and he would certainly fit the Brendan Rodgers philosophy of 'young, talented' players. His time spent in the Championship will serve him well, but by January it will be time to take his game to a new level. Is he better than Sterling? Reds fans may question that, but why not have two bright young talents in the wide areas instead of just one?

David Villa

OK so this would be the ultimate signing for Liverpool, and perhaps a dream scenario. Unlikely right? Well perhaps not entirely. Villa is feeling his way back into the Barcelona set up after his broken leg last year, and the side are currently undergoing a change under the stewardship of Tito Vilanova. The manager is his own man with fresh ideas, and moving on the 30-year-old, with Sanchez and Pedro alternate options for Barcelona, along with Messi. Villa was also reported to have had an on-pitch disagreement with Messi last month, displaying signs of tension, and Liverpool should attempt to explore that. It would certainly be a statement signing, and even just a high-profile pursuit of a striker still among the world's best would indicate the direction the Reds are aiming in.

Demba Ba

Demba Ba is an altogether more attainable target for Liverpool, although how much it would cost to acquire the Premier League top scorer is unclear, with his release clause thought to have expired in July. Liverpool were linked with a bid for Ba last month, and his form gives reason to suggest the club will still be interested. Of even more fascination, is the developing row surrounding Newcastle's recent shirt deal with Wonga. Ba's Muslim faith forbids him from associating with, or promoting money lending. If he is looking for a way out of the club, Liverpool should certainly look to provide it.

Are any of these players viable options for the club in January? And who would you like to see brought in?

image: © Dries Mertens

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