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Liverpool could sign former Man United star for free to solve injury issue

Liverpool have suffered a number of injuries in pre-season while one former transfer target could be about to become available.

Liverpool’s pre-season has been marred by injuries, with the Reds fielding eight teenagers in their final pre-season friendly against Strasbourg on Sunday.

Diogo Jota, Caoimhin Kelleher, and Calvin Ramsay have all missed the Reds’ pre-season preparations due to injuries sustained during the June international break, and both are still out ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League opener at Fulham on Saturday. Following his return to training last month, the Portugal international suffered a recurrence of his hamstring injury, while Jurgen Klopp has confirmed the Irishman will not return until the end of August, and the Scotland Under-21s international has also yet to return to training.

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Meanwhile, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alisson Becker, Kostas Tsimikas, Curtis Jones, and Ibrahima Konate all suffered pre-season injuries, while Naby Keita fell ill last week. Klopp has already confirmed that Alisson will be available to face the Cottagers, but it remains to be seen how many of his other absentees are on the verge of returning.

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At the very least, Oxlade-Chamberlain, like Jota, is a confirmed long-term absentee, with his hamstring injury suffered against Crystal Palace expected to keep him out for two to three months. Klopp will provide an injury update on Ramsay, Jones, Tsimikas, and Konate at his pre-match press conference later this week, but the full quartet will be unavailable at Craven Cottage.

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Given that Liverpool fans wanted to sign a new midfielder this summer to complement the treble signings of Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho, and Ramsay, supporters may be understandably concerned about the Reds’ squad depth heading into the new season in the face of such injuries.

For the majority of the second half of last season, Klopp’s squad avoided such setbacks as they pursued an unprecedented quadruple. However, if their numbers are limited, it will be much more difficult to even attempt something similar in the coming campaign.

However, with Liverpool currently only filling 22 of their potential 25-man Premier League squad, there may be room for more recruitment at Anfield. As a result of the attacking departures and injuries to Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jota, a new offensive recruit may be in order.

Klopp had seven attacking options to choose from as the Reds challenged for a quadruple last season, but that number has been reduced to six this season due to this summer’s transfer activity. Carvalho, who has already caught the eye as a number eight, is just as likely to be played in midfield this year as he is in the German’s front three, with Luis Diaz, Jota, Roberto Firmino, and Nunez ahead of him in the pecking order both on the left and through the middle.

As a result of his versatility, the Portuguese could be viewed as a replacement for the injured Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the 19-year-old also eligible for homegrown status. Meanwhile, while fans may want to see Klopp sign a new midfielder, the club now has nine senior options in the engine room following Carvalho’s arrival.

That may not be the case in a year’s time, with James Milner, who will be 37, Keita and Oxlade-Chamberlain all set to be out of contract, and Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara one year further into the wrong side of 30. However, Liverpool’s current stance is to postpone signing a new midfielder until 2023, with speculation about a possible move for Jude Bellingham growing as a result.

So, with Carvalho only bolstering the Reds’ midfield options for the time being, is Klopp, under the radar, actually in need of a new forward? Jota’s injury limits Liverpool’s options, while Firmino’s future remains uncertain as his contract expires next summer.

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Sure, he still has Mohamed Salah, Nunez, and Diaz alongside the Portuguese and Brazilian, and Elliott and Carvalho provide additional depth. But, given that Klopp had seven senior internationals to choose from last year as the Reds challenged on all four fronts, the departures of Mane, Origi, and Minamino have left him short.

Despite their injury setbacks, Liverpool are unlikely to strengthen further, with club sources claiming their incoming business is done for the summer. However, if that stance changes, a former Reds attacking target could be available on a free transfer.

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Memphis Depay joined Barcelona on a free transfer from Lyon last summer, but the Catalans are looking to offload the Netherlands international midway through his two-year contract due to financial difficulties. After initially demanding €20 million for the forward’s services, the La Liga club is now said to be in talks with his lawyer to cancel his contract and make the 28-year-old a free agent.

Depay was a standout for Barcelona last season, scoring 13 goals in 38 appearances. However, with the Catalans signing Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski, Jules Kounde, Franck Kessie, and Andreas Christensen this summer, and having brought in Ferran Torres and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang mid-season last year, the Catalans will need to offload players, with the Dutchman a likely casualty, having already fallen down the pecking order as a midfielder.

Memphis Depay joined Barcelona on a free transfer from Lyon last summer, but the Catalans are looking to offload the Netherlands international midway through his two-year contract due to financial difficulties. The La Liga club are reportedly in talks with the forward’s lawyer to cancel his contract and make the 28-year-old available for free transfer.

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Depay has been linked with Liverpool on numerous occasions over the years, despite a disappointing 18-month stint at Manchester United following a £25 million move from PSV Eindhoven in 2015. Nonetheless, the Reds held talks with the Dutch giants prior to his move to Old Trafford.

Liverpool made Depay a contract offer, willing to meet PSV’s £25 million asking price, though then-manager Brendan Rodgers was evasive about the club’s interest in April 2015.

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