According to Sky Sports senior reporter Melissa Reddy, Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha is one of the players Liverpool are looking at to replace Fabinho this summer.
The Reds are back in pre-season training and travelled to Germany at the weekend to continue their preparations ahead of their return to action next month.
However, it has been confirmed that defensive midfielder Fabinho did not make the trip across Europe with the Liverpool squad, due to a potential move to the Saudi Pro League via Al-Ittihad.
It was reported last week that Liverpool were expecting a £40m offer for their Brazilian mainstay, but after letting go of Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner, it would make sense for Liverpool to identify a like-for-like replacement.
As a result, the rumour mill has been hotter than ever for the Merseyside club with a number of players across Europe being linked with a move to Anfield this summer, upon the likely departure of Fabinho.
One of those players is Palhinha, who was stand-out performer in the Premier League last season, with Reddy revealing on Twitter:
“Lavia and Gravenberch have long been considered by LFC (regardless of current situation), with their reps spoken to. Other players they’ve looked at: Nicolo Barella, Khephren Thuram, Florentino Luis, Joao Palhinha, Teun Koopmeiners…”
“They do love a surprise, stealth signing”
Our thoughts on Liverpool’s interest in Joao Palhinha…
There is no doubt that replacing Fabinho will now be the highest priority for Klopp and his sporting director Jorg Schmadtke, as it could leave a gaping hole if not addressed immediately.
Indeed, Stefan Bajcetic gave glimpses of his potential in the deep-lying role in front of the back four last season, but it would be a lot of pressure on the Spanish teenager to maintain the high expectations set in the role by Fabinho, due to a lack of experience.
The power-brokers at Anfield must set their sights on a replacement who is experienced competing at the highest level across all competitions and can really dominate in the role when coming up against strong attacking opponents.
In turn, there is no doubt that Palhinha is Premier League proven and has shown a clear dominance in the centre of pitch with no other player in the top-flight completing more tackles and interceptions (193) than the Fulham powerhouse, according to WhoScored.
However, the 27-year-old is just one year younger than Fabinho and it is reported that the West London club would accept nothing short of £90m to part ways with their prized asset this summer, which is a steep price tag even for a club like Liverpool.
Following the signing of Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai who are both under the age of 25, it demonstrates that Klopp is keen to build a midfield for the long-term future, as such it wouldn’t make sense to pay over the odds for a player like Palhinha, given his age.
With that being said, it will be interesting to see if Liverpool do make an approach for the Portuguese sensation, however, with so many younger and cheaper prospects available, it seems unlikely that Palhinha will complete a move to Anfield this summer.