Exclusive: Liverpool's post Salah and Mane plans include 21-year-old Brazilian who's "hugely impressed" Jurgen Klopp

The Reds have identified a replacement for Salah and Mane as part of future plans, writes columnist Graeme Bailey.
Exclusive: Liverpool's post Salah and Mane plans include 21-year-old Brazilian who's

So, the arrival of Luis Diaz means Liverpool are done and dusted bolstering their forward ranks for the foreseeable future? Well, that is certainly not what we're hearing.

Diaz, as we know, arrived at Liverpool from Portuguese giants Porto in January in a deal that will initially cost Liverpool just less than £40m.

We also know that their interest remains in Fulham’s brilliant youngster Fabio Carvalho.

As it stands, it is almost inconceivable that the deal for Carvalho will not happen. The fact Fulham are so delighted with getting Neco Williams on loan from Liverpool in January has certainly strengthened the relationship between the two clubs, which at best was on rocky ground following the Harvey Elliott saga.

Indeed, keep an eye on Williams, as I am hearing he could spend next season with Fulham, given how well he has settled into life in West London.

On the forward situation, as I alluded to when talking about a new forward beyond Diaz, I was not talking about Carvalho – but indeed another.

I am told that Liverpool are huge admirers of Ajax superstar Antony. I learned of Liverpool’s interest in the summer of 2021, but it is understood that they were watching him before he joined Ajax from Sao Paulo in 2020.

Liverpool’s scouts clearly recognised Antony was a player that would fit into their system, and from that point of view they have maintained their interest.

They have indeed followed his progress with interest since he arrived in the Eredivisie, and sources tell me they have been hugely impressed with the way he has settled into life in Europe.

Some fans will be wondering in the wake of Diaz, just why Liverpool would still be looking so closely at Antony – and yes, I am sorry to say it is connected to Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

I am going to go into detail on Liverpool’s star pair in a future column, but suffice to say the planning for the future is something that the club are looking at, and as much as some on the Kop and beyond may not want to hear this, there will be life after Mane and Salah, and it will likely be sooner than they think or want.

But that is not to say things will get worse – nobody knows in football – like in life, there are no guarantees but the work behind the scenes can try to minimise the risk and Liverpool have been very good at that in recent years, no doubting that.

Antony is a player who would likely cost more than Diaz but would be in the same ballpark and that is the plan for Liverpool. They will be signing players to make them world-class, as they did with Mane and Salah, rather than paying out on record-breaking deals for maybe more household names.

That process is further backed up by Liverpool not being involved in something like the Erling Haaland sweepstakes – although as many will point out, would he fit that well in the Jurgen Klopp system? Possibly not.

Liverpool has a process and that will involve the eventual replacement of their star duo – but that is normal for any club. You do have to move on, and there just has to be that trust and belief that Klopp and co. will get it right.

And Liverpool have earned that trust in recent years – yes some fans think owners FSG could do more, but the mere fact that players like Diaz have been signed, and that they are looking at someone like Antony, should give the fans some real comfort in the work going on behind the scenes.

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