Liverpool in talks over first signing of 2023 with £45m transfer to get Jamie Carragher purring

Antonio Silva of Portugal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 match at Education City Stadium, Ar Rayyan Credit: Alamy
Antonio Silva of Portugal during the FIFA World Cup 2022 match at Education City Stadium, Ar Rayyan Credit: Alamy

Liverpool are reportedly ready to make contact with Benfica over a January deal for one of Portuguese football’s brightest talents, as soon as the country’s World Cup interests have come to an end.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is finalising his plans over what is promising to be a busy January window. Liverpool have issues to fix across their side, with five stars entering the final six months of their contracts. Indeed, the quintet are eligible to sign pre-contract agreeements from January 1.

The biggest area of concern for Klopp lies in midfield. Loan signing Arthur Melo has not worked out and he’s now sidelined until February. Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara have also both succumbed to knocks this season. The pair are also on the wrong side of 30. In addition, James Milner turns 37 in under a month’s time; old father time may finally be about to catch up with the veteran star.

Those issues, though, are compounded by the contract situations of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita. The pair are two of those five to fall out of contract, with injuries limiting them to four appearances between them this season.

As such, it’s little wonder to see one observer instructing the Reds to bin them both off on free transfers in January.

To fill the void, Liverpool are seemingly closing on the signing of Jude Bellingham. Per Wednesday’s Euro Paper Talk, Bellingham’s family have now chosen a move to Anfield as the next destination for the teenager.

And while his fee could top £130m, it seems the Reds are willing to pay whatever it takes to land the star.

Liverpool keen to sign Benfica defender Antonio Silva

Any deal for Bellingham though may have to wait until the summer. But with cash seemingly to spend, Liverpool are reportedly ready to make one firm move in the January window.

However, while they do have other midfielders in their sights, reports in the Portuguese media claims their first signing of 2023 is likely to be a defender.

Indeed, the Reds have tentatively been linked in the past with Benfica defender Antonio Silva. The 19-year-old is regarded as one of the most outstanding talents to emerge in Portugal over recent years. And such is his burgeoning reputation, he was included in his country’s 26-man World Cup squad.

He has just one appearance to date  – the final group game 2-1 defeat to South Korea. However, A Bola now claims Liverpool now have ‘concrete interest’ in his signing.

Futhermore, the Portuguese outlet claims Liverpool will hold firm talks with Benfica once his World Cup adventure comes to an end.

Silva is reportedly on the market for £45m, with A Bola suggesting talks will ‘come alive’ once the tournament is over.

Jamie Carragher tipping Liverpool target for the top

And while Silva does not make this list of top 10 valuable teenagers in world football, his credentials have already been talked up by Jamie Carragher.

Speaking after Benfica’s 2-1 win over Juventus in the Champions League last month, Carragher was soon purring over the teenager.

“The first goal is from that young defender I have highlighted a couple of weeks ago. I told you all about him, and there he is, Antonio Silva,” Carragher told CBS Sports.

“I mentioned his defensive prowess. But goalscoring there as well. He is going to be a superstar.”

Liverpool already have good relations with the Portuguese giants having signed Darwin Nunez over the summer. The Reds paid an initial £63m for the Uruguay striker, with that fee topping £85m if he proves a success.

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