Manchester United, despite having Juan Mata, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on their books, continue to struggle for goals.
Thirteenth-placed Bournemouth have scored more than the Reds despite Jose Mourinho’s side creating more chances this term than all but Liverpool and Spurs. Nine home draws in 16, all of which they could and probably should have won, mean they lie well off the pace of the top four.
Liverpool, meanwhile, lead the league in both chances created and goals scored, per Squawka, but struggles to try to break down more compact sides have cost the Merseysiders dear in the hunt for the title.
In fairness, he doesn’t exactly seem like the kind of player the Reds would need actually. The playmaker prefers a free no.10 role, whereas Jurgen Klopp wants his attackers buzzing around and working together. He doesn’t have any defensive tendencies, a large reason Zidane isn’t especially keen.
Both clubs will likely look to reinforce at the sharp end of the pitch in the summer with Wayne Rooney and, possibly, Ibrahimovic set to leave Old Trafford and Phillipe Coutinho attracting interest from Europe’s top clubs.
According to Sky Sports’ Spanish Football expert, Guillem Balague, England’s most successful sides could do battle off the field when the window opens with Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez now a target for both Klopp and Mourinho.
Balague has revealed in a Q&A with Sky that:
“Manchester United and Liverpool want him – but I just think United have the edge if it comes down to those two clubs. Jorge Mendes is his agent.
“But Italy is an option too. The only guaranteed thing at this stage is Real Madrid want him to go and he is considering his options.”
Still just 25, Rodriguez has struggled since his big-money switch to the Estadio Bernabeu following the 2014 World Cup.
The Colombian has endured a frustrating season at Real Madrid under Zinedine Zidane after falling down the pecking order and was hoping to leave the club before being persuaded to stay in the January transfer window.
His record for Bernabeu giants, despite recent frustrations, reads 30 goals and 40 assists in 102 appearances – not too shabby.
It would be an unusual move for United with the Colombian offering little in the way of goals, the area they really struggle in. Antoine Griezmann or Kylian Mbappe surely represent more sensible options for Mourinho and Ed Woodward.
For Liverpool, it would be their first real “galactico” signing (if you don’t count Andy Carroll that is) and would represent a real shift in their transfer signing.