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Liverpool have suffered a blow in signing a striker in the January transfer window after Southampton rejected the Reds' approach in signing Shane Long. The Saints striker was a target for Jurgen Klopp as he looks to improve his side's strike force for the second half of the 2015/16 season.
Ronald Koeman managed to secure the services of Charlie Austin, who arrived at St Mary's Stadium from Queens Park Rangers after signing a four-and-a-half-year deal on January 16. The Merseyside club made an approach for Long — valued to be around £8m ($11.4m) — with a hope that his club could sanction his sale following Austin's arrival.
According to the Mirror, Southampton have made it clear to Liverpool they are unwilling to allow Long leave in the ongoing transfer window. The Anfield club have signed several of their players from the south coast club in the past and were looking to land the Republic of Ireland international to ease their injury worries up front.
Daniel Sturridge has struggled with multiple injuries and has hardly featured in the last 18 months. In addition to this, Divock Origi underwent a knee surgery and he will be out of action for a month, while Danny Ings is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines and is expected to be out of the season.
Christian Benteke is the only first choice striker in the squad and the Belgium international has struggled to adapt to Klopp's style at Anfield. The former Borussia Dortmund coach fielded Roberto Firmino as the main striker during Liverpool's fixtures against Arsenal and Manchester United.
The German boss has already hinted that he could be forced to enter the transfer market to make a striker signing. Klopp said: "It's not easy. We are two weeks without a player so you think 'okay, we'll take another one', but then in two weeks we have one too much or two too much.
"They all come back. Buying players is not too easy. We don't have too many striking options that is true."
Klopp had identified Long as a player who could cover the injuries to the first choice strikers at Liverpool. However, Southampton are not willing to let their striker leave in the January window.
"Players coming in and out of here in the last two weeks of the transfer window is not in the plan. I would never say never on either direction because it's the nature of the sport; you don't know what opportunities present themselves," the Mirror quoted Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger as saying.
"At the moment we are pleased with the depth and Ronald has shown we have different line-ups. Ideally would be to keep all those names in the line-up."