Liverpool have been advised to abandon any move for Southampton striker Shane Long in the January transfer window. Charlie Austin's move to St Mary's from Queens Park Rangers has sparked speculation regarding the Republic of Ireland international but Saints boss Ronald Koeman is unwilling to consider selling any players this month.
The Sun understand that The Reds are plotting an £8m move for the former Reading striker, who has scored seven goals in 11 starts in all competitions this season. With Graziano Pelle, Sadio Mane, Jay Rodriguez and now Austin are all ahead of Long in the pecking order however that will not automatically lead to an immediate departure.
"Will someone be sold? No," Koeman said, according to BBC Sport, after Southampton's 3-0 win over Norwich City. "Nobody is for sale in January. At the end of the season, you don't know, but not now. We like to make the squad stronger, that means Charlie in, nobody out." Time will tell whether the club will stay resolute until the end of the January window, should Liverpool come calling.
However, former Liverpool midfielder Danny Murphy believes a move for Long would be the wrong decision. Jurgen Klopp is currently without Danny Ings and Divock Origi due to injury with Christian Benteke – who has been in and out of the team since his move Aston Villa – the top scorer with just six league goals.
"The problem is going to be trying to entice players to Anfield without the Champions League," Murphy told Talksport. "Obviously Jurgen Klopp will have relationships with some players from the past that he might be able to use. But there's no point bringing in players who aren't better than what you've already got. I certainly wouldn't suggest that Long is a better player than Benteke? I don't think so."
Benteke has started just 12 of Liverpool 22 Premier League games since his £32.5m, according to BBC Sport, move in the last summer transfer window and was on the bench for a second straight Premier League game against Manchester United, as Klopp preferred Roberto Firmino in attack. Murphy feel the Belgian is indicative of the Merseysiders' plight in front of goal..
"If you're going to play him you have to play to his strengths and the way Liverpool play at the moment isn't really suitable to what Benteke is good at but he is still there top goalscorer, which is incredible," he added. "Other players in that side are not producing enough goals; there is not enough goal threat in the Liverpool line-up at the moment.
"The summer is going to be huge; it is going to be about how much money can be put in from the owner with the funding of the new stadium going on at the same time – the revamp of Anfield. Also, can he generate some cash by getting some players out."