By North-west correspondent Alex Stevens
Jurgen Klopp has instructed Liverpool to scour the world for centre-forward targets ahead of the summer transfer window, Football Insider sources understand.
The Merseysiders do not have the budget to buy an established star in the £50million-plus bracket but they are set to investigate the next tier of front men.
Liverpool’s roster of forwards have disappointed for the second consecutive season despite considerable investment in the attack since the summer 2014 exit of Luis Suarez.
A Liverpool source has told Football Insider that the club’s network of scouts will target front men who can slot straight into the first team but who have the potential to improve.
This raises doubts about the future of Christian Benteke, even though a departure for the £32.5million signing will not happen in the January window.
Benteke is the only one of Liverpool’s four senior strikers who is currently fit, with Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi out with hamstring injuries, and Danny Ings sidelined for the rest of the season with a torn cruciate ligament.
Sturridge is the number one Anfield forward but his disastrous injury record means he cannot be relied upon, while Origi and Ings are still at the early stages of their careers.
Benteke has been in and of the team since Klopp took over as manager in mid-October and, although his goal record of seven strikes in 21 matches, 14 of which he has started, is reasonable, there are concerns among the coaching staff about whether he has the mobility to suit the team’s playing style.
The Belgium international has been dropped for some of Liverpool’s most convincing displays this season, the away wins at Chelsea, Manchester City, Southampton and Stoke on Tuesday night. In three of those four matches, Klopp started without a recognised striker, while Sturridge and Origi were in tandem as the Merseysiders annihilated Southampton 6-1 in the League Cup.
Klopp wants a technically adept front man who can press from the front, hold up the ball and has the pace to get beyond the last defender as well as score prolifically.