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Benfica the next destination for Liverpool’s winger search

| 04.03.2014

Having missed out on wingers aplenty this season, Liverpool are lining up a bid for what must be their third-choice target when the summer transfer festivities begin.

Missing out on Yevhen Konoplyanka and Mohamed Salah over the course of the January transfer window hasn’t derailed the Premier League’s leading scorers from consolidating their position in the top four.

In fact, Brendan Rodgers’ side are 1/12 shoo-ins to return to the Champions League and, lying in second place just four points shy of Chelsea, aren’t the worst bet in the world to win the league at 11/2.

However, with just Raheem Sterling available as a natural winger, the Northern Irishman knows replenishing his touchline-hugging stocks is a priority for his summer’s work should he make it to the promised land of Champions League football.

Previously failed attempts to recruit in that area haven’t stopped Liverpool identifying quality targets, though, and Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan is the next cab off the rank.

Having started all bar one of his club’s Champions League games this season, as well as playing in the highest possible club competition for the previous three seasons, the Argentine will feel right at home with Liverpool’s endeavours in the competition.

The 26-year-old leads the way for Benfica in terms of creativity in Europe, making 3.2 key passes per match in his five Champions League appearances this season. It’s a tally that, while from a small sample size, puts him at the top of Liverpool’s list for the same statistic.

While the £16m man couldn’t inspire his side into the knockout section of the tournament, Gaitan’s upcoming Europa League tussle with Tottenham will be a good chance for the Reds to learn how effective he’ll be when pitted against a close domestic rival.

Gaitan and Benfica are 14/1 to win the Europa League this term.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.