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Groundhog Day in Liverpool as Reds hunt Sterling replacement

| 08.04.2015

With Raheem Sterling looking ever more likely to leave Liverpool this summer, the return of a familiar Anfield link graces the rumour mill in the form of Barcelona forward Pedro, who has clearly become the Camp Nou’s odd man out since the start of January.

The speedy 27-year-old made Los Blaugrana coach Luis Enrique’s XI in 15 of the former midfielder’s first 25 games in charge of the Catalan giants, but has only started four of his side’s 20 all-competition fixtures since La Liga’s winter break ended three months ago.

Barca’s £75m ex-Red Luis Suarez has been keeping Pedro on the sidelines, with the Uruguayan proving undroppable after a so-so start to life in Spain; he has struck 11 goals in 19 appearances so far in 2015, including nine in his last 12 games.

There has been plenty of talk regarding a mooted Anfield switch for Pedro over the past couple of seasons, so Kopites won’t be rushing out to get the Tenerife native’s inexpensive name on the back of their jerseys just yet, but current circumstances should at least force him to consider leaving Barca.

It seems highly unlikely he’ll make at least 20 La Liga starts for the leaders and 3/10 title favourites this term, having done so in each of the previous five seasons since breaking through from Barcelona B.

He’s hardly hanging around waiting for others to retire either; Suarez is a mere six months older than Pedro, with Lionel Messi 33 days his senior and Neymar a pup by comparison at 23.

With that trio in his way, the 50-cap La Seleccion stalwart may decide now is the time to move, although Liverpool’s likely lack of Champions League football means boss Brendan Rodgers will have a tough time coaxing him to Merseyside.

Money talks though, and if the Reds can bring in even two-thirds of the cash Suarez’s sale raised through flogging Sterling, they’ll be big players in the summer once more.

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Alex Fortune