LIVERPOOL have reportedly set their sights on THREE Portuguese midfielders if they cannot secure Jude Bellingham.
The Reds have made Bellingham, 19, their No1 transfer target in the summer as they finally look to prize him away from Borussia Dortmund.
But they face huge competition in the market as the likes of Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid are also closely monitoring him.
It means Jurgen Klopp is having to prepare for the eventuality of missing out on the England midfielder.
And, as SunSport exclusively revealed in a related story on Sunday, their back-up shortlist contains a trio from Premier League rivals.
They are Fulham man Joao Palhinha and Wolves duo Matheus Nunes and Ruben Neves.
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Palhinha, 27, has been sensational for the Cottagers since joining from Sporting Lisbon for £17million in the summer.
He is being chased by Man Utd, but Liverpool will be hoping they can leapfrog their bitter rivals to rip him away from his deal in West London – which runs until 2027.
His value is thought to have more than doubled thanks to his impressive performances this season, with his price tag now around £40m.
Then there are two more Premier League midfielders Liverpool have their eye on – and they are both from Wolves.
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Nunes, 24, and Neves, 26, are being linked with moves to Anfield in the summer.
Man Utd have been chasing Neves for a long time but always ended up going for alternative options.
However, as he prepares to enter the final 12 months of his deal at Molineux, now seems the most likely time for him to leave.
By contrast, Nunes only arrived at Wolves at the start of the season.
Much like Palhinha, he has four more years left on his contract and will likely be blocked from leaving unless the offer is too good for the club to turn down.
Liverpool are keen to bolster their midfield after difficult seasons for the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson.
Klopp's men face a fight to finish in the top four, sitting six points adrift of Tottenham with a game in hand.
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