Speculation is mounting over the future of two players formerly on the Liverpool books. Could either of them make an unlikely return to Anfield?
It's been a strange few days at Liverpool; Luis Suarez has been praised more in the last fortnight than he has during his whole career at the club so far, and now he has been subject of talk linking him with a blockbuster transfer to Manchester City.
On top of it all, two former Liverpool players have been mentioned in connection with transfers to Anfield.
Could it happen? In one case, surely not, and in another, well you never know.
Here's a look at them..
How? We all thought the 33-year-old had played his last games in English football, after departing Chelsea a year ago. He is player-coach at Shanghai Shenhua, but his position there is thought be becoming increasingly fractious. West Ham and QPR have been linked, but a report yesterday claimed Anelka is 'holding out' for a move to Liverpool.
Previous record? Anelka played on loan with Liverpool for six months, when he was brought in by Gerard Houllier. He scored five goals for the club in 22 games, and Houllier chose not to re-sign him, but watching him go onto net 38 goals in two seasons for Manchester City afterwards, it looked like a mistake, and the French manager did not last much longer at the club.
Why? Anelka obviously feels he has unfinished business at Anfield, and misses the Premier League. With the Reds currently experiencing striking difficulties, feels he can help. He has the pedigree and could likely be signed without Liverpool having to pay a transfer fee.
Likelihood? Very slim. The striker situation at Livepool may be dire, but it hasn't reached this stage yet. Anelka's huge wage demands would likely scupper any deal, he is on a reported £250k per week in China, and would have to dramatically slash what he is asking for.
How? Since leaving Liverpool, Ince has developed into one of the most highly rated young players in England. He has impressed with Blackpool this season, with Manchester United also interested, and with Ian Holloway gone, the manager who brought him to the club; Ince may well be minded to take his opportunity and move to the Premier League. It has today been reported by the Mirror that Liverpool want to bring him back.
Previous record? Ince made just a solitary appearance in a Liverpool shirt, and it wasn't a happy memory. He came on as an extra time substitute in their League Cup defeat to Northampton in 2010.
Why? It's becoming clear that letting Ince go was a mistake, and Liverpool can erase that by bringing him back. He can take the pressure off Sterling by competing with him on the wing, spurring each other on. The Mirror claims the Reds are due a 35 per cent sell on clause of any fee, and so could essentially buy him at a discount.
Likelihood? From today's report, Liverpool certainly have a financial advantage when it comes to sealing the deal for Ince; but it all depends whether it is what club and player want. Does Rodgers want to bring him in? And does Ince want to go back to Liverpool and risk it being a backwards step, watching Sterling from the bench. it's 50-50 at best.
Would either of these players be welcome back at Liverpool?
image: © nathan17