Radja Nainggolan dropped in favour of Kevin Strootman in Roma win

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The Belgium international was an unused substitute in the 1-0 victory over Udinese, while the Dutchman played 90 minutes.

Liverpool are widely expected to be active in the January transfer window in a bid to salvage a stumbling season and with Steven Gerrard set to leave the club in the summer, a new central midfielder of quality will surely be on Brendan Rodgers’ wishlist.

The Merseyside club have been heavily linked with Roma’s Radja Nainggolan of late, who has been in stunning form for the Italian capital city side.

The Belgium international’s combativeness, ability to get from box-to-box and range of passing mean that he would surely be a top-class replacement for Liverpool legend Gerrard.

Such has been Nainggolan’s form over the last six months, Roma have barely missed key midfielder Kevin Strootman as he recovered from injury.

The Netherlands international, who is said to be a favourite of compatriot Louis van Gaal and a major Manchester United transfer target, is now back fit again - and it appears there is only room for one or the other in Roma’s team.

Roma resumed domestic action after the Serie A mid-season break yesterday by travelling to take on Udinese, with Rudi Garcia’s men winning 1-0.

However, in what will be of interest to Premier League suitors, Strootman was selected in the Roma midfield and played the full 90 minutes, while Nainggolan was an unused substitute.

With key man Daniele De Rossi also included in the Roma engine room and Miralem Pjanic in the team to provide creativity, it appears that Nainggolan and Strootman could be competing for one place in Garcia’s bespoke 4-3-3 formation.

As such, Roma’s starting XI for this weekend’s capital city derby against Lazio will be of real interest and could well provide an insight into the potential futures of both Strootman and Nainggolan.

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