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Gaitan or Konoplyanka: Comparing Liverpool’s left-wing targets

Liverpool have been linked with both Nicolas Gaitan and Yevhen Konoplyanka recently, but who should they move for this summer?

Back in January it appeared Liverpool were going to pull off a canny piece of late transfer business with the signing of Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka.

But it was a move that never happened, with a fair bit of finger pointing and blame-redirection in the immediate aftermath.

There was a suggestion the move could be revisited this summer, but the latest reports claim the Reds are now paying close attention to another left-sided player in the form of Benfica’s Nicolas Gaitan.

The Argentine has previously been linked with Manchester United, while Tottenham (who are also said to be interested in Konoplyanka) once found themselves tipped to move for the Benfica man.

But the latest reports claim the Reds are keeping a close eye on the 26-year-old, with Talk Sport picking up on claims from Portugal about the apparent interest.

In light of that story, we thought we would take a look at how Gaitan compares to Konoplyanka, and who would be a better option for Brendan Rodgers.

Gaitan may have recently hit the headlines for an outstanding strike against PAOK Saloniki in the Europa League, and a vital strike against Belenenses in the Primeira Liga, but he has actually been suffering somewhat in front of goal for the majority of the season.

He has rediscovered his form in recent weeks, also netting against closest title-challengers Sporting Lisbon in a 2-0 victory, but in all Gaitan has just five goals for the season in all competitions, and just three assists.

That said, he has already matched his goal-tally for last season, although in that campaign he did provide 12 assists so he is someway short of that total.

In comparison, Konoplyanka has 10 goals to date this season, and has set up a further six. And three years Gaitan’s junior, the Ukraine international is already suggesting he could be a considerable threat.

He has already beaten his goal-tally for last season (when he netted just five in all competitions) and he is now at an age when he will be hoping to challenge himself at the next level.

He did not look out of place when Dnipro faced Tottenham in the Europa League recently, but with Gaitan now set to face Spurs in the next round of that competition, Liverpool fans may compare what they have seen of the two players themselves before deciding who to wish for.

Although given his age and his development, Liverpool may be smarter returning for the player they appeared close to signing in January.

image: © Vincent Teeuwen

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