Liverpool are reportedly battling Arsenal and Manchester United in the race to sign Celtic midfielder Matt O’Riley – a player that has impressed Kenny Dalglish during his early appearances at Parkhead, since joining in Celtic.

O’Riley, 21, had impressed at English club MK Dons – having a hand in 18 goals in 54 appearances. Such form at such a young age saw Celtic pay £1.5million for the ex-Fulham product, continuing said form in Glasgow.

Joining Celtic in January, he scored three goals and laid on three assists in 20 league and cup appearances. This season so far, he has managed four appearances – laying on an assist. He is attracting interest from English clubs.

Reports claim that three of the Premier League’s biggest sides in Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United want him. ESPN state that an offer between £15million and £20million could tempt Celtic into an immediate sale.

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Whether they make a move before the deadline remains to be seen. They may want to see how he gets on in the Champions League. But Dalglish said he is a “proper player” in his Sunday Post column, soon after joining Celtic.

Liverpool in O’Riley race: Has impressed Dalglish

One thing is for sure, Liverpool need midfield reinforcements. They need depth, due to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Thiago and Naby Keita remaining injured. Fabinho only made a substitute outing on Monday.

Is O’Riley up to the Liverpool standard? Not yet, but the potential is certainly there. A player that came through the same academy system as Fabio Carvalho. He is certainly good enough to be a squad player at Anfield.

He is more of a box-to-box player and would inject some much-needed energy into the Liverpool midfield. Creative, a wonderful left foot – but perhaps, there is some way to go to operate successfully at Liverpool level.

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