Gerrard and Crouch agree with Klopp on ‘top-class’ Liverpool target Barella

Ex-Liverpool duo Steven Gerrard and Peter Crouch shared their admiration for Inter Milan midfielder Nicolo Barella ahead of the Champions League semi-final when the Italian will be a key player of interest to Jurgen Klopp and his Anfield scouts. Reports in Italy suggest Liverpool recently sent scouts to the San Siro to watch the technician in action as Inter ran out 3-1 winners over Lazio.

It’s also claimed Liverpool will be keeping tabs on the player during Wednesday’s 236th Derby della Madonnina as AC Milan and Inter lock horns in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

Gerrard and Crouch were working as pundits for BT Sport for the game and both made it clear they were fans of Barella as their former club continues to carry out their due diligence.

The former Liverpool captain said: “He’s creative, he can nick important goals. I watched him against England live in Naples not so long ago and he was involved in all parts of the game.

“He did really well against the England midfield – your Jude Bellinghams and your Declan Rices.

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“He’s at a good age as well, coming into his prime and it’s a big night for him coming up against one of his team-mates in Sandro Tonali and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top as we know the midfield area is so important.”

Jake Humphrey then asked Crouch whether he was a fan of the Italy international, to which the former England striker responded: “Yeah, he was crucial in the Benfica games. He’s got great feet, tenacious as well and decent in the tackle.

“The first game he was the difference. There’s many, many admirers, Liverpool being one at the moment.”

It seems the pair hold Barella in the same regard as Liverpool boss Klopp, who publicly praised the Nerazzurri maestro when he was missing for Inter’s Champions League clash with the Reds last season.

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Klopp said in February 2022: “He’s a really good player, a really good player and I like him a lot. He has all the things you want from a midfield player: he is aggressive, he is technical, he can run for ages and all these kinds of things. That’s a top-class player.”

Liverpool are looking to add more technical quality and firepower to their engine room this summer when two – possibly three – midfielders will be signed to pad out Klopp’s options in the middle of the park.

The Reds are set to lose four – possibly five – midfielders at the end of the season when James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and loanee Arthur Melo are all on course to depart.

Fabio Carvalho could also leave Anfield after just one season on Merseyside meaning Liverpool are going to have to get to work quickly to improve their squad before the start of the 2023/24 season.

Barella still has three years left to run on his current contract with Inter meaning the Italian giants will adopt a strong negotiating position at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old is now approaching his prime having already won 43 caps for his national side – starring in Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph two years ago.

Inter could demand up to £70million for the former Cagliari starlet at the end of the season when they will be looking to raise substantial cash to improve their squad following a poor domestic season.

He has been an integral figure during Inter’s surprise run to the Champions League semi-finals this season, scoring three times in Europe’s elite club competition for the Nerazzurri.

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