MOVING between Liverpool and Manchester United just doesn’t happen anymore – the last player to cross that particular device was Phil Chisnall way back in 1964.
However, could a hulking Belgian become the first player to swap Manchester for Merseyside in more than 50 years this summer?
According to reports in France, Liverpool are considering a move for Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini, who is out of contract at Old Trafford this summer.
On the face of it a switch seems unlikely.
Fellaini not only plays for the Reds’ bitter rivals but he also represented neighbours Everton for several years. Yet a deal could make complete sense for Jurgen Klopp.
So we asked our friends at Football Whispers to explore the reasons why Liverpool are considering a move for United’s Belgian brute.
Fellaini’s contract is up in June and in a transfer market that has ballooned out of control, a free agent becomes all the more attractive.
Bringing in the 30-year-old, who could replace Emre Can, would fill an important space in Klopp’s squad and not affect his budget for making further additions.
Few players of Fellaini’s quality are available for nothing and, as Juventus have shown in recent years, bringing in players on Bosman moves can can be extremely beneficial.
A reported three-year-deal is on the table for the much-maligned Belgian, who could come in and add much needed depth at zero cost.
One of the few sticking points of Klopp’s reign at Liverpool is that he doesn’t have an alternative when the swashbuckling high-pressure football isn’t working.
Every opposition manager is well aware of the Reds’ approach and attempts to stop it.
Admittedly the majority fail but some are successful in frustrating the German’s side.
If Klopp’s men are to progress next season and push for the Premier League title, they need a different approach when plan A isn’t working.
Fellaini would be exactly that.
A world away from the rapid counter attacks Liverpool have honed, he could come into the side and offer an aerial threat.
His ability to play as a target man would allow Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold to swing in crosses, while the Belgium international would also be a handful from set-pieces.
Fellaini’s won an impressive 79.3 percent of his aerial duels this season, a total of 5.46 per 90 minutes. He is the ultimate plan B.
Across a season, Liverpool’s all-action style is demanding on the players in Klopp’s side. Inevitably some tire and Fellaini could help combat that fatigue.
His versatility over recent seasons has been extremely impressive and, while not a regular for the majority of his time at United, he’s not grumbled and when called upon has done a job.
Capable of playing in defensive midfield or in an attacking midfield position, Fellaini would be valuable for a club looking to compete on all four fronts.
He can take the pressure off the key men in the squad and feature in games the Reds would be expected to win.
As the old saying goes, squads win titles.
Not only does he average 2.73 tackles per game, he has scored three times in the Premier League this season despite being restricted to just three starts.
If there is something Liverpool have lacked at times this season – especially when needing to see a game out – it’s that little bit of snide nous.
Leads have been squandered because of the Reds’ naivety. Instead of shutting down games they’ve attempted to score yet another goal.
While admirable it’s also proved costly at times, such as against Sevilla earlier in the campaign.
Fellaini’s a player who can offer that cunning gamesmanship. He is experienced and knows every trick of the trade.
The Belgian has a knack of sucking opponents in and drawing fouls, while also producing them when opposing sides look set to break.
His intelligence in this regard is underrated and something every top side need – Atletico Madrid have made this a feature of their game over years and it has helped them compete with Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Fellaini has his critics, more than most, but he also has his uses and many fail to acknowledge that.
This crossing of the divide could well add up for Fellaini and Liverpool