Three players Liverpool should scout at AFC Asian Cup

With the January transfer window now open, clubs across Europe, including Liverpool, will be looking to strengthen their squad this month.

Naturally, Premier League leaders Liverpool are also in need of reinforcements. The Reds are currently on top of the league table. But they will need to plug the gaps in their squad to sustain their current run of form and win the title this season.

A number of quality players are currently away on international duty because of the Africa Cup of Nations and the AFC Asian Cup. Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at three players Liverpool should keep close tabs on during the Asia Cup, having recently touched upon the AFCON.

Ko Itakura

The 26-year-old Borussia Monchengladbach defender has done quite well in the Bundesliga, and he could prove to be a useful acquisition for Liverpool. It is no secret that Liverpool are in need of defensive reinforcements. Joel Matip has been sidelined for the remainder of the season with an injury, and the Japanese international could be a quality replacement.

Itakura is versatile enough to operate as a central defender as well as a defensive midfielder. He was linked with a move to Tottenham recently. The opportunity to join a big club like Liverpool will be an attractive proposition for him, and it would be a major step up in his career.

He is likely to be an important player for his country during the Asian Cup, and there is no reason why he cannot impress Liverpool with his displays over the next few weeks. Liverpool have amicable terms with Gladbach, and it remains to be seen whether they can get a deal done for the 26-year-old.

Takefusa Kubo

The Real Sociedad winger has been in spectacular form this season, and the 22-year-old has attracted the attention of a number of European bigwigs, including Arsenal and Manchester United, with his performances.

The Japanese international has six goals and three assists to his name in La Liga, and he could prove to be a solid acquisition for Liverpool. Kubo mostly operates as the right-sided winger. But he is versatile enough to operate on the left flank as well as a central attacking midfielder.

A player worth considering. (Photo by Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images)

He will add creativity, flair and goals from the wide areas. Liverpool could certainly use a specialist winger like him. Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz are the only specialist wingers at the club, and Jurgen Klopp needs more depth in that position.

Bringing in a quality alternative to Salah could prove to be a wise decision, and the Japanese international certainly fits the profile. The 22-year-old has the quality and technical attributes to thrive in the Premier League, and he could develop into a top class attacker with coaching and guidance.

He is likely to be one of the most exciting attacking prospects in the Asian Cup this year, and Liverpool should monitor his performances closely. But competition from Arsenal and Manchester United certainly spices things up.

Lee Kang-in

The 22-year-old South Korean midfielder joined Paris Saint-Germain last summer, and he has picked up three goals and two assists across all competitions so far. He was highly rated during his time in Spain as well, and he could prove to be a useful option for Liverpool in the attack.

Lee mostly operates as the number ten, but he has the technical ability to slot into the wide areas as well. Liverpool prefer versatile attackers who can reprise multiple roles, and the South Korean international certainly fits the profile.

He will chip begin with creativity, vision, and technical ability in the final third. However, Liverpool will find it difficult to sign him anytime soon. The Ligue 1 champions are under no pressure to cash in on the player, and he has a long term contract until 2028 with them. Regardless, he is one of the best young attacking prospects heading into the Asian Cup and Liverpool could certainly use someone like him in the long run.

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