Liverpool lead Xherdan Shaqiri race

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Liverpool have renewed their interest in Xherdan Shaqiri and are at the summit of the pack chasing the Bayern Munich man's signature, according to Metro.

The Reds were reported to be chasing the Swiss international in the summer, however Munich boss Pep Guardiola was reluctant to sell the winger. But five months and just three Bundesliga starts later, it seems that the ex-Barcelona manager is now willing to let the 23-year-old leave the club in the January transfer window.

Shaqiri has brought interest from a host of top European club's including Juventus and Inter Milan, but the Italian outfits are only initially willing to take him on loan. The German champions however want a permanent deal instead and Liverpool are willing to open their chequebook to acquire Shaqiri's services as they push for a top four finish this season.

Much Needed

One thing that Brendan Rodgers' side have struggled with this campaign is scoring goals. 

Last season, the Merseyside club had one of the most feared attacking lines in Europe with Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Raheem Sterling acting as a three-headed dragon that stunned oppositions.

With Suarez now at Barcelona and Sturridge been side-lined with injury for most of the season, the Reds have scored just 28 goals in 20 games in the top flight and are rooted to a miserable eighth place.

In some games, Liverpool have missed real top-class players to make a real difference and help snatch three points.

When looking at Rodgers's bench in the 2-2 draw with Leicester City on New Year's Day, there wasn't many who could come on and make a real impact. Lazar Markovic has done well coming on of late, but he couldn't get into the game and both Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert had a poor showing.

Shaqiri will want first-team action regularly if he is to move to Anfield and it will likely be the case. He would dispute a starting place with Sterling, Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana and, if all fit, Rodgers would likely rotate them and all play a lot of football from the start as well as giving options from the bench.

Not Cheap

If the Merseyside club are to sign the winger, it's likely it will be a fair price, at least in the region of £20 million. Bayern paid £8 million from FC Basel in 2012 and will likely want to make a tidy profit, especially with the new financial fair play rules starting to take effect.

Liverpool forked out over £100 million in the summer on new recruits and it could be difficult to persuade club owners, Fenway Sports Group to give Rodgers further transfer funds.

Mario Balotelli has very much failed since his £16 million move from AC Milan, likewise Dejan Lovren since switching Southampton for Anfield in the summer at a costly sum of £20 million. Given how much the Northern Irishman was allowed to spend, it's realistic that he will be given a small transfer budget for this month's transfer window.

Sell To Buy

It may be the case that Rodgers has to find ways to make his own cash by offloading players. Fabio Borini refused to leave Liverpool this summer after Sunderland had a £14 million bid accepted for the Italian. 

This term, he's had little first-team action and if the former Swansea City manager could get a similar fee, it would be a large proportion of the kitty for bring in Shaqiri. 

Likewise, Balotelli has been demoted to the bench for the last couple of games after Rodgers publicly said he does not suit the style of play being encouraged at Anfield. Given his poor form and controversy off the pitch, he too could also be sold after just five months.

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