If reports are to be believed, Liverpool were set one crucial condition by Kylian Mbappe if he was to consider making a blockbuster switch to Anfield this coming summer. On Sunday night, that condition was met.
Liverpool’s 2-0 win over Crystal Palace thanks to a brace from the rejuvenated Sadio Mane completed the Reds’ two-month turnaround, putting them third at the climax of the Premier League season.
At the start of March, Jurgen Klopp’s charges had sat eighth and looked to be outsiders in the battle for Champions League qualification. Somehow they finished above even European Cup finalists Chelsea.
Victory over Palace means the coveted European nights, and crucially not those for Europa League or Europa Conference League football, will return to Anfield next season, with fans hopefully present.
And that means Mbappe to Liverpool, if Le Parisien’s information is indeed correct, suddenly may just become possible even if the finances make a deal more improbable than probable.
In the week leading up to the showdown with the Eagles, reports from France claimed that Mbappe can ‘see himself’ at Liverpool and playing under Klopp.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker, out of contract in June 2022, is said to be ‘very tempted’ to quit the French side, who were beaten to the title by Lille on Sunday, in the upcoming window.
While Mbappe is said to love PSG, it’s also claimed the World Cup-winning forward could see himself playing for Liverpool or Real Madrid.
There was of course a stipulation – the France international would only consider joining the Merseyside outfit if they secured a top-four finish.
With that box now very much ticked, a move for the generational attacker – who ended the 2020-21 season with 42 goals and 11 assists in 47 games – may become feasible.
The 22-year-old, who has 159 goals and 77 assists in 231 senior appearances for Monaco and PSG in an already-excellent career, would not come cheaply of course.
Owners Fenway Sports Group would almost certainly have to use some of their own cash to facilitate a deal and perhaps the sale of a Mane or a Mohamed Salah would first be necessary.
But with Champions League nights assured, Liverpool fans can at the very least dare to dream of seeing Mbappe line up in a red shirt.
Club legend Jamie Carragher reflected after the win over Palace: “To come out of it with the Champions League next season, financial gains, in terms of the summer… because there will need to be some changes to the team that Klopp has built in the last few years.
“Georginio Wijnaldum moving on, being one, right through the spine of the team they need players to come in and it’s going to be a lot easier to do that with this result and finding themselves in third position in the table.”
And the defender is of course right. Liverpool can reset now and forget what, for several months, was a torrid and tough campaign. They can begin to look to the next phase of Klopp’s team.
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With their front three of Salah, Mane and Roberto Firmino in need of extra support, among Liverpool’s priorities will be another forward to strengthen their options in the final third after the success of Diogo Jota.
They could hardly get bigger than Mbappe if they wanted to show their Premier League and Champions League rivals they are serious about trying to win all of the major honours again next term.
A nailed-on future Ballon d’Or winner, Mbappe would arguably be as exciting as any player Liverpool could sign in world football.
And speaking on Sunday, the player made it clear that a club like Liverpool could fit his ideals. “My future? We’re going to do things in the right order, whether it’s one way or the other,” he said.
“What I want, is to win, feel like I am somewhere where I can win, where there is a solid project around me. The footballing project is essential.”
Liverpool’s very own Project Mbappe may just be a go.