Win against Leeds United could help Liverpool sign Raphinha for bargain £20 million

Leeds United winger Raphinha has been linked with Liverpool in the past along with Manchester United, Chelsea and Barcelona.

It's a game that could have significant consequences on both ends of the Premier League table.

Liverpool and Leeds United have opposite priorities ahead of their Anfield encounter this evening.

Contrasting ambitions

The Reds' title aspirations have been revived after last weekend's results.

A 3-1 win over Norwich City was clearly enough to put the pressure on leaders Manchester City. They slipped to a 3-2 stoppage-time defeat to Tottenham hours later.

Now Jurgen Klopp's men have the chance to move within just three points of City - with the pair still to meet later this season.

In contrast, Leeds are in a relegation dogfight. Although Marcelo Bielsa's men might be five points above the bottom three, there are genuine fears they'll be dragged into a scrap.

They've accrued just one point in their past four games and things don't get much easier against Liverpool. They're heavy underdogs and are expected to return to Elland Road empty-handed.

Liverpool celebrate during their 3-1 win over Norwich. Picture: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Should the Whites sink further into the mire and fail to avoid the drop come May, it'll be a seismic blow to a club that spent 16 years outside the top flight.

Two seasons back in the Promised Land isn't long enough for a club of its ilk. Nowhere near it.

Vultures will circle

Not only would Leeds fans have to come to terms with facing trips to the likes of Luton and Bristol City again, but the vultures would come circling for their prized assets.

If the Whites were to go down, there's no doubt they'd be vulnerable to losing their top stars.

The pair, as things stand, wouldn't come cheap. They're both regular internationals for England and Brazil respectively and would improve any Premier League side.

This season, Raphinha has recorded nine goals and two assists in 23 appearances. Despite a dip in form, which led to him being hooked off at half-time in a 3-0 loss to Everton then dropped for the 4-2 loss against Manchester United on Sunday, he's one of the most exciting forwards in the top flight.

If Leeds were demoted back to the Championship, a departure for Raphinha would be inevitable.

Despite being under contract until 2024, he wouldn't be sticking around in the second tier.

Raphinha in action against Liverpool at Elland Road earlier this season. Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Talk of Raphinha moving to Anfield in the future has cooled somewhat after the Reds signed Luis Diaz for a fee of up to £50 million including add-ons from Porto last month.

But owners FSG relish a bargain buy. They revel in nothing more than a sage piece of business that yields results well beyond its price tag.

Should Leeds be relegated, it's said that Raphinha could be snapped up for a cut-price fee.

Reports suggest that the former Rennes winger has two release clauses at Elland Road.

Should Leeds stay up, footballtransfers.com claims that Raphinha could leave for around £62.5 million.

But if they were unable to avoid the drop, the Whites would be powerless in losing the 25-year-old for a meagre £20.8 million.

That sort of figure could then attract Liverpool. Granted, Klopp's well-stocked on the flanks as things stand and his squad is the strongest it's ever been during his six-and-a-half year tenure.

But with uncertainty still remaining around the futures of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane - whose deals both end in 2023 - Raphinha would be a savvy option to replace either if they did leave.

A chance to close the gap on Man City is the priority for Liverpool against Leeds.

Yet if a win did contribute to the Yorkshire outfit's relegation come May, it could prove even more imperative for the Reds in the long term.