Liverpool are now looking for their next defensive midfielder with Fabinho expected to make a move to Saudi Arabia this summer and now a new potential transfer target has been identified.

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What's the latest on Liverpool's interest in Joao Palhinha?

According to Sky Sports reporter Melissa Reddy, Liverpool are interested in signing Fulham midfielder Joao Palhinha.

Reddy revealed on Twitter: "Lavia and Gravenberch have long been considered by LFC (regardless of current situation), with their reps spoken to. Other players they've looked at: Nicolo Barella, Khephren Thuram, Florentino Luis, Joao Palhinha, Teun Koopmeiners..."

"They do love a surprise, stealth signing"

How good is Joao Palhinha?

There is no doubt that Jurgen Klopp will be desperate to quickly replace Fabinho as the Brazilian mainstay has had a huge influence on the club's success over the last five years.

The Liverpool ace played a key role in his deep-lying role to lead his team to a Champions League trophy, FA Cup, League Cup and their first-ever Premier League title, so it will be difficult to find a player who can emulate his impact.

As a result, the signing of Palhinha would be a great move for the Merseyside giants as the Portuguese sensation has been a revelation over the last 12 months and has been a difference-maker at Craven Cottage.

No other Premier League player completed more tackles and interceptions than the 6 foot 3 titan (193), with fellow Liverpool target Moises Caicedo coming in second to the Fulham whiz (156), and this attribute is not the only one that the two hot top-flight talents share.

Brighton's Moises Caicedo against Manchester City

When comparing Palhinha's output to his Ecuordorian positional peer last season, the pair came close in a number of key attributes desirable in the defensive midfield role including pass completion (82.5% v 88.5%), percentage of dribblers tackled (53% v 58.8%), blocks (48 v 43) and aerial duels won (64.5% v 64.9%). as per FBref.

Not only that, the 28-year-old ranks in the top 1% of his positional peers across the top five European leagues for tackles per 90, as well as ranking in the top 12% for clearances per 90 and aerial duels won per 90, proving that he is one of the best defensive presences in Europe.

Lauded as being as "strong as an ox" by Sky Sports reporter Jamie Weir, the confident ball-winner has been the recipient of high praise during his short time in English football, with pundit Jamie Redknapp showering compliments on Palhinha:

"He has been a brilliant signing. £20 million. He has got a real knowledge and nous of where he should be. He picks the right pass. He has a real presence about him. He is a fantastic signing for them."

Despite making a £20m move from Sporting Lisbon to west London last summer, the Portugal international has already become an invaluable asset to Fulham and it would reportedly take an offer of £90m for them to part ways with their star player, presenting a slightly cheaper alternative to Caicedo who has a £100m price tag.

With that being said, if sporting director Jorg Schmadtke could secure a deal for Palhinha it would be a major coup for the club and if he can continue to dominate in midfield at Anfield, he would be the dream successor for Fabinho next season.