It is thought that the extra television money and gate receipts that can be gained from reaching the group stage of the Champions League would net Liverpool an extra £70m next season in comparison to if they only finished fifth in the Premier League this campaign.
Manchester United currently sit in the fourth and final qualification spot, with Brendan Rodgers’ team needing to make up five points across the last eight matches of the Premier League season to overhaul the Red Devils.
However, it isn’t just the financial reward that Liverpool will miss out on if having to settle for fifth spot, it could also be the defining reason that they fail to secure the signature of one of the greatest goalkeepers in world football.
Liverpool face Arsenal next in a game they could really do with winning. It is 3/1 that they leave the Emirates with three points for the first time since 2011.
Samir Handanovic will be out of contract at Inter in the summer of 2016 and a circle of suitors are already starting to gather and monitor the situation.
Handanovic’s agent Federico Pastorello insists the Slovenian number one is currently in talks over a new deal, although Roma are said to be heading the chase as they seek a replacement for 38-year-old Morgan De Sanctis.
Also against Inter is that Handanovic has still not had the opportunity to play in the Champions League and a four-game winless Serie A streak has prevented them from climbing from ninth in the league standings.
Inter will be careful not to make the same mistake again that they did previously with Julio Cesar, who was allowed to leave for nothing and so there is a strong possibility he will move onto pastures new at the age of 31 in the summer.
Considering Tottenham have conceded seven penalties this season, more than any other Premier League team, they would potentially have the most to gain from recruiting Handanovic.
He previously saved six consecutive penalties until being beaten by Sassoulo’s Domenico Berardi in early February and keeping out spot-kicks is widely regarded as his chief attribute.
However, he is far from weak in other goalkeeping departments, being solid in terms of positioning and decision making. On the flip side, his reflexes are not quite at the top level and he lacks slightly in terms of distribution.
Simon Mignolet has been much improved in recent months at Liverpool after being dropped earlier in the season and only Southampton’s Fraser Forster has kept more Premier League clean sheets this campaign.
Yet it is still highly plausible that he would be replaced if a better goalkeeper was on the market. Handanovic is that keeper, but Rodgers needs Mignolet to help Liverpool qualify for the Champions League first.