Liverpool’s pre-season schedule continues with another Bundesliga outfit, this time in the shape of Hertha Berlin – with a formidable and familiar face set to return.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men already have three friendlies under their belt this summer, with valuable minutes injected throughout the squad and it’s the same again against Hertha.
With less than 17 days until the season opener, the Reds are back on the field of play on Thursday as they add another 90 minutes to the tally having already accumulated 150.
It will act as another valuable test for members of the first team and those looking to break into Klopp’s plans for the upcoming season, not to mention the return of Virgil van Dijk.
So, what will be in store against Hertha?When and where is the friendly?
Liverpool will make the short trip to Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria on Thursday, July 29 to face Hertha, with kickoff scheduled for 7.20pm (BST) on LFCTV.
The game will be played in front of 15,000, with tickets having been available to those who are double vaccinated.Who is at the helm of Hertha?
Pal Dardai is at the helm after putting pen to paper in January, in what is his second stint at Hertha having previously led them between 2015 and 2019.
The 45-year-old’s spell in the second half of last season took a little while to get going with just one point from his first five league games, but 17 in the following 11 would see them close out the season in 14th position.
The hope will be that he can replicate his feats in the 2016/17 season that saw the club finish in sixth to secure Europa League football for the first time since 2009/10.
He certainly isn’t without motivation with the club close to his heart having played donned their colours from 1997 to 2011, meaning he has come up against Klopp as both a player and manager.Who are their key players?
Hertha wasted little time in strengthening their squad this summer, notably adding former Man City forward Stevan Jovetic, ex-Spurs man Kevin-Prince Boateng and Suat Serdar.
The trio are all expected to feature but they are to be without two of their key goalscorers from last season in Krzysztof Piatek, through injury, and Matheus Cunha due to Olympic involvement.
Winger Dodi Lukebakio, who scored the joint-second highest goals last season with seven, is to be relied upon, however.
Notably, Dardai’s son 19-year-old son Marton could also get a run out at centre-back after a breakthrough into the first team that amounted to 12 games in 2020/21.Any history with Liverpool?
There have been four pre-season friendlies with the German side throughout the years, the most recent of which you may recall back in the summer of 2017.
Hertha played host on their historic home turf at the Olympiastadion Berlin in what was a celebration that saw both clubs mark their 125th anniversary, aptly under the banner of ‘Celebrating football since 1892’.
The fixture saw Liverpool emerge as 3-0 victors, with Dominic Solanke, Gini Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah all finding the net, with only three of the players named in the starting XI that day still at the club.
The result in 2017 was a notable improvement on the goalless draw in 2008, when Rafa Benitez was at the helm and when Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Sami Hyypia were the centre-back options.
In regards to personnel in the transfer department, Marko Grujic spent two seasons on loan with Hertha in 2018/19 and 2019/20, joining Andriy Voronin (2008/09) as the sole double agents.
But Markus Babbel takes the crown for stepping into the deep end having been head coach from July 2010 to December 2011, where he led his Hertha side to promotion back to the Bundesliga.The return of our No. 4
It has been over nine months since Van Dijk last donned the Liverpool shirt, a painstaking wait that has required patience and caution throughout his journey.
But we need not wait any longer as the Dutchman is set to be handed minutes of action off the bench to mark his long-awaited return, the first step of many back to full match fitness.
Klopp said of the prospect: “I hope, I am not sure, that there is the opportunity that Virgil could play a few minutes.
“He looks really good in training and maybe we can bring [him in], but I need to have some final conversations. He looks ready and we will see.”
And on the matchup itself against Hertha Berlin, Klopp added: “I don’t like actually pre-season games when you win it four or five-nil – it can be the first game but they have no real value because it can lead you on the wrong path and all these kind of things.
“Making mistakes is not my favourite thing to do but if you make it then it’s easier to work on it and it’s the best time to work on it and we can sort that until the season starts.”
Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago Alcantara arrived at Liverpool's Austria pre-season training camp this afternoon.
The pair reconvened with their Reds teammates in Tirol after a break that followed their participation at Euro 2020 with Switzerland and Spain respectively.
Shaqiri and Thiago will now begin preparations for the 2021-22 campaign on Thursday.
Liverpool are now preparing for their third pre-season friendly day, their fourth opponents overall, and it’s still a case of outs, not ins, with transfer work.Xherdan Shaqiri for just €10m?!
When Liverpool signed Xherdan Shaqiri for £13m a few seasons back, it was a bargain – decent player, squad depth, versatile, cheap as chips.
Except, with injuries, age and Covid finances, it now appears the Reds will actually make a loss on him.
He has mostly been mentioned alongside a £15m or so price tag until now, but reports out of Germany suggest he has been told he can leave for only £8.5million, a big drop-off for the Reds’ income hopes.
A move to the Bundesliga has been mentioned too, but until now it’s Lazio who have been most heavily linked with our Swiss winger.Reds rumours of the day
Click the image link above for all the latest pre-season news as we prepare for Hertha Berlin.
Meanwhile, you can see what our last remaining players have been up to before they return to training with the club!Latest transfer chat elsewhere
We will take it.
I see we are making predictions before the transfer window shuts and the teams can properly take shape.
So here is mine…
Liverpool will win the league this season.
I am taking no further questions at this time.
— Stephen Drennan (@babuyagu) July 28, 2021
Tonight’s late fixtures: Porto v Roma if you want some high-profile, Mourinho-derby, pre-season friendly action. Midtjylland vs Celtic if you want the latest installment of “Scottish Premiership’s European despair”.
During a brief moment of downtime during Liverpool’s pre-season training camp, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip contested a game of Austrian bowling and we decided to film it. We’re sure you won’t want to miss it.
The trio went head-to-head in a game of nine-pin, or kegeln as it is locally known, in the team hotel in Salzburg.
See what happened when Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip challenged each other in our YouTube video below now.
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Yasser Larouci‘s destination post-Liverpool is now known after more than a year in transfer limbo, with the Reds now to bank a small compensation fee as a result.
The 20-year-old consistently turned down a new offer to remain at Anfield in favour of a new challenge, despite having shown signs of a future under Jurgen Klopp.
But after making his desire to secure a move known last summer, the Reds acquired Kostas Tsimikas and further opportunities would not present themselves.
And as no move eventuated and contract offers resisted, it was a year of stagnation with only two appearances for the under-23s, but a fresh start now awaits the 20-year-old.
Larouci’s exit from the club was confirmed earlier in the summer after four years on the books, with Ligue 1’s Troyes now to be called home by the youngster.
Signing a five-year contract, Larouci will now look to make his breakthrough at senior level with the newly-promoted French outfit.
Troyes are owned by the City Football Group and his switch overseas will see Liverpool bank in the region of £250,000 in training compensation, as per FIFA rules.
He becomes the latest academy member to depart the club this summer following the sales of Liam Millar and Kamil Grabara.
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We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.
The expectation is that the two clubs will be able to reach an agreement and that Hart will leave Spurs after only a year at the club.
The former England No 1 moved to Tottenham last summer to provide cover for Hugo Lloris, and ended up making 10 appearances, though none in the Premier League.
But after Spurs completed the loan signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta on Saturday, Hart was informed that he could leave. He had no desire to be third-choice at Tottenham so a departure would suit all parties.
Hart was a popular member of the Spurs dressing room and provided experience and know-how for a young squad. But aged 34 he was never viewed as a long-term successor to Lloris and only joined on a two-year deal.
Celtic have been looking for competition for their No 1 spot this transfer window, with Vasilis Barkas underperforming since his arrival from AEK Athens last summer, and Scott Bain struggling to justify his own claim to the starting spot.
The club hope Hart can challenge for that starting spot and potentially return to the form of his early career, in order to address one of their problem positions.
Should Tottenham be able to find an agreement over Hart then he would follow Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld out of the club. The departure of both was confirmed this week as new managing director of football Fabio Paratici tries to thin out the Spurs squad.
The Athletic understands Easah Suliman has decided against a return to the UK and will spend next season on loan at CD Nacional in Portugal, reports Gregg Evans.
The 23-year-old centre-back left Aston Villa for Vitoria Guimaraes last January but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.
A number of clubs in both England and Scotland were interested in signing him this summer but Suliman has agreed to drop down a division and spent the season on the island of Madeira.
Villa are keeping a close eye on his career as they will receive 30 per cent of any future transfer fee if he leaves Vitoria.
The England Under-19 European Championship winner still has three years remaining on his contract.
The 29-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Eibar in Spain and has no future at Newcastle, despite training with the first team on Monday following a non-COVID-related illness.
With Muto in the final year of his contract, Newcastle would ideally like to sell the Japan international, but Aris are understood to prefer a loan move and could cover around 40 per cent of his wages, which are in excess of £50,000 a week.
No agreement is yet in place but the Greek Super League outfit are optimistic a deal can be reached, with Newcastle potentially willing to accept a nominal fee in order to move on another high earner.
Florian Lejeune departed for Deportivo Alaves earlier this month, freeing up space in the squad for potential incomings, although Steve Bruce, the head coach, has yet to make a signing of his own.
The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.
The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.
Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.
Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.
“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”
Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.
Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.
Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.
As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.
A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.
United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.
Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.
Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.
The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.
Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.
But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.
Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.
Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.
Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.
Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.
Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.
Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.
But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.
Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.
Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.
Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.
Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.
Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.
Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.
Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.
The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.
A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.
Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.
Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.
Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.
His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.
Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.
Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.
The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.
Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.
The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.
The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.
Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.
Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.
Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.
He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.
Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.
The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.
Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.
A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.
Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.
The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.
He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.
Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.
The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.
Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.
The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.
Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.
Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.
The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.
Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.
Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.
For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.
Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.
The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.
There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton.
Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram.
Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.
The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.
That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.
Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.
The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.
There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.
Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.
Jurgen Klopp has been at the helm at Anfield for nearing six years and in his five-and-a-half seasons to date, a total of 45 players have scored – can you name them?
The Reds have been electric in front of goal since the German took the helm, scoring a total of 643 goals in 318 games.
Some have certainly been more prolific than others in that time, breaking records and pushing Liverpool towards four pieces of silverware.
On the other hand, others have chipped in with the odd strike here and there to ensure their career at Anfield ends with a tally in the goal column.
Here, we test your recollection of players that Klopp has witnessed scoring a goal for his side since he took the job back in October 2015.
Some may require more brainpower than others. Good luck!You have 8 minutes – can you name all 45? Want more quizzes? Try these!
Going from club to club, you can see players who even themselves might have expected to be playing for a new club this season, but for one reason or another — be it injuries to players in their position, a lack of interested buyers, or simply the deflated transfer market following the pandemic — they have remained.
Then there are those who are coming back from serious injury and want to make up for lost time.
We’ve run through each Premier League side to look at those who have been given another life as they look to make their mark…
Depending on what happens in the transfer market, Arsenal could have a few players given opportunities that rarely came last season.
So far this pre-season, Ainsley Maitland-Niles — who spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion — has solely been used in midfield, his preferred position. Maitland-Niles has been restricted to full-back for most of his time under Mikel Arteta, but if he stays and the club fail to sign a new midfielder, he could benefit.
Joe Willock will be in a similar position after a more successful spell at Newcastle United, where he scored in seven successive games in the final weeks of the season. Returning this summer will be about proving he can fit in Arsenal’s midfield. So far, he has not had that opportunity but could do once the season is underway.
Reiss Nelson played just 69 minutes of Premier League football last season but has featured regularly in pre-season.
To help you decide where to go, we at The Athletic will be writing about some of the best places to watch football in the UK. We hope you enjoy the series. And if you really enjoy it, we’ll do it again for the rest of Europe in the future.
“It was created in Liverpool, where the city character, with its pervading harshness of waterfront life and bitterly combative Irish exile content, was given a sudden flowering of arrogant expression with the simultaneous rise of its pop musicians and both its leading football teams. More than any other English city, Liverpool experiences its hope and shame through football.”
Life has changed in so many ways in the 53 years since Arthur Hopcraft wrote The Football Man. Even using just music and football as terms of reference, The Beatles were working on The White Album and England were reigning World Cup holders. In those days the leading English footballers might earn up to £5,000 a year, topped up by bonuses pegged at £4 for a win and £2 for a draw. It was a different world.
Those who have grown up in the era of all-seater stadiums will not recognise the conditions that Hopcraft described as “hideously uncomfortable, the steps as greasy as a school playground lavatory in the rain, the air rancid with beer and onions and belching as worse”. But the squalor endured all the way through the 1970s and 1980s.
Liverpool's work in Austria continued with an entertaining session on Tuesday evening – and you can see what happened in our latest episode of Inside Training.
Obstacle rondos began the session in the Tirol sunshine before the squad spilt into four teams, with two representing yellows and two for the reds.
Watch the best bits of the workout in our video above now.
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