LFC NEWS

Liverpool £70m transfer might add up for Jürgen Klopp as Fabinho reaction will prove telling

Liverpool.com - 2 hours 37 min ago

Liverpool are on the hunt for at least one midfielder in 2023 and while Jude Bellingham is the ideal transfer target, another player might well be required alongside him.

With Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner all potentially leaving at the end of the season, Jürgen Klopp will need to replenish his central area, adding younger and more reliable options.

One of the players who has been linked is West Ham United and England star Declan Rice, who admitted earlier this week that he wants to be playing Champions League football in the biggest hint yet that he could depart the London Stadium next year (read the full quotes here).

READ MORE: Man City still can't match Liverpool as Kevin De Bruyne leads double Pep Guardiola boost

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

CBS Sports journalist Ben Jacobs has been among those to mention Liverpool as a possible destination for Rice, with Chelsea long-term admirers and Manchester United and Manchester City both having been suggested as interested clubs too.

The Telegraph's Matt Law told the London Is Blue podcast that the Hammers are willing to sell the 23-year-old for £70m in the summer with two Premier League clubs ahead of Chelsea in the race.

But would Rice improve the Reds' midfield? Two of our Liverpool.com writers have their say on the debate (and don't forget: you can also have your say in the comments at the bottom of the page!).

"Declan Rice is an upgrade" - Matt Addison

Liverpool have two big requirements in 2023: they need Jude Bellingham, and they also need another young midfielder who can inject energy and quality into the side as both a number six and a number eight.

Rice is the perfect candidate. He has fresh legs, he can pass, and he has come on leaps and bounds in the last 18 months or so. He can also play centre-back, which would be no bad thing.

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This season so far, Fabinho has looked completely lost and his legs have just not provided him with the agility and movement that you need to play at the base of the Liverpool midfield.

On the recent evidence, Rice is a considerably better player and having him in the side would give the likes of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson more rests and fewer minutes.

Ultimately, having him would mean getting better versions of those two existing options and the Liverpool midfield would be completely transformed as a result — not instead of Bellingham, but in addition.

"Fabinho is still the better bet" - David Comerford

First and foremost, I should stress that I’m a huge fan of Rice. His stats at West Ham, and the level he’s reached at the age of 23, are incredible. And I have to accept as well that Fabinho has been very poor during the first part of the season.

But I’m not ready to give up on him and say he’s past his best. He only recently turned 29, so he should have a few more good years in him yet.

Pretty much all of Liverpool’s star players have had tricky periods at some point. Even in the last few months, Virgil van Dijk has struggled, and Trent Alexander-Arnold has endured the toughest spell of his Liverpool career.

But in all three cases, you can’t just forget their previous performances. Fabinho is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and I still back him to recapture that form.

Rice may be younger but I’m not signing him if it means losing Fabinho. Let’s see how he reaction after the World Cup break when he’s had a much-needed rest after sitting on the Brazil bench.

Which writer do you agree with? Have your say in the comments box below.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

What Jude Bellingham 'thinks of Liverpool' as Jürgen Klopp 'pushes' for transfer

Liverpool.com - 3 hours 37 min ago

Liverpool are in the race to sign Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, and the player himself has reportedly given his verdict on the Reds ahead of a move.

Jürgen Klopp sees Bellingham as the number one target to transform his ageing midfield ahead of next season, and much of the reason that Liverpool didn’t buy a midfielder last summer was to put all his eggs in the Bellingham basket.

It won’t be easy to sign Bellingham, given the interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City in the player, but Liverpool are confident they can strike a deal.

READ MORE:Borussia Dortmund flop could be ideal Jürgen Klopp target as Liverpool 'want £43m transfer'

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

According to German reporter Florian Plettenberg, Bellingham ‘highly rates’ Liverpool, but nothing is decided yet, and won’t be for months to come.

He wrote: "As reported: Liverpool is doing everything and Klopp is pushing a lot! Internal saying: Bellingham first! Caicedo is an alternative. Liverpool is highly rated from the player. But nothing decided yet. LFC won’t pay every price. Dortmund expects between €100-150m!"

Moreover, Plettenberg also states that Klopp is pushing Liverpool to go for Bellingham, with Brighton’s Moisés Caicedo one of their second choices.

Plettenberg concludes his tweet by saying Dortmund are expecting a fee in the region of £85m-£129m ($103m-$156/€100m-€150m) for the player next summer.

Bellingham has been excellent in the World Cup so far, and scored in England’s opening match against Iran. He joined Dortmund from Birmingham City in the summer of 2020.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jurgen Klopp’s agent dismisses latest talk of leaving Liverpool

ThisIsAnfield.com - 3 hours 45 min ago

With uncertainty over Liverpool’s owners and Germany facing a crisis, Jurgen Klopp‘s agent has doubled down on his commitment to a long-term contract.

Germany dropped out of the World Cup at the group stage on Thursday, on a dramatic night that saw Japan beat Spain 2-1 to render a 4-2 victory over Costa Rica meaningless.

That has led to doubts over the future of Hansi Flick, who admitted after the game that a resolution would be sought over his role “quickly.”

Whether that will see him stay or go remains to be seen, but Klopp has been positioned as the bookmakers’ favourite to take over as Germany manager if he does depart.

Given the situation playing out at Liverpool, with owners Fenway Sports Group said to “leaning towards” partial investment but still in talks over a potential sale, it could present itself as a favourable move for Klopp.

But speaking to Sky Germany in response to rumours, Klopp’s agent, Marc Kosicke, offered a swift and much-welcome rebuttal to any claims he could quit.

“It’s a media issue,” Kosicke said of speculation.

“Jurgen has a contract in Liverpool until 2026 and he intends to fulfil it.”

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This comes after Klopp’s assertion that, regardless of FSG’s plans, he remains “committed to the club.”

“In the moment, nothing happened, it’s just news that we knew. Nobody had a heart attack when we heard the news,” he told reporters in November.

“It’s a decision, it’s fine and we work really close together with FSG. It is a great relationship and it will not change.

“Whatever happens we will see and we will deal with it.”

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Three new names linked with Liverpool transfers as £180m trio 'emerge as Jürgen Klopp targets'

Liverpool.com - 4 hours 37 min ago

Liverpool will be linked with a sizeable number of midfielders over the coming months, not least in the run-up to the January window.

Even if the Reds manage to land Jude Bellingham, Jürgen Klopp will undoubtedly need more in the middle of the park, so expect plenty of names to appear on websites and newspapers across Europe over the next five to six months.

Here at Liverpool.com, we will give you a complete run-down of the new names to be connected with a move to Liverpool (so don’t expect Jude Bellingham to appear on this list).

READ MORE: Man City still can't match Liverpool as Kevin De Bruyne leads double Pep Guardiola boost

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

Mikel Merino (Real Sociedad)

Merino is unquestionably a new name for Liverpool, in terms of recent times, though he was linked a couple of years ago. The Sociedad midfielder has impressed over the past 18 months.

A central midfielder who can on occasion play on the left, Merino has prior Premier League experience, having played for Newcastle briefly several years ago.

Merino, 26, is valued at £43m ($53m/€50m) by Transfermarkt.

Linked by: Italian reporter Rudy Galetti.

Read more about him: Why Dortmund flop could work for Liverpool.

Piotr Zielinski (Napoli)

The Pole opted to move to Naples instead of Liverpool in the summer of 2016, but could get another opportunity to say yes. Zielinski has been in scintillating form for Napoli this season and is one of the main reasons why they are top of Serie A and topped their Champions League, which included Liverpool.

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Zielinski also scored twice against Liverpool in the 4-1 defeat in Naples in September. Transfermarkt value him at £34m ($42m/€40m).

Linked by: Italian reporter Rudy Galetti.

Read more about him: A look at the player his manager called 'the next Kevin De Bruyne'

Sergej Milinković-Savić (Lazio)

The tall Serb has been one of the best midfielders in Serie A for years, and could be about to finally get his long-awaited big move. Elegant on the ball despite his size, Milinković-Savić won’t come cheap, as Lazio owner Claudio Lotito is known to drive a hard bargain for his star players. He has a release clause of £103m ($125m/€120m) that Lazio will demand.

Now 27 years old, time is running out for the midfielder to make his big move while still being at the pinnacle of his career, and next summer could be the time to depart Rome.

Linked by: Spanish outlet Fichajes.

Read more about him: The one thing Milinković-Savić would need to change in his game to come to Liverpool.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Liverpool’s ‘phoenix’ club can take step closer to Wembley this weekend

ThisIsAnfield.com - 5 hours 37 min ago

The World Cup trophy may be 18-carat gold, but it measures just 36.5cm tall – meaning Merseyside’s semi-pro players can take one step closer to an even ‘bigger’ prize this weekend.

Last weekend’s pick was another belter for those who attended, as Bootle beat Skelmersdale 2-1 with tempers flaring at the end.

The win moves the Bucks up to 11th in the Northern Premier League and leaves Skem hovering just above the relegation zone.

Match of the weekend

AFC Liverpool vs. Cheadle Town (FA Vase 3rd Round)

Where?

Marine Travel Arena – College Rd, Crosby, Liverpool, L23 3AS

When?

Saturday, December 3 – 3pm kickoff

How much?

£6 for adults, £3 for concessions, £2 for kids

AFC Liverpool are Merseyside’s only representative left in the FA Vase, which reaches its third-round stage on Saturday.

The club was founded in 2008 by Liverpool FC supporters during the period that Tom Hicks and George Gillett were in charge at Anfield.

It’s a non-profit organisation and is run by supporters on a ‘one member, one vote’ platform.

The fans who broke away from LFC felt they were being priced out of modern football, and the cost of attending Premier League games has only gone up since the non-league Reds’ formation.

 Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop hold up a banner reading "Tom & George Tell Lies| as they protest against the club's American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool supporters on the Spion Kop hold up a banner reading "Tom & George Tell Lies| as they protest against the club's American owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

AFC Liverpool’s first team compete in the North West Counties League Premier Division, the ninth tier of English football – however, this weekend they are the favourites as they face lower-ranked Cheadle Town in the FA Vase.

This season has been a successful one so far for the club. With 12 wins from 21 league matches, they sit fourth in the table and are in with a chance of promotion.

This weekend attention turns to the vase, though, with the side having only narrowly progressed through the last round, beating FC St Helens on penalties.

There’s an extra incentive, too, as the FA Vase final takes place at Wembley, in May, and gives teams from step 5 and below in the non-league system a chance to play on the same turf as the professionals.

Here’s a list of every game involving Merseyside teams in the non-league pyramid this Saturday:

(All games kick off at Saturday 3pm unless stated)

National League North

Southport vs. Scarborough Athletic (12.30pm)
Chester vs. Blyth Spartans (Friday 7.45pm)

Northern Premier League

Premier Division:

Lancaster City vs. Marine (12.30pm)
Warrington Rylands vs. Nantwich Town (1pm)
Warrington Town vs. Stalybridge Celtic

West Division:

Leek Town vs. Runcorn Linnets (12pm)
Bootle vs. 1874 Northwich (1pm)
Ramsbottom United vs. City of Liverpool (1pm)
Widnes vs. Glossop North End
Skelmersdale United vs. Kidsgrove Athletic
Trafford vs. Prescot Cables

North West Counties Football League

Premier Division:

Litherland REMYCA vs. Avro
Vauxhall Motors vs. Padiahm (Friday 7.45pm)

First Division North:

Pilkington vs. Runcorn Town
Cleator Moor Celtic vs. FC St Helens
South Liverpool vs. Ashton Town (Friday 7.45pm)

First Division South:

Cammell Laird 1907 vs. Alsager Town

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Trent Alexander-Arnold torn as “world class” Sadio Mane misses England clash

ThisIsAnfield.com - 6 hours 1 min ago

Sadio Mane will be missing when Senegal take on England in the World Cup last 16, with Trent Alexander-Arnold torn over his old team-mate’s absence.

Mane, who left Liverpool for Bayern Munich in the summer, is one of the most high-profile absentees from this winter’s tournament in Qatar.

A calf injury suffered in Bayern’s 6-1 win over Werder Bremen, their penultimate game before the break, required surgery and has seen the 30-year-old ruled out for the duration.

Senegal have progressed to the last 16 without their talisman, though, and face England in a knockout clash on Sunday evening.

Speaking to talkSPORT ahead of that tie, Alexander-Arnold said he was “absolutely gutted” for his former team-mate, but admitted it “probably helps” England’s chances.

“Sadio brings a completely different aspect to that side,” the right-back said.

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“[He was] one of the top, might have got top three in the Ballon d’Or this year, or top five at least anyway. That’s all that needs to be said, really.

“A world, world-class player. As bad as it sounds, it probably helps us that we’re not playing against him.

“That’s the level of player.

“I only say that out of pure respect for him, because I’ve played against him in training and it’s not a nice feeling.

“He’s one of, if not the, best left wingers in the world in my opinion, and someone who can win games. I’ve seen it on multiple occasions and I’ve been a part of a team that has benefited from it.

“I was absolutely gutted that he had to miss out on this tournament. He’s someone who I’ve got a really good relationship with.”

 England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 England's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group B match between Wales and England at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexander-Arnold is not likely to start in the meeting in Al Khor, having made his only appearance of the World Cup so far off the bench in the 3-0 win over Wales on Tuesday.

He will be a captivated onlooker, though, with the Three Lions needing to be “at 100 percent” in order to progress to the next stage.

“They’re a top team. I think any team that reaches the last 16 is going to be a top team,” he said of Senegal.

“I’m sure, no matter what we say or what we do, we’ll be going into the game as ‘favourites’, the media will paint that.

“But we, as a team, understand how good they are and understand that in 90 minutes of football, anything can happen.

“If we play at 90, 95 percent, then we’ll be going home, because that’s not good enough. If we’re not at 100 percent, then it’s not good enough at all. That’s where our heads [are] at.”

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Switzerland’s Shaqiri and Xhaka, Kosovo and an eagle celebration against Serbia

the Athletic - 13 hours 30 min ago

Xherdan Shaqiri’s attacking instincts helped Liverpool ease into a 3-0 lead against Southampton on his full debut but Jurgen Klopp was so agitated by his tactical indiscipline that he decided to substitute him at half-time.

Klopp, in fairness, knew what he was getting in a player whose speed, skill and zeal at Basel had led him to Bayern Munich only for his career to curve towards Stoke City before Liverpool took a chance in the summer of 2018.

In the tight moments, when Klopp really needed a goal, Shaqiri proved to be a decent alternative. A stinker of an opening 45 minutes against Barcelona in the second leg of the 2019 Champions League semi-final gets forgotten because, shortly after the break, he supplied a cross for Georginio Wijnaldum to head home an equaliser in the tie, swinging the pendulum in Liverpool’s favour.

With Shaqiri, you just never really knew what was going to happen. It is also easy to forget that in a competition Liverpool would go on to win, Klopp’s team were facing elimination in the group stages — largely because of a surprise defeat by Red Star Belgrade after a 4-0 filleting of the same opposition a fortnight earlier.

Klopp had described Shaqiri as a “genius” after that victory at Anfield. Players from the Serbian side, as they shuffled through the stadium’s mixed zone, turned and glowered at the squat figure chirpily holding court with journalists.

Shaqiri, World Cup Shaqiri celebrates winning the Champions League with Liverpool in 2019 (Photo: Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

While the conversation touched on his assist and contribution towards three other goals, the sharper focus was on the return in Belgrade — a fixture, as it turned out, he would miss after being cut from the squad on safety grounds.

Just before signing for Liverpool, Shaqiri showed that he had not forgotten his Kosovan roots by marking a goal for Switzerland against Serbia at the World Cup in Russia by celebrating with a two-handed gesture that mimicked the eagle of the Albanian flag.

His parents were born in the ethnically Albanian region which had fought for its independence from a Serb-led Yugoslav force in the late 1990s, when NATO intervened on the side of the rebels. As bombing intensified, Serbia, which views Kosovo as part of its territory and its history, began a campaign of ethnic cleansing that drove more than a million, mostly Muslim Kosovar Albanians, from their homes.

As the former Yugoslavia crumbled at the start of the decade, Isen Shaqiri, Xherdan’s father, had moved the family to Switzerland following several years as a migrant worker. Shaqiri was eight years old at the height of the conflict that followed, but he and his brothers, Arianit and Erdin, grew up with an understanding of the past.

Where to go next on The Athletic

Shaqiri signed for Basel as a junior in 2001, making his debut for the first team in 2009 before becoming an international footballer with Switzerland in 2010 when he was still a teenager. Granit Xhaka made each of the same transitions within a year of Shaqiri.

In 2012, just as one moved to Germany and signed for Bayern Munich, the other agreed to join Borussia Monchengladbach in the same league. A decade later, Shaqiri has 110 caps for Switzerland and Xhaka has 109. Now aged 31 and 30, they are both likely to pass Heinz Hermann’s 120 international appearances, a record that has stood since 1991.

Their paths are intertwined in many ways. Though Xhaka was born in Switzerland, his brother Taulant, who has spent most of his career with Basel, has represented Albania. While Shaqiri has largely kept the story of his family’s links with the country to himself, Xhaka told The Guardian five years ago that his father, Ragip, spent three and a half years as a political prisoner in Yugoslavia after demonstrating against the communist party’s central government in Belgrade.

Switzerland Shaqiri and Xhaka playing for Switzerland against Cameroon in Qatar (Photo: Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images)

In 1986, Ragip was a 22-year-old student at a university in the Kosovan capital of Pristina, then an autonomous province in Yugoslavia. After being arrested and given a six-year sentence, he shared a cell with four other men and was let out once a day for 10 minutes. Sometimes, he was beaten.

“As his son, the story is something that touches me very deeply — it is really, really in my heart,” Xhaka reflected. “To describe my dad properly, you have to appreciate the full depth of it. It’s so tragic.

“He was a proud Kosovan and he thought they had a right to exist. He was standing up for their rights and they were basic democratic rights — necessities, such as being able to vote.

“It was not only him. There were other people arrested, including his uncle, who had been jailed a number of years earlier. He got 15 years. It was strictly political.”

Like Shaqiri, Xhaka scored for Switzerland against Serbia in the 2018 World Cup and like Shaqiri, he celebrated by making an eagle gesture. Ahead of that game, FIFA warned of punishments for offensive chanting or banners after Serbia were fined around £10,000 because of a message against Costa Rica that promoted a “Serbian paramilitary nationalist movement”.

A victory in that game prompted the Serbian foreign minister, Ivica Dacic, to speak of a “small, sweet revenge”, having noted that Costa Rica had been one of the first countries in the world to recognise Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Shaqiri had angered many in Switzerland by suggesting that he would consider playing for Kosovo, but after the country was officially recognised by FIFA in 2016, a ruling stipulated that any player who had represented another nation in a tournament could not switch allegiances.

Following his gesture against Serbia, Shaqiri tried to reason that it had been an “emotional” reaction. But before that World Cup he had revealed his footwear for the tournament on his Instagram account: the flag of Switzerland on one boot, the flag of Kosovo on the other.

In 2018, £10,000 fines came both his and Xhaka’s way. Though Shaqiri’s place in the starting XI is now under challenge, Xhaka has taken on a more senior role within the squad and, as captain, he has already this week tried to dismiss the significance of the controversial match four years ago.

“(There’s) nothing in the history behind these two games,” the Arsenal midfielder said. “We are Switzerland, they are Serbia, that’s it. We are here to play football — them, us as well.”

Xhaka, however, will have seen the photograph from Serbia’s changing room ahead of their opening game against Brazil last week: a national flag with a territory that included Kosovo and the slogan “No surrender”. This prompted another FIFA probe and a formal complaint from the Kosovo football federation. The country’s sports minister Hajrulla Ceku suggested the Serbian team had used the World Cup to promote “hateful, xenophobic and genocidal messages”.

Serbia FIFA opened an investigation into the flag in the Serbian dressing room before they played Brazil (Photo: Twitter)

During the pre-match press conference in Doha, Serbia’s press officer stepped in when a Polish journalist asked a question about Serbians supporting Russia over the invasion of Ukraine, despite killings including Polish people. “Players and coaches are not answering questions relating to politics,” came the reply.

Though Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovic did respond when he was asked about the previous World Cup encounter, his response was similar to Xhaka’s, with the Fulham forward suggesting rivalry has been lost by a changeover of players between the tournaments. Perhaps the mood will change in the heat of the contest.

These remain nervous times in the region. Only in August, roads were barricaded near the northern border of Kosovo and there were some reports of guns being fired in protest at a move by the Kosovan government to make ethnic Serbs swap their Serbian-issued car number plates for Kosovan ones.

It was only with European Union mediation between the sides that a deal was agreed on November 23, which means Kosovo will drop its plan to fine holders of the Serbian plates while Serbia will stop issuing registrations with the initials of towns in Kosovo. 

(Photos: Getty Images; design: Eamonn Dalton)

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Borussia Dortmund flop could be ideal Jürgen Klopp target as Liverpool 'want £43m transfer'

Liverpool.com - 15 hours 37 min ago

Liverpool's midfield has struggled this season, above all else, with the knock-on impact of that area of the field not performing to its usual level seen all across the pitch.

Injuries and absences have not helped Jürgen Klopp's men, but the fact is the club are in need of long-term options in the middle of the park. It was a similar story at the start of last season too.

Someone of Fabinho's ilk who can play in the holding midfield role, but could also step-up into a more box-to-box position like Gini Wijnaldum often did during his time at Anfield, would be especially useful.

READ MORE: Jude Bellingham highlights quiet Liverpool transfer shift that Pep Lijnders already hinted at

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

Jude Bellingham has been touted around as the perfect option but Liverpool will need one more player on top of that. Declan Rice could be ideal but he would be expensive.

The truth is that Liverpool need two midfielders and getting both might be tricky. Therefore, Liverpool have to look at alternative and better-priced solutions.

One such midfielder could be Real Sociedad's Mikel Merino who has been on the club's radar before, according to Fichajes. Now, Italian reporter Rudy Galetti says Liverpool have placed Merino on their midfield wish list.

Merino has had an interesting career route. He struggled at Borussia Dortmund and then revived himself at Newcastle United before making a name for himself in La Liga.

He has been an integral part of Real Sociedad's emergence as an elite La Liga side over the past couple of seasons, and has been capped five times for Spain's national team squad as a result.

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There is a lot to like about Merino. He has the versatility to play in the holding midfield role, but he is also capable of playing in more advanced midfield positions.

And, like Bellingham, he can also come up with a goal even from a deep-lying role every now and again, averaging 0.16 goals per 90 last season, which ranks him in the 88th percentile for midfielders in La Liga and is not too far away from Bellingham's 0.19 average.

Due to Merino's towering height at 1.89 metres, he is well suited to the hustle and bustle nature of the Premier League and has already proven himself in Newcastle United colours.

One of his best traits is his technical ability and reading of the game. Merino is excellent in possession and he is adept at making penetrative passes to break defensive lines in the same vein as Liverpool's Thiago Alcântara. He averaged 6.99 progressive passes per 90 in La Liga last season which ranks him in the 94th percentile for midfielders.

Defensively, he is adept at breaking up opposition attacks averaging 4.19 tackles and interceptions per 90 which is above Fabinho's average of 3.38 tackles and interceptions per 90 last season.

Merino has the energy to be comfortable in Klopp's gegenpress system. He averages 16.77 pressures per 90 which is similar to Fabinho's 16.44 pressures per 90.

Based on his profile Merino would be an outstanding candidate for Liverpool's midfield as someone who would be comfortable in slotting in for Fabinho in the Brazilian's absence.

Valued at £43m ($53m/€50m) by Transfermarkt, he might not be as exciting as Bellingham, but Merino could have the qualities to succeed at Anfield and he would arrive for a much reasonable price, leaving space for the Dortmund man to come in as well.

An original version of this story was first published on 11 September 2021.

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Jude Bellingham highlights quiet Liverpool transfer shift that Pep Lijnders already hinted at

Liverpool.com - 17 hours 37 min ago

Liverpool have behaved in a specific manner in the transfer market in recent years. Since Jürgen Klopp took charge in 2015, he's gradually pushed the Reds to reach new levels, supported by scouting expertise delivered by the likes of Michael Edwards, Ian Graham and Julian Ward to name but a few.

Next season, none of those three figures will be at the club. Edwards left his post as sporting director at the end of last season after spending a decade at Anfield, and both Ward and Graham will depart at the end of this term.

The recruitment approach on Merseyside has revolved around hidden gems being picked up for less than their true worth, allowing Klopp to refine their talents before turning them into superstars. It has worked well, with Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino, Andy Robertson and Virgil van Dijk among the most prominent success stories to fit the theme.

READ MORE: Liverpool should spot bargain Fabinho-like transfer at World Cup with ideal Jürgen Klopp move

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

After five campaigns of Klopp at the helm, Liverpool reached the summit of the sport, winning the Premier League title just 12 months after delivering the Champions League to Anfield. Over time, the German has secured every possible honour from the FA Cup to Carabao Cup to Club World Cup and everything in between.

The success might have fostered new ideas, especially considering the stability offered by Klopp, who has now been on English shores for over seven years and has been in charge for longer than any other Premier League manager currently competing in the division.

Words expressed by Pep Lijnders in his new book — Intensity — could offer an insight into the subtle shift that is gradually being enforced. "Academy and game-changers, that’s where we need to invest," said the Dutchman, who has acted as Klopp's assistant since the summer of 2018.

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"Room for talent, space for our Academy to give a chance to these young boys to evolve into game-changers. We have to buy premium and use the Academy. Liverpool deserves a process like this.

"A good system always gives freedom and the chance for interpretation. Not second-line players who take the space for our talents. [Luis] Díaz and Kaide [Gordon], or Thiago [Alcântara] and Harvey [Elliott]."

There's certainly nothing wrong with the comments made by Lijnders, but it does certainly change the job spec for someone whose role is in recruitment. No longer are Liverpool looking for a Gini Wijnaldum, but seemingly only a Jude Bellingham or similar game-changer.

The Athletic have suggested that Ward's departure could stem in part from the reality that 'it is no longer the same job with the same chain of command he signed up for'.

A shift towards only signing established performers makes plenty of sense once coupled with the uncharacteristic signature of Thiago from Bayern Munich in 2020, and the rumoured chase for Bellingham's expensive signature in 2023, said to be worth over £100m.

"From time to time you have to throw in proven quality," said Klopp in a press conference in November. "In an ideal world, they are young as well and not aged 35. From time to time, you have to take some risks. I have no idea what will happen but I am positive about it."

The inner workings of Liverpool's infrastructure remain under wraps for the moment but regardless of what happens, it seems a scouting policy shift has already begun. Rather than acquiring rough diamonds, the next plan of attack could consist of nothing but game-changing players and promising youth prospects.

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Liverpool 'want £103m' playmaker as Real Madrid 'consider transfer swoop' for Jürgen Klopp star

Liverpool.com - 18 hours 37 min ago

Welcome to the Liverpool.com daily Media Digest. From transfers to tweets, it can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the Anfield sphere. Credible, incredible and anything in between: we round it all up in one place here, taking a sideways look at the day’s media goings-on from around the world.

***

Steve Heighway retires

Liverpool icon Steve Heighway has retired, the club have announced. The 75-year-old was a winger as a player, making 475 appearances and scoring 75 goals.

READ MORE: Liverpool should spot bargain Fabinho-like transfer at World Cup with ideal Jürgen Klopp move

READ MORE: Even Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp was wrong about Cristiano Ronaldo as exit sees him land £173m deal

Heighway served as Liverpool's head of youth development for 18 years, guiding the likes of Jamie Carragher, Robbie Fowler, Steven Gerrard and Michael Owen into the first team, before initially retiring in 2007.

He then took up a part-time position at the request of Academy manager Alex Inglethorpe, before being appointed as a full-time consultant.

Lazio midfielder on the list

Liverpool have been told to pay £103m ($125m/€120m) for 27-year-old Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savić, according to Fichajes, who report that both the Reds and Real Madrid are keen on the Serbian playmaker.

The player, who turns 28 in February, has played more than 300 games for Lazio, scoring 63 times and providing 58 assists, but Liverpool would not be prepared to pay that sort of sum, not least for a midfielder of that age.

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The report states that Milinković-Savić is an alternative for both clubs if they fail to land Jude Bellingham, with only a small number of midfielders available to improve both clubs.

Real Madrid transfer claim

According to Defensa Central, Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez is on Real Madrid's list for future transfers, despite the Reds having only just signed the Uruguayan in the summer for a fee that could reach £85m.

The report adds that Cody Gakpo, Gabriel Jesus and Richarlison are other attackers which could, at some point in the future, come into the equation for Real Madrid as they look to renew their forward line.

Karim Benzema is still there for the time being and Kylian Mbappé is known to be a player that Real Madrid have on their list, but there are not that many top-class striking options out there — hence why the fee to sign Núñez from Benfica was relatively large.

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Agent Trent befriends Bellingham & Darwin’s decisive day – Liverpool FC News

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/01/2022 - 21:20

We had it, then – the most crazy, stressful and changeable day of the group stage. Group E brought the madness and Liverpool news could yet yield similar uncertainty if it comes to pass.

Today at the World Cup

Disallowed goals, non-disallowed goals, raging pundits, furious Germans and dismal Belgians. What a day.

  • Early kick-off blues for Belgium, or perhaps just the fact they have been an abomination. 0-0 with Croatia and home they go
  • Morocco meanwhile made all kinds of history and are the first African side to top a World Cup group since 1998, beating Canada in Group F
  • Later, EVERYTHING CHANGED A LOT. In the end, Costa Rica who were fourth favourites and started the day third were at one stage second and yet somehow ended up last. Germany were losing, again, yet won 4-2 and still went out
  • Japan, meanwhile, came from behind to beat Spain and top the group – Spain finish second in one of the strangest group outcomes which could have been imagined. Well, at some stages of the evening, anyway

Where on earth do we begin? Let’s start at the bottom: Belgium. There, that’s done. They were truly, truly atrocious and are deservedly going home.

Morocco, on the other hand, have played the group stage perfectly. On they go to face Spain as a reward for winning the group, somehow.

 Japan's players celebrate winning the group during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Spain at the Khalifa International Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Japan's players celebrate winning the group during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group E match between Japan and Spain at the Khalifa International Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Croatia almost fluffed it, Germany did fluff it, winning but going out while Spain lost and go through.

Got it? Good.

Oh, and congratulations Japan.

LFC today

 Liverpool's owner John W. Henry and co-owner and NESV Chairman Tom Werner during the 214th Merseyside Derby match at Goodison Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's owner John W. Henry and co-owner and NESV Chairman Tom Werner during the 214th Merseyside Derby match at Goodison Park. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Looking increasingly as though Liverpool could be partially sold with an investor taking a minority stake, rather than full control.

One major name out of Boston says so at least, with the Boston Globe reporting that a new investor buying a quantity of the club off FSG is “more likely” than an outright sale to new owners.

That report also suggests that while some potential buyers have been dismissed, there has also been a lack of a truly “compelling offer” for an outright buy of the entirety of LFC.

Clearly, there’s a while to go yet and we should anticipate twists and turns along the way, particularly since Man United are also on the market and on a wider scale, anything could yet happen with Juventus in Italy given the unrest at senior level of the club and pending UEFA investigations.

Latest Liverpool FC news
  • Another backroom staff member at Anfield is set to depart and head for Rangers, with Michael Beale plundering Merseyside as well as QPR for those he has previously worked with
Something you may have missed…

Let’s be clear to start: there’s no absolute evidence right at this moment. But my word, is there one hell of a debate raging.

The whole of the ball over the whole of the line. Everyone knows that. That's it. But goodness that's tight. pic.twitter.com/dWIDyl2wqM

— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) December 1, 2022

Germany went out because, in effect, this wasn’t given as out of play. Japan’s second sent them top, but without it they would have been out entirely.

Obviously, people around the world have mixed feelings to this.

The point Souness is missing while he complains about Japan’s second goal, is that if the ball did go out and that eliminated Germany, that makes it even funnier

— Matthew Stanger (@MatthewStanger) December 1, 2022

But because the original call was in, and there’s no definitive way of showing it was out, the goal stands. Japan through, Germany go home.

Ok seems the angle from above shows it’s in play. Fair enough!

Amazing that it all came down to the curvature of the ball. Well done Japan! https://t.co/WHyj524CXi

— Adrian Clarke (@adrianjclarke) December 1, 2022

FIFA, as ever, in the mud for not clearing up how decisions were reached.

Friday’s matches and LFC aspects
  • 3am: South Korea vs Portugal
  • 3pm: Ghana vs Uruguay
  • 7pm: Cameroon vs Brazil
  • 7pm: Serbia vs Switzerland

From an LFC perspective, Alisson could be rested and Fabinho might get a run out, with the Selecao already through. The big focus, though, is the earlier kick-off and a decade-old grudge match.

Darwin Nunez will surely start for Uruguay and boy do they need a goal or two from him, and a win, as they look to overcome Ghana who are still full of fury and hatred toward ex-Red Luis Suarez for his 2010 handball antics.

That game could be the most back-and-forth and incident filled yet, which is saying something after Thursday.

A draw will do it for Ghana; elsewhere Serbia need a decent win over Shaqiri and the Swiss to stand a chance to progress.

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Liverpool lose another staff member – to Michael Beale’s Rangers

ThisIsAnfield.com - Thu, 12/01/2022 - 17:30

Liverpool have seen another prominent member of their staff depart the club, with former coach Michael Beale building his backroom at Rangers.

Beale has this week taken the manager’s job at Rangers, departing his role with QPR a month after pledging his loyalty to the club amid interest from Wolves.

The 42-year-old, who was previously Steven Gerrard’s assistant in Glasgow, admitted that the offer of taking over the Scottish giants was too attractive to turn down.

Now he has begun the task of putting together his backroom staff, which has included three appointments from his supporting cast at QPR.

Joining Damian Matthew, Neil Banfield and Harry Watling on the backroom at Rangers is a new arrival from Liverpool, with Dr Jack Ade departing Merseyside after almost seven years.

Dr Ade held the combined role of head of elite fitness development and under-21s fitness coach since his arrival in 2016, but has now left to become head of performance at Rangers.

 Liverpool's Dr Jack Ade Head Of Elite Fitness Development pre-match before the UEFA Youth League Round of 16 match between Liverpool FC Under 19's and KRC Genk Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Dr Jack Ade Head Of Elite Fitness Development pre-match before the UEFA Youth League Round of 16 match between Liverpool FC Under 19's and KRC Genk Under 19's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The sports scientist attained a PhD at Liverpool John Moores University in 2019, and will now take his expertise to Scotland, where he has already begun work.

It leaves Liverpool with another position to fill during a turbulent period off the pitch, having only just appointed a new first-team club doctor in Jonathan Power.

The role had been temporarily performed by GP Sarah Lindsay and head of academy medical Bevin McCartan, but Power will soon begin on a full-time basis.

There is a chance that Beale attempts to poach more personnel from the Liverpool academy staff, having built up strong relationships with colleagues during two spells at Kirkby.

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