LFC NEWS

Liverpool can copy Naby Keïta transfer trick to complete signing of £32m Luis Díaz repeat

Liverpool.com - Tue, 06/28/2022 - 01:00

In the end, Liverpool did not harm Spurs too much by snatching Luis Díaz from under their noses. The full effects of the transfer saga will be felt in the seasons to come, with the Colombian hopefully following Mohamed Salah in establishing himself as a genuine world-beater, but Antonio Conte was able to guide his team to a top-four finish without him — doing some major damage to Liverpool and Manchester City along the way.

Liverpool know more than most that a second-choice signing can often prove every bit as effective as the number one name on the list. Julian Brandt and Mario Götze were not destined for Anfield, but Salah and Sadio Mané ended up as legends. Whether Dejan Kulusevski can do anywhere like as well at Spurs is doubtful, but an initially ‘incandescent’ Daniel Levy will surely have calmed down by now.

That bonhomie could be shattered, however, by another Liverpool hijacking operation. Spurs are reportedly in talks with RB Leipzig over a transfer — traditionally the stomping ground of FSG, they could yet move to protect their turf.

READ MORE:Liverpool 'beat Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund' to 133-goal forward Virgil van Dijk called 'scary'

READ MORE: Liverpool have already signed Jude Bellingham ‘stop-gap’ as FSG transfer stance explained

Good relations date way back to the Naby Keïta deal, struck in 2017 for completion the following year. Since then, the connection has only grown: Liverpool played host to Red Bull Salzburg last pre-season, and will come up against them and Leipzig this time around. Ibrahima Konaté and Takumi Minamino have both joined from the energy drink stable.

Clearly, plenty of Red Bull Group assets have moved to other clubs in that time, too. Liverpool do not have a monopoly. But when one of the brightest young talents in the setup is being linked with a transfer to a Premier League rival, it is bound to turn the heads of FSG.

The owners have reportedly finished their summer business. But they were not meant to be signing anyone in January either. Spurs forced their hand then by moving for Díaz, and they could do so again if they continue to pursue Joško Gvardiol.

A self-proclaimed admirer of Liverpool, Gvardiol is one of the most exciting defensive talents around. Aged just 20, he played 45 games for RB Leipzig last season, establishing himself as a mainstay in his debut season following a move from Dinamo Zagreb.

Leipzig’s Konaté replacement could yet become his long-term partner at Anfield. In the 97th percentile of centre-backs around Europe's top leagues for expected goals and assists per 90, he has something of the Joël Matip about him, while also possessing a Virgil van Dijk-esque quality of being able to ping the ball around the pitch at will. A powerhouse in terms of progressing the ball and with the defensive stats to back it up, he would fit right in at Liverpool.

For FSG, the only issue is that Liverpool are already extremely well-equipped at centre-back. Gvardiol impressed at left-back for Croatia at Euro 2020, so that could be an option too, but there is currently plenty of cover there as well. Despite his professed boyhood loyalties, the defender would likely prefer the proposition that Spurs could put on the table at present.

But Liverpool know how to get creative with RB Leipzig. They still remember the Keïta deal. FSG struck the agreement a year ahead of time, thus beating off anticipated competition for when his release clause kicked in.

Gvardiol has no release clause, but a similarly-structured deal could suit all parties (except Spurs) perfectly. Leipzig, who are said to have issued a ‘hands-off’ warning, would get a guarantee of keeping their young defender for another season. Much like the Keïta deal, they would also get a premium on top of his value: £31.5m, according to Transfermarkt. Liverpool, meanwhile, could secure themselves an elite talent without giving Jürgen Klopp a major selection headache.

It would be premature to usher Van Dijk and Matip out of the door just yet. Both about to turn 31, they have plenty of time left at the top. But by the end of 2022/23, the question of succession will at least be a little more pertinent. Konaté is the answer to one of those positions, but what about the other? It could have Gvardiol’s name on it.

This is where Joe Gomez inevitably comes into the equation. Positioned as the long-term partner to Konaté, it would represent quite the turnaround for the England international, who was all but frozen out last season. Many of his limited minutes came at right-back, where Calvin Ramsay has now been signed as back-up. While he could still be the eventual answer for Liverpool, he will not wait around forever.

If it was known that Gvardiol would be arriving next summer, everyone would have more clarity. Liverpool could sell Gomez or look to find him a value-inflating loan ahead of the World Cup. Alternatively, they could simply keep him on as an emergency fourth choice, knowing full well that even with a year left on his contract he would still sell for more than the £3.5m he cost way back in 2015.

Ultimately, FSG may decide that they have full faith in Gomez, and allow Spurs to land Gvardiol as a result. But he is a similarly head-turning talent to Díaz, and Liverpool will not want him to end up as the one that got away: perhaps Keïta holds the answer to the conundrum.

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Liverpool 'beat Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund' to 133-goal forward Virgil van Dijk called 'scary'

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 22:00

Liverpool's academy players returned to pre-season training on Monday, a week ahead of the senior team doing likewise in Kirkby, with the young starlets aiming to progress again in the new campaign.

For some, the first week spent with their age groups will lead into working with the senior group — Bobby Clark, for instance, is one that Pep Lijnders picked out as a strong possibility for that — with Mateusz Musialowski one of those hopeful of taking the next step too.

Modelling his game on Lionel Messi, Musialowski signed for Liverpool from Polish outfit SMS Łódź in the summer of 2020, having scored a reported 133 goals in 80 appearances for his former side at youth level. He then scored a brilliant solo goal on his debut against Crewe Alexandra in pre-season during a 5-0 victory.

READ MORE: Jürgen Klopp could be about to trial the 'next Virgil van Dijk' during Liverpool pre-season

READ MORE: Liverpool have already signed Jude Bellingham ‘stop-gap’ as FSG transfer stance explained

The Polish forward has trained with the first team previously (he, alongside the likes of Kaide Gordon and Tyler Morton, was with the senior team for pre-season in Austria a year ago and will expect to be involved at that level again) and he played in a behind-closed-doors friendly in March 2021 during an international break, where he impressed.

Last season, he scored a total of 10 goals in 26 appearances as he largely stepped up to U23 level, though he did suffer with at least one injury that hampered his campaign. There was a chunk of the season, around the mid-point, where Musialowski missed consecutive matches with a knock and his progression stuttered, but the raw talents remains.

He can play in any of the forward three positions (something Liverpool value highly) and is instinctive — his background away from a professional academy set-up as he grew up means he is still a little bit raw, having not been overly-coached.

That does not mean, though, that he does not fit in at Liverpool, where his talents have at various points impressed a wide range of observers. "Can we talk about [Musialowski’s] crossing?" said Virgil van Dijk during a training drill with Musialowski at the AXA Training Centre in January. "His crossing is magnificent. The consistency is scary!"

"When Musialowski played at Rakow Czestochowa, he drew some big clubs' attention," one Polish football expert told Liverpool.com. "He was involved in a Legia Warsaw football training camp but his parents weren't sure about the move to Warsaw.

"They chose SMS Łódź instead that's because he could commute to Łódź twice a week for training and then for the third time for a weekend's match.

"In Warsaw, it was out of the question — he would have to move in — so basically his parents had an influence on his first steps. There were later many indications that he would go to Arsenal, where he was tested on a few occasions but their academy coaches weren't sure whether to sign him or not.

"Maybe they were waiting too long because [football agency] Stellar Group stepped in and sent him to Liverpool."

Borussia Dortmund were also credited with an interest in Musialowski — sure-fire proof, usually, that a young player is heading on the right path — while Eden Hazard is another player who the 18-year-old has been compared with thanks to his dribbling ability.

Having signed his first professional contract in July 2021, a few months after wowing Liverpool supporters with a mazy dribble and finish against Newcastle United, now is the time for Musialowski to take the next step.

In the immediate term, that means staying fit and playing a part in pre-season. Longer term, that could well mean a loan move to develop his game and gain consistent senior minutes.

Turning 19 in October, Musialowski is at an age where the next step will be vital. This summer's pre-season should be a good clue as to what that might be.

**You can read more about Bobby Clark, another player profiled in our LFC Academy series, by clicking here.

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5 things we’re looking forward to from Liverpool’s 2022 pre-season

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 18:03

The break between last season and the next was a needed one, but with Jurgen Klopp‘s side on the cusp of their return, there is plenty to look forward to during pre-season.

Five weeks after Liverpool’s season came to a close in Paris, they will reconvene at Kirkby to commence their preparations for 2022/23.

It is to be a busy schedule for the Reds with just 33 days between the pre-season start on July 4 and their opening Premier League game at Fulham on August 6.

In that time, they will take trips to Thailand, Singapore, Austria, Germany and then make a return to England for two further games, making for another busy summer ahead.

With six friendlies confirmed, three new signings and a fresh start to go on a trophy charge once more, we’re not short of things to be excited about.

First sighting of the new trio

Liverpool love to get their business done early when they can, and we love it.

Fabio Carvalho, Darwin Nunez and Calvin Ramsay have all been added to the fold as the Reds acted proactively to land their targets, leaving fans to only be excited about what they will offer.

They each arrive with different expectations but all being on the younger end of the age spectrum ensures Klopp is not to expect the world from them straight away.

What will be interesting to see is where Carvalho starts initially, it is to be as part of the forward contingent so how will he gel with those around him and will we see a link-up with former Fulham teammate Harvey Elliott?

Then there is Ramsay, he’s likened himself to Trent Alexander-Arnold in the attacking aspect of his game and it is to be intriguing to see what he can offer and how soon we could potentially see him in competitive games.

And the soon-to-be club-record transfer Nunez, he’s more of a traditional forward that we’ve not turned to often but he looks to offer a new dynamic and the capacity for a system change…

A formation change?

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at the Stade de France ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a training session at the Stade de France ahead of the UEFA Champions League Final game between Liverpool FC and Real Madrid CF. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Speaking of system changes, we look set to get a glimpse at what Klopp has in store for us this season with tweaks certainly to come as a team can never stay stagnate.

Last season it was the “flexible right triangle” that was the obvious shift from the coaches and this time we could be headed for a look at a 4-2-3-1 formation.

We’ve seen it before throughout Klopp’s tenure but not with any consistency, but Nunez’s arrival could trigger a change as the Reds push for more unpredictability.

This could then answer our Carvalho question with the No. 10 role opening up, a position Roberto Firmino could also fill, as we’ve seen on occasion.

It’s a time for experimentation and with a host of players to be involved, Klopp will not be short on options to see his new plans come to life.

A young gem to shine

 Liverpool's Tyler Morton celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Tyler Morton celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate during the Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool FC Under-23's and West Ham United FC Under-23's at the Liverpool Academy. (Pic by Jessica Hornby/Propaganda)

There’s always at least one academy player that rises to the fore every summer, taking the chances provided and thriving as a result.

Last year, the likes of Tyler Morton, Owen Beck, Conor Bradley and Kaide Gordon worked shoulder to shoulder with the first team and they all then went on to make their debut during the season.

There is always the ethos at Anfield that if you’re good enough, you’re old enough and pre-season offers us that chance to see who could be next in line to give Klopp something to think about.

Could it be prolific under-18s forward Oakley Cannonier, Isaac Mabaya, Mateusz Musialowski, Stefan Bajcetic or a new youth recruit in Ben Doak?

Not long until we find out!

Steps for Jones and Elliott

The 2021/22 campaign was interrupted for both Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.

The former saw an eye injury force him to sit out for 12 games, while Elliott’s horror ankle injury sidelined him for nearly five months, offering a chance to start anew this coming season.

With another midfielder not expected to be added this summer, the pair will be asked to take another step up in their development and each has their own points to prove throughout pre-season.

Competition for places is fierce but both are more than worthy of a regular spot in Klopp’s XI, but Elliott will be eager to showcase his game-changing ability while Jones the continuation of his maturing game.

It’s far from make-or-break for either, but there is a real opportunity in pre-season for both to showcase that they can be readily turned to by the manager from the off.

The Reds back travelling the globe

 Liverpool's new captain captain Jordan Henderson at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport as the team arrive in Thailand for the start of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's new captain captain Jordan Henderson at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport as the team arrive in Thailand for the start of the club's preseason tour. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the pandemic having forced Liverpool to remain closer to home in recent years, they finally have the chance to travel beyond Europe this summer.

It is to see the club enjoy their first pre-season tour in three years and their first trip to the Far East since 2017, with Thailand and Singapore on the agenda this time around.

Man United await in the former on July 12 and Crystal Palace in the latter on July 15.

It is also a chance for a lot of the Liverpool players to have arrived since the start of the pandemic to feel how far support for the club travels, and it will be some sight.

For overseas supporters, it’s an incredible feeling to have your team come to where you are in the world and while it may only be a short trip, it is to be a memorable one for all involved.

A return to more normalcy is always welcome and this is just the ticket. Up the global Reds!

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Categories: LFC NEWS

Bellingham ‘more than interested’ in Reds move – Latest Liverpool FC News

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 16:49

Jude Bellingham is a name readily linked to Liverpool and he is ‘more than interested’ in a future move, while Neco Williams‘ price tag has Fulham holding back.

Bellingham’s ‘interest’ in a Liverpool move…

Liverpool’s search for a midfielder has been widely reported to be on the agenda for 2023, with Jude Bellingham’s name prominently featuring in that discussion.

The Reds do not want to settle and the 18-year-old would represent a long-term investment with Borussia Dortmund not to let him go on the cheap, not to mention wages.

But while Liverpool are one of many suitors for the young midfielder, would Bellingham himself be interested?

Well, Goal’s Neil Jones has reported that “it is understood the player would be more than interested in a move to Merseyside,” with only the figures behind the deal perhaps proving prohibitive for the Reds.

It’s a transfer that is on the wishlist of many Liverpool fans but a fee could be in the region of £100 million, with that only to rise with a successful season and World Cup campaign.

With Man United, Chelsea and Man City also among the suitors, it’s looking like a potential bidding war but having the player onside is always helpful.

As for other targets of interest, Jones namechecks Aston Villa‘s Carney Chukwuemeka, Inter’s Nicola Barella, PSV’s Ibrahim Sangare and Salzburg’s Luka Sucic as those also on the radar.

From that, it is clear that a young midfielder who can make an impact in the short and long term is on the agenda – but we can cross our fingers that it will, in fact, be Bellingham.

3 things today: Rumours squashed and any departees?

2EWWDP0 3rd March 2021; Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal; Taca De Portugal Football, FC Porto versus Braga; Otavio of FC Porto

  • Neco Williams has attracted interest from Fulham this summer but the newly promoted side are not ready to match Liverpool’s £15m valuation, not really a surprise!
  • Otavio links have “no truth” says Goal’s Neil Jones in a swift dismantling of recent rumours of Liverpool interest, probably just trying to drive Leeds‘ bid up!
  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is he staying or going? It’s a question that see the answer continually change, the latest is the Reds won’t stand in his way, but they have a £10m valuation.
Latest Liverpool FC news

  • Liverpool’s academy players are back for pre-season, starting a week earlier than the first team – and that means the first day for a new, familiar, coach!
  • Jurgen Klopp is “happy” with his Liverpool squad as it currently stands, with no further incomings expected. Are you just as happy?
  • And Ben Woodburn, the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer, is at Preston for a two-week trial – so badly want something to stick for the youngster!
Latest Transfer Talk

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson (R) and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Sadio Mane‘s PR agent has said that Lionel Messi wanted the former No. 10 at Barcelona as part of his negotiations to stay at Camp Nou – not sure if that was realistic, Lionel!
  • Gabriel Jesus will soon be an Arsenal player after agreeing a £45m deal and that cash is to go straight from Man City to Leeds for Kalvin Phillips – Leeds getting their best players poached now
  • Cristiano Ronaldo is deemed ‘not for sale’ by Man United as Chelsea have looked to tempt him to Stamford Bridge, you couldn’t blame him for jumping that ship…
Tweet of the day and match of the night

I mean, I’m not below looking for any sign that Bellingham is destined for Liverpool…

? pic.twitter.com/QbG8vVxIRF

— The Anfield Wrap (@TheAnfieldWrap) June 27, 2022

There’s a bit of League of Ireland Premier Division action tonight with St Patricks Athletic hosting Shamrock Rovers, the former is who Liverpool ‘keeper Vitezslav Jaros represented on loan last year!

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Jürgen Klopp could be about to trial the 'next Virgil van Dijk' during Liverpool pre-season

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 15:00

It's now just a week until Liverpool begin their preparations for the 2022/23 season.

Jürgen Klopp's squad will first regroup at the AXA training centre before they embark on tours to Asia and Europe ahead of their first 'competitive' fixture in England against Manchester City in the Community Shield.

The month prior to that game will be an opportunity for Klopp to integrate players into his squad and to trial new systems in order to renovate his Liverpool team. It will also be an opportunity for new and old faces to catch his eye and make a statement for themselves ahead of the season.

READ MORE: Liverpool can still seal ultimate Moneyball transfer in four days to complete Jürgen Klopp attack

READ MORE: Liverpool 'offer Naby Keïta as straight swap for £15m man' amid Mohamed Salah contract 'threat'

One such player who could be eager to make his mark on the team is 20-year-old Sepp van den Berg.

When he first arrived at the club as a 17-year-old, the Dutchman was compared to Virgil van Dijk due to his nationality and towering figure.

But it has taken a while for the youngster to settle at Anfield, and Van den Berg has rarely featured for the club's first team during his first three seasons at Liverpool.

That could change this summer though. Van den Berg spent last season on loan in the Championship at Preston North End and he stood out among his positional and age peers in terms of key metrics as we have already highlighted here.

His dominant performances both at centre-back and right-back for Preston may have caught the eye of Liverpool's coaching staff, and Van den Berg will know this could be his opportunity to showcase his progression to them first-hand during the first few weeks of pre-season.

While Liverpool are well-stocked in the centre-back department, Klopp has always been open to experimenting and giving opportunities to those who work hard, and if the Reds incur any injuries along the way, Van den Berg could see an instant promotion.

Last season, Harvey Elliott laid out the perfect template to follow for players coming back from Championship loans into the first team squad stepping up to show his skills in the first team during pre-season, and this time around Sepp van den Berg will be looking to make a similar impact.

Considering there has been relatively few murmurs about a move away from the club for now, it is likely that Klopp will give him an opportunity at least to show him he is ready for an increased role at the club.

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Liverpool academy players return for pre-season – with new coach starting first day

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 14:53

While Jurgen Klopp‘s first team will not start their preparations for the new season until next week, the academy players returned on Monday – and a new coach got his first day in the job.

After a relentless 2021/22 campaign, a summer break was much deserved by all but the new season is now nearly upon us and that makes for pre-season training.

The first team schedule is to see Liverpool contest at least six games before they travel to Fulham for the season opener, with Klopp expected to turn to a number of academy players.

Last year, the likes of Leighton Clarkson, Kaide Gordon, Owen Beck, Tyler Morton, Jake Cain and Conor Bradley seized their chance and others will hope to do the same this time around.

And the academy players have a head start, returning to Kirkby on Monday with their own pre-season friendlies to be on the billing ahead of both the under-21s and under-18s seeing their season get underway.

Former midfielder Jay Spearing is also to play his role this summer having joined the club in a dual player/coach role, combining game time with the U21s with full-time coaching for the U18s.

 Tranmere Rovers' Jay Spearing during the EFL Trophy Northern Group D match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Prenton Park. Tranmere Rovers won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Tranmere Rovers' Jay Spearing during the EFL Trophy Northern Group D match between Tranmere Rovers FC and Liverpool FC Under-21's at Prenton Park. Tranmere Rovers won 3-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The 33-year-old welcomed a “new chapter” – that started in typical English rain despite it being summer, offering a cool start to the new season for all at the academy.

Harvey Blair, one of seven academy debutants last season, was one of the young Reds to post his return to Kirkby on Instagram, ready to get “back to business.”

Barry Lewtas and Marc Bridge-Wilkinson oversee the U21s and U18s respectively and were also said to be joined by Pep Lijnders on Monday, with the assistant manager always keeping a close eye on the emerging talent.

And his keen eye could see a handful drafted into first-team training next week.

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Man City have already copied Liverpool transfer and Pep Guardiola may be set to repeat it again

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 13:00

The transfer window is in a frantic state already despite the international window having not even officially begun.

One of the major talking points from Liverpool's perspective so far has been the departure of Sadio Mané. The Liverpool icon has left the club for pastures new, joining Bayern Munich in an unprecedented deal.

Considering Mané's importance to this Liverpool side, having at times been the club's best player in the past six years, many have seen his departure as a sign of Liverpool's very own demise.

READ MORE: Liverpool can still seal ultimate Moneyball transfer in four days to complete Jürgen Klopp attack

READ MORE: Liverpool 'offer Naby Keïta as straight swap for £15m man' amid Mohamed Salah contract 'threat'

Those may have overlooked Mané's slight decline in the past two seasons or the fact that Liverpool have also significantly bolstered his departure with the arrivals of Darwin Núñez and Luis Díaz.

But perhaps what many have overlooked is that Liverpool are not alone in saying goodbye to key players this summer.

Manchester City have already parted company with Gabriel Jesus, and Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva could also be about to follow suit, leaving Pep Guardiola's side for a new challenge.

Manchester City may have added Erling Haaland and Julián Álvarez to their ranks but considering how integral the aforementioned trio have been to Guardiola, it cannot be argued that their departures will be felt just as much as Liverpool will feel the impact of Mané's absence.

In this regard, the two sides will have total parity once again, and the winner's from the window are not Liverpool or Manchester City, but rather those clubs who are trying to catch up with the two sides who have run away with the competition in the past few seasons.

The likes of Haaland and Núñez will likely need time to settle. After all, they are both young with exciting potential and represent the futures of the two clubs, but they are far from the finished articles. They also arrive in the Premier League with zero prior experience of English football.

Their signings and the departure of some of the two club's old guard means there is a metamorphosis undergoing at both Anfield and the Etihad this summer. Who will come out on top only time will tell, but it's going to be a fascinating season and one that will challenge both Guardiola and Jürgen Klopp.

All eyes will be on the two managers as we wait to see which one of them will prevail this time around.

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Liverpool’s youngest-ever goalscorer on trial at Preston after summer release

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 12:24

After being released by Liverpool, Ben Woodburn is now on the search for a new home and it has taken him to the Championship’s Preston North End.

The 22-year-old was one of seven players released by the club at the conclusion of last season, leaving the academy graduate with a permanent home to find.

Woodburn has spent the last few years on four different loan spells, including Sheffield United, Oxford, Blackpool and most recently Hearts, with the latter being the only remotely successful one.

It has seen his development take a hit, after being on the periphery of Jurgen Klopp‘s squad in 2016/17 and becoming the club’s youngest-ever goalscorer at 17 years and 45 days.

It makes for a pivotal summer for Woodburn and according to the Daily Mail, he is training with Preston as part of a two-week trial to “maintain his fitness” and “try and impress manager Ryan Lowe.”

 Sunday September 12, 2021.

 Sunday September 12, 2021.

Woodburn leaves Liverpool with 11 career appearances to his name, the last of which came in 2018, but it is with Hearts where he found the most consistency with 30 appearances across 2021/22.

And now another opportunity is before him at a club that saw Sepp van den Berg thrive over the course of his two loan spells.

Lancashire Live states that “there is scope for another attacking midfielder with creativity” for Preston this summer, but midfield is not “a priority position.”

Manager Lowe is a product of Liverpool’s academy and has readily provided opportunities for players to train with his team since arriving at Preston, with Woodburn now the latest.

And the hope is he soon finds somewhere he can settle and thrive.

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Liverpool have a new feeder club as perfect FSG transfer scenario will benefit Jürgen Klopp

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 11:30

Liverpool don’t formally have feeder clubs, but it is no secret that FSG have preferred shopping destinations. For a time, it was Southampton, whose blend of individual talent and high-intensity team approach under first Maurichio Pochettino and then Ronald Koeman led to a flurry of transfer activity. More recently, the Red Bull group has been identified as an ideal proving ground for future Jürgen Klopp players.

Since taking over from Michael Edwards, new Liverpool sporting director Julian Ward has shown a strong affinity for the Portuguese league. Having taken the lead on the Luis Díaz transfer, he then made Darwin Núñez his first solo marquee acquisition.

But while Porto and Benfica have seemingly become more viable options when scouting for talent, this is simply a reflection of FSG’s assessment of the strength of the division. There is nothing specific about playing in Portugal which automatically makes a player more suited to Liverpool.

READ MORE: Liverpool can still seal ultimate Moneyball transfer in four days to complete Jürgen Klopp attack

READ MORE: Liverpool 'offer Naby Keïta as straight swap for £15m man' amid Mohamed Salah contract 'threat'

This gives it a different status to the Red Bull setup. If a player is plying his trade for Salzburg or RB Leipzig, it is effectively a pre-check for Liverpool: there is a good chance that they will possess many of the attributes which Klopp cherishes, with the teams sharing similar broad-brush footballing philosophies. Add to that the youthfulness of the energy drink giant’s conveyor belt of talent, and picking off the cream of the crop is more or less recruitment on easy mode for FSG.

The major risk factor that remains on such transfer deals is trying to anticipate how a player will adapt to the Premier League. Particularly with Salzburg, there is a big step to factor in. Liverpool took that gamble with Takumi Minamino because of the low fee, and the impending 100 per cent profit will vindicate the move, but it was clear that the jump was a massive and difficult one for him to take.

Even with RB Leipzig, there is the dreaded ‘Bundesliga tax’. Chelsea have probably been burned the worst by this with Timo Werner, but Liverpool have felt it to some extent too. At the time the deal was struck, Naby Keïta was set to be the club’s record arrival. He has certainly had his moments at Anfield, and last season was his best campaign, but it is fair to say that he has not fully lived up to his expectations or price tag.

What FSG really needs is a Red Bull team in the Premier League. And while that won’t happen any time soon, they might just have got the next best thing.

Leeds United hired Jesse Marsch in February, and he quickly set about seeking to implement the philosophy he used at first Red Bull Salzburg and then Leipzig. Now overseeing his first transfer window, he is gearing up for an almighty raid on his former clubs.

Brenden Aaronson has already agreed a deal to join directly from Salzburg. According to a report from the Mail, Marsch is far from finished. Mohamed Camara, a teammate of Aaronson’s in Austria, is on the radar as a Kalvin Phillips replacement. Meanwhile, Tyler Adams from RB Leipzig is also wanted at Elland Road.

Aged 21, 22 and 23 respectively, these are players Liverpool would not typically gamble on directly, particularly in the case of the Salzburg personnel. FSG always seek to minimise risk, and predicting how players will adapt from the Austrian Bundesliga is far from an exact science. However, if they can prove themselves in the Premier League, playing an intense brand of football, Klopp could have some ready-made future stars.

After all, Sadio Mané was arguably the start of the Red Bull flirtation at Liverpool, having come through at Salzburg and then proved himself at Southampton. He was the link player between the old and new FSG feeder club of choice. Now, Ward and his team will have a steady conveyor belt of players following the Mané path.

The major problem is that Premier League performance brings with it Premier League prices. If Klopp particularly likes the look of any former Red Bull players at Leeds, the owners will certainly have to cough up. But as FSG proved with Núñez, they are more than ready to do that on the right player. Far more pertinent is the fact that Leeds have one of the league’s smallest wage bills — Liverpool will be able to attract their top talent without breaking their salary structure.

Marsch struggled in his first months in charge at Elland Road, so it could be that the informal development of ‘Red Bull Leeds’ flops. Maybe nobody will catch Klopp’s eye. But in creating a Premier League testing ground for young talents from within the system so admired by FSG, Leeds have undoubtedly handed Liverpool a potential transfer boost.

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Jurgen Klopp “happy” with Liverpool squad – likely no more incomings

ThisIsAnfield.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 11:26

Liverpool have added three senior figures to the squad this summer and with Jurgen Klopp “happy” with his squad, further incomings are not expected to be on the horizon.

It’s a line that has become familiar following the arrival of Calvin Ramsay, Liverpool’s third signing of the summer after the additions of Fabio Carvalho and Darwin Nunez.

Liverpool’s business has addressed multiple needs in the squad, leaving Klopp “happy with what he’s got,” according to the Athletic‘s James Pearce.

The response of many to that line by those of a Reds persuasion is, what about a midfielder?

It’s a need that has been said will be addressed next summer, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham readily named as a target that could then become available.

Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni was a target this summer but opted for Real Madrid as his destination of choice, but the Reds were not to be in a €100 million deal race.

 England's substitute Jude Bellingham during the pre-match warm-up before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group I match between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium. England won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 England's substitute Jude Bellingham during the pre-match warm-up before the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Qualifying Group I match between England and Albania at Wembley Stadium. England won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The club is not to settle for “second-best or a stop-gap” in their midfield search, leaving the “Anfield hierarchy” to indicate that the trio of signings is “likely to be it in terms of incomings.”

It’s far from unusual for Liverpool to bide their time for the right signing, one needs only to look at the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate as examples.

The caveat to the wait, as always, is that it will only change if “an attractive proposition emerges in the coming weeks.”

The Reds certainly have the bodies in midfield with eight current senior options, while a switch to a 4-2-3-1 would also change how Klopp utlisises his assets in the middle of the park.

It was an area of the pitch that was readily rotated last season across the 63 games and the expectation will be the same for this coming season.

And while their by clamour in some circles for more new faces, Klopp’s previous words on the transfer window will no doubt remain relevant:

“We cannot buy because other teams buy, we cannot buy because everybody wants us to, we can buy if we have the money for it and if we have the need for it.”

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Can Liverpool’s midfield still excel without fresh blood?

the Athletic - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 05:18

The Liverpool squad will report back for the start of pre-season training next Monday. Five days later, they will embark on a week-long tour of the Far East.

Uruguay striker Darwin Nunez, who was signed from Benfica for a fee which could rise to a club-record £85 million, will be the star attraction.

Jurgen Klopp is also relishing the prospect of getting to work with fellow new boys Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsay. Carvalho will provide an exciting injection of attacking quality following his £7.7 million move from Fulham, while fellow teenager Ramsey arrived from Aberdeen in a £6.5 million deal. The Scottish full-back will give Klopp high-calibre cover for Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Sadio Mane, Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino have already left Liverpool, with Neco Williams, who has attracted strong interest from Fulham and Nottingham Forest, set to follow.

The Anfield hierarchy have indicated that’s likely to be it in terms of incomings. Klopp is happy with what he’s got. The club’s priorities in the transfer market have already been addressed by new sporting director Julian Ward.

However, there is one remaining area of the squad that could arguably still do with being strengthened.

A year ago, many supporters were concerned when Georginio Wijnaldum wasn’t replaced following his departure on a free transfer to Paris Saint-Germain. Now, a similar debate is raging about Klopp’s midfield options.

Liverpool’s stance was vindicated last summer as they embarked on a remarkable campaign which saw them win both domestic cups and narrowly miss out on both Premier League and Champions League glory. The question is: can they hit those heights again without some fresh blood in the centre of the park?

For Klopp and Ward, it’s a case of finding the right midfielder at the right price rather than settling for second-best or a stop-gap. As a result, they are prepared to wait until 2023 unless an attractive proposition emerges in the coming weeks.

It’s no secret that Liverpool held a strong interest in Monaco’s Aurelien Tchouameni but they always knew his preference was to sign for Real Madrid. The €100 million price tag was also prohibitive.

England international Jude Bellingham is admired by Klopp and the club’s recruitment staff, but they know signing him this summer isn’t realistic with Borussia Dortmund having already lost Erling Haaland to Manchester City. Bellingham’s contract runs until 2025.

So where does that leave Liverpool?

Certainly, numbers-wise, Klopp isn’t short. He has eight senior midfielders in Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Thiago, Naby Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Carvalho’s long-term future is expected to be in midfield, although initially he’s set to get opportunities further forward. The arrival of Nunez gives Klopp greater freedom to switch to playing 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2 at times, having long since favoured a 4-3-3 system. The manager wants an element of unpredictability.

Midfield was the department where Klopp rotated the most during a gruelling season which spanned 63 games in all competitions.

Liverpool midfield

The most common midfield he picked was made up of Fabinho, Henderson and Thiago. They started 11 times together in 2021-22. When fit, they were Klopp’s first-choice unit.

Thiago excelled when he was available and was deservedly named in the PFA Team of the Year, although injuries and illness meant the 31-year-old Spain international was only involved in 25 out of 38 league games.

Fabinho, Henderson and Keita started five times together — the same as the trio of Fabinho, Henderson and Jones. Elliott would have been more heavily involved but for the serious ankle injury he suffered against Leeds United last September. He’s expected to play a much bigger role in 2022-23.

Liverpool

Henderson, who recently turned 32, played more minutes than any other Liverpool midfielder last season. The long-serving captain clocked up 3,869 in all competitions. Fabinho (3,690) was next, followed by Thiago (2,381), Keita (2,083), Jones (1,528), Oxlade-Chamberlain (1,524) and Milner (1,387).

In terms of attacking contributions, Fabinho led the way in terms of goals with eight, while Henderson provided the most assists with six. Thiago and Milner were top in terms of assists per 90 minutes with 0.19.

Earlier this month, Milner signed a new one-year deal to extend his Liverpool career beyond his 37th birthday. He featured in 39 games in 2021-22 (25 as a substitute) and Klopp has made it clear he hasn’t just been retained because of the example he sets in the dressing room.

“A lot is often made of James’ leadership skills and his influence in the dressing room, and of course, that’s correct and justified, but nobody should overlook his quality on the pitch, where he continues to perform to a level that meant we simply couldn’t afford to lose him,” says Klopp. “We had the longest campaign possible last season and Millie only got stronger and better, and more influential as it went on.”

Liverpool

It was another stop-start year for Keita. The Guinea international made some vital contributions, particularly in the second half of the season, but had to settle for a late cameo off the bench in the Champions League final defeat to Real Madrid.

Keita actually played more in the Premier League in 2021-22 than in any season since 2018-19, but that was still represented only 34.3 per cent of the club’s minutes. He made 14 top-flight starts. That figure would have been slightly higher but for the Africa Cup of Nations.

Liverpool are in the process of trying to agree a new contract with Keita, whose deal runs out next summer. The 27-year-old’s battle to live up to his £52.75 million transfer fee on a regular basis is ongoing but Klopp’s faith in him remains.

Liverpool

One midfielder who could move on this summer is Oxlade-Chamberlain. Liverpool won’t stand in his way if the right opportunity comes up for him to secure regular game time elsewhere. The 28-year-old, who has a year left on his contract, is valued at around £10 million.

Having played just 7.4 per cent of the club’s top-flight minutes in 2020-21, that figure climbed to 23 per cent last season. However, he still hasn’t played more than a third of the minutes for Liverpool in the Premier League since 2019-20.

Oxlade-Chamberlain made 29 appearances in all competitions in 2021-22 (12 as a sub) but fell increasingly out of favour and didn’t feature again following the FA Cup tie win at Nottingham Forest in March. What happens next depends to a large degree on what other options emerge for him. If he starts pre-season brightly, then Oxlade-Chamberlain may decide he’s better off staying put and backing himself to force his way into Klopp’s plans.

If Liverpool don’t sign a midfielder, then many fans will view his potential departure as a risk. Klopp would be heavily reliant on Fabinho, Thiago and Henderson staying injury-free, Keita progressing, Milner continuing to defy the ageing process, as well as Elliott and Jones stepping up and fulfilling their rich potential.

(Top photos: Getty Images)

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Liverpool transfer of 'next Bernardo Silva' makes sense as bid 'expected' for £38m playmaker

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 03:00

Liverpool doing more transfer business this summer is considered unlikely with the club likelier to wait until 2023 before more big moves are made — but nothing can be completely ruled out.

In January, no one expected that the Reds would be busy right until the last few days of the window. They splashed a potential £49m on Luis Díaz and attempted to bring in Fulham starlet Fábio Carvalho — a move that ultimately happened a few months later.

The deal for Díaz came out of the blue even to Liverpool, who had intended on signing the Colombian this summer, but their hand was forced when Tottenham and West Ham entered the picture for the Porto man, and Michael Edwards and Julian Ward pounced.

READ MORE:Cristiano Ronaldo has just proven Liverpool right again as Virgil van Dijk transfer reality clear

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In this transfer window, another few Porto players have been linked with moves to Anfield. Fábio Vieira was a mooted target before he moved to Arsenal for a fee of around £34m, and forward Evanilson has other Premier League interest too.

Attacking midfielder Otávio is the latest name to be linked with a transfer to Liverpool, with Porto said to be anticipating a bid from the Reds this week.

With a £51m release clause, Otávio, who was also linked with Liverpool last summer, is supposedly valued at £38m. Leeds United have made an offer of £26m that was rejected as they prepare to lose Raphinha, while Porto are said, according to the Daily Mirror, to be 'expecting' Liverpool to make an offer within £4m of the player's asking price in the coming days.

Otávio can play off the right-hand side or as a number 10. In a Liverpool team playing 4-3-3, he could also slot in as a more creative option as a number eight.

His numbers are excellent, too. The Portugal international is in the 95th percentile for shot-creating actions compared to other attacking midfielders across Europe's top five leagues.

Meanwhile, he is in the 99th percentile for both pressures and tackles, and the 86th for aerial duels won. In terms of progressive passing, Otávio is in the 92nd percentile, making him a player with incision and quality.

That kind of creativity and ability to pop up all over the field, while also being defensively diligent, is similar almost to Bernardo Silva at Manchester City — his international teammate who has made himself the ultimate, unplayable modern midfielder.

FBref places Otávio most stylistically similar to West Ham's Pablo Fornals — another midfielder in the same relentless but hugely talented mould — but the 27-year-old has much more quality, shown by his 19 goal contributions (five goals and 14 assists), including in the Champions League, last season.

Whether there is any interest in Otávio or not, and whether that potential interest is ever firmed up, remains to be seen. But if, for example, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was moved on this summer, Otávio could be the ideal upgrade.

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Cristiano Ronaldo has just proven Liverpool right again as Virgil van Dijk transfer reality clear

Liverpool.com - Mon, 06/27/2022 - 01:00

Of all the elite clubs in European football, Liverpool may be the strongest when it comes to recruitment. That’s why there’s a developing tug-of-war over Michael Edwards, who’s recently left his post as the Reds’ sporting director.

A graphic circulated on Twitter last week rammed the point home. Posted by The Sportsman, it displayed the 10 most expensive transfers in Premier League history.

Manchester City man Jack Grealish (£106m) leads the way, followed by Chelsea’s Romelu Lukaku (£102m) and Manchester United trio Paul Pogba (£95m), Harry Maguire (£78m), Jadon Sancho (£77m).

READ MORE:Erling Haaland incites Liverpool transfer warning worth £45m amid fresh Jürgen Klopp challenge

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Then it’s Lukaku again, this time his £76m move from Everton to Manchester United in 2017, with Virgil van Dijk (£75m) the only Liverpool representative on the list at number seven. Chelsea duo Kai Havertz and Kepa Arrizabalaga, along with Arsenal’s Nicolas Pépé, round out the list at £72m apiece.

The Sportsman made the case that ‘Van Dijk is the only player worth splashing the cash for here’, and it’s hard to argue with that assessment right now.

In the cases of Grealish, Sancho and Havertz, the jury is admittedly still out. But in truth, they may have already returned their verdicts on Maguire, Pépé and Arrizabalaga.

Pogba, meanwhile, is about to leave English football. Having reached the end of his contract, he’s headed back to Juventus. After six largely unconvincing seasons, he departs United on a free transfer.

Lukaku is also returning to his former Serie A club. But the difference is that he only lasted 12 months at Chelsea, starting just 16 Premier League games and failing to reach double figures for goals. Inter Milan will soon confirm the loan deal.

And now, a year on from his much-heralded arrival for a second stint at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo is looking at possible exit routes.

According to The Athletic, Ronaldo’s agent Jorge Mendes has discussed a potential transfer to Chelsea with the Blues’ new owner Todd Boehly. Officials at Bayern Munich are believed to have held similar talks.

Ronaldo still has a year left on his United contract but has apparently grown concerned that the Red Devils aren’t matching his ambition.

The 37-year-old’s comeback tour hasn’t been an unmitigated failure. Many have defended the signing on the grounds that Ronaldo top-scored last season with 24 goals, but focusing on that figure alone is reductive. The reality is that he hasn’t improved Manchester United.

He may have cost far less than Pogba and Lukaku (around £20m including add-ons) but it was still a similar deal in that it was seemingly designed to make a statement.

The Pogba and Lukaku signings were a means of resolving unfinished business after they left United and Chelsea as youngsters and flourished elsewhere.

While Ronaldo was undoubtedly one of the greatest players in football history at his peak, it’s hard to argue this was a pure sporting decision from United. It was also driven by the sentiment — the chance to ‘bring him home’ — and the vast marketing potential. With Ronaldo angling for a way out of Juventus and negotiating with Manchester City, they felt they had to act. It was clear at the outset that he would be a passenger out of possession, but that didn’t seem to be a serious consideration.

Liverpool, though, avoid this kind of business. The only real superstar they’ve signed in the Jürgen Klopp era is Thiago, and crucially, he makes them better. Among all the players with at least 10 Premier League starts for the Reds last season, only Luis Díaz could better his points-per-game record.

Michael Edwards, and his successor Julian Ward, have signed players based on their profile rather than their name. Not only is it thrifty — there’s a reason Liverpool only feature once in the top 10 and don’t make the top six — it’s also proven to be much more effective.

Indeed, the Reds will see the Pogba and Lukaku deals, and Ronaldo’s potential exit, as vindication. They simply don’t make these costly mistakes.

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Erling Haaland incites Liverpool transfer warning worth £45m amid fresh Jürgen Klopp challenge

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 22:00

The news in May that Manchester City had signed Erling Haaland was ominous not only for Liverpool, but for the rest of the Premier League too.

“How much better does he make them? A lot!” Jürgen Klopp said in the days after the announcement. “Unfortunately, he's a really good signing.”

But there were crumbs of comfort for the Reds. Believe it or not, the signing has its drawbacks too. For example, City won’t be able to play with the same fluidity as their title-winning 2021/22 side. Their build-up play may actually be easier to defend against.

READ MORE:Jürgen Klopp change can unlock best of true Liverpool playmaker after 'easy' Real Madrid hint

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Beyond that, the £51m signing opened up the possibility of one or two high-profile departures. And sure enough, it emerged on Friday that Arsenal had agreed a £45m deal to sign Gabriel Jesus.

Jesus’ tally of 13 goals last season may seem unspectacular, but it included strikes against RB Leipzig, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Chelsea and indeed Liverpool. He was a big-game player for Pep Guardiola’s side.

And he also provided 12 assists for the Cityzens last term, a tally bettered only by Kevin de Bruyne (14).

In fact, over the course of his Premier League career to date, he’s scored one or set one up every 103 minutes on average. Even playing for a side as good as City, that’s an impressive record.

Jesus is only 25 years old, yet to reach his absolute peak. In sum, he’s an outstanding forward in his own right, and it’s no wonder that two of last season’s top four in Chelsea and Spurs also expressed an interest.

So while City fans may now be realising that the Haaland deal carries consequences, Jesus’ move might foreshadow a potential problem for Liverpool too.

The Brazilian is, positionally speaking, fairly similar to one of the Reds’ forwards — Diogo Jota. Both are capable of playing through the middle as well as out wide.

And after City swooped for Haaland, Liverpool brought in Darwin Núñez from Benfica. Only 13 months older than the Norwegian, he too is one of Europe’s elite young strikers.

If all goes to plan — and these clubs very rarely miss when it comes to recruitment — then both players will establish themselves as superstar no. 9s for the next 10 years or so.

Jesus seemingly accepted this reality, and chose to pursue a greater role elsewhere. He doesn’t want to end up in Haaland’s shadow, and knows he can do himself justice as the main man at Arsenal.

Similarly, it feels unlikely that Jota will accept playing second fiddle to Núñez, or indeed Luis Díaz.

After scoring 34 goals in his first 84 appearances for Liverpool — one every 154 minutes — he too will know that he’s good enough to be starting week-in, week-out for an elite side.

Even after the departure of Sadio Mané, Klopp retains some enviable attacking depth, but with that luxury comes challenges.

The gap between Núñez and Jota is perhaps slightly smaller than the gap between Jesus and Haaland, with the Uruguayan a little less polished than the Norwegian at this stage.

But after a potential club-record outlay, the long-term expectation is that Núñez will very much make the centre-forward role his own.

How, then, does Klopp manage Jota? Well, he has to be true to form. Opportunities will inevitably arise for the 25-year-old through rotation, and if he demonstrates that he’s in a better vein of form than Núñez or Díaz, it should then be his place to lose.

If there’s genuine competition, then Jota will be more inclined to stay, but if he feels he’s a mere back-up player, then he might have his head turned by what would surely be a lengthy queue of suitors. Maintaining a meritocracy is key, and Pep Guardiola will be aware of that too.

Núñez’s arrival symbolically lays down the gauntlet for Jota, who knows he must improve. But it also poses a challenge for Klopp, who will want to hold onto a ruthlessly effective forward option.

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Ranking Michael Edwards’ top 20 deals for Liverpool FC

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 18:00

As Michael Edwards bids farewell to Liverpool, we look back on some of the remarkable transfer deals he oversaw during his time as the club’s sporting director.

For years, Liverpool’s player was recruitment extremely hit and miss, with no obvious strategy.

And one year after Jurgen Klopp‘s appointment, Edwards, having already been at the club as technical director, was officially appointed sporting director.

When it was made official, Klopp said “it was no secret” that he enjoyed working together with a figure in this role, having done so with great success at Borussia Dortmund.

Edwards’ work was truly transformative. It was his transfer business, alongside Klopp’s work on the pitch, that has brought the glory days back to Liverpool.

Here, we rank his top 20 transfer deals as Liverpool’s sporting director.

20. Making money on Bobby Duncan

 Liverpool's Bobby Duncan during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Bobby Duncan during a pre-season friendly match between Bradford City AFC and Liverpool FC at Valley Parade. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bobby Duncan – To Fiorentina – £1.8m

In one of the most bizarre transfer sagas in Liverpool’s recent history, Edwards managed to convince Fiorentina to sign Duncan, who pushed for a move away from the club in 2019.

Duncan’s representative, Saif Rubie, had claimed the club were “mentally bullying” the young striker. Liverpool dismissed Rubie’s accusations as “unfounded,” but claims Duncan was suffering with mental health issues were taken seriously.

The young striker failed to impress in Italy and is now on the books at Derby County, who are also now keen to move him on.

19. Bringing the ‘Greek Scouser’ to Anfield

 Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Kostas Tsimikas celebrates with the trophy after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Kostas Tsimikas – From Olympiakos – £11.75m

In the summer of 2020, Edwards and his team prioritised the signing of a left-back to ease the burden on Andy Robertson.

There were reported to have been attempts to sign Jamal Lewis from Norwich City, but it was Tsimikas who eventually arrived, after an impressive domestic and European campaign with Olympiakos.

‘The Greek Scouser’ or ‘The Scouser Greek’ as he prefers to be known, since scoring the winning penalty in the 2022 FA Cup final, has fully embraced his role as Robertson’s deputy and would be an excellent first-choice option for pretty much any other club in Europe.

18. Making decent return on Camacho

 Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio Comunale di Frattamaggiore. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Rafael Camacho during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio Comunale di Frattamaggiore. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Rafael Camacho – To Sporting CP – £5m rising to £7m

Portuguese wideman Camacho, who joined the Reds’ youth ranks from Man City in 2016, was, by all means, a talented young player, and made two first-team appearances at right-back in 2018/19.

He was, however, reluctant to play in that position in the long term, and refused to sign a new contract with the Reds.

One year before his deal expired, Edwards struck an agreement with Sporting that would see Camacho return to his homeland for a fee in the region of £7m. It also included a 20 percent sell-on clause and a buy-back option.

To date, Camacho has only made 26 appearances for the Portuguese outfit and was loaned out to both Rio Ave and Belenenses in 2021/22, with another temporary move expected for 2022/23.

17. Double money on Minamino

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Takumi Minamino celebrates with the trophy after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Takumi Minamino – From Red Bull Salzburg – £7.25m

Signing Minamino for a fee as little as £7.25m was a no-brainer. Much was made of the fact Liverpool had swooped in for him after his impressive Champions League showing for Salzburg in 2019, but the Reds had already done the groundwork on a deal before then.

Indeed, reports suggested that while other clubs – such as Man United – showed interest, they didn’t know about the Japenese’s release clause, which the Reds took advantage of.

Minamino never nailed down a regular first-team spot, but in truth, many didn’t really expect him to. He scored some vital goals in 2021/22 and was the club’s top scorer in the FA Cup and League Cup.

Now, Minamino is to join Monaco for a reported fee of £15.4m, meaning the Reds have more than doubled their money. Smart business indeed.

16. Waiting for Konate

 Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates his side's fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté celebrates his side's fifth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Ibrahima Konate – From RB Leipzig – £36m

One of the hallmarks of Edwards’ Liverpool business has been waiting for the right player. In 2020/21, when the Reds suffered a defensive injury crisis, many wanted to see the club spend big on a centre-back midway through the season.

In reality, Liverpool would have known exactly the centre-back they wanted. Konate was that player but was unavailable in the January transfer window.

The Reds were prepared to bide their time, paying the Frenchman’s £36m release clause the following summer. After an impressive first season, there’s every chance it will go on to become one of the best signings of the Edwards era.

15. Gazumping Tottenham for Diaz

 Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Luis Díaz celebrates after scoring the first equalising goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Luis Diaz – From FC Porto – £50m

If ever there was a move to signify the power of Liverpool FC in 2022, this was it. Edwards had reportedly identified Diaz as a top target for the summer 2022 transfer window, so when Tottenham ramped up their efforts to sign him in January, the Reds swooped in, leaving Daniel Levy completely helpless.

Julian Ward, Edwards’ replacement as sporting director, is said to have been the key negotiator in the deal to bring Diaz to Anfield, with Edwards slowly beginning to hand over the baton, with a view to leaving in the summer.

Diaz hit the ground running, and then some, and could be a main figurehead in this Liverpool team for years to come. Savvy moves once more.

14. Signing world-class midfielder for fraction of real value

 Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool poses for a photo with their Playstation player of the match award after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield on April 27, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

 Thiago Alcantara of Liverpool poses for a photo with their Playstation player of the match award after the UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One match between Liverpool and Villarreal at Anfield on April 27, 2022 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Thiago – From Bayern Munich – £25m

In many ways, Liverpool’s decision to sign Thiago went against the grain of the typical Edwards signing. At 29, the midfield maestro was very much at the peak of his powers when the Reds came calling.

The Spaniard had been expected to sign a new deal with Bayern, where he won the Champions League in his final season but was enticed by the idea of a new challenge under Klopp.

With a year left on his contract, Liverpool were able to secure Thiago‘s services for £25m, probably about a third of his market value – not to mention that included an initial outlay of just £5m!

13. Collecting £12.5m for a back-up goalkeeper

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward in the rain during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, the 231st Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Danny Ward in the rain during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool, the 231st Merseyside Derby, at Goodison Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Ward – To Leicester City – £12.5m

In the summer of 2018, Liverpool’s goalkeeping options were as messy as they’d ever been. Loris Karius had just cost the Reds the Champions League with two dreadful errors, Simon Mignolet was in and out of the team and Ward was another who had failed to convince.

As the season approached, reports emerged suggesting Ward was in line for a chance as Liverpool’s No. 1, but with Alisson joining shortly afterwards, that may well have been a ploy to attract interest.

Indeed, Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City came calling. Edwards negotiated an excellent deal worth £12.5m and a 20 percent sell-on clause. Ward has played second fiddle to the Foxes’ first-choice option Kasper Schmeichel ever since.

12. Banking £20m for a player with 2 serious knee injuries

 Liverpool's Danny Ings during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Danny Ings during the preseason friendly match between Liverpool FC and Torino FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Danny Ings – To Southampton – £20m (Loan with obligation)

Ings arrived at Liverpool under Rodgers, costing the Reds an initial £6.5m after a tribunal, but his time at Anfield was hampered by two serious knee injuries.

Klopp was an admirer of his work-ethic and finishing ability, but he was never expected to become a regular starter.

In the summer of 2018, Southampton came calling, with Edwards negotiating an initial loan deal that would result in a £20m permanent move the following year.

11. A cut price deal for future gem

 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates with a smoke bomb after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates with a smoke bomb after the Football League Cup Final match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties after a goal-less draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Harvey Elliott – From Fulham – £4.3m

As the youngest player in Premier League history, Europe’s elite were on guard when it emerged Harvey Elliott had rejected a new contract with Fulham in 2019.

It soon became clear, though, that Liverpool was the only place Elliott wanted to be, having come from a family of lifelong Reds.

Edwards used that to the club’s advantage and fought off interest from the likes of Real Madrid. The Reds would end up paying just £4.3m for Elliott after a tribunal, a steal for a midfielder who looks set to light up Anfield for years to come.

10. The Jota/Hoever trade off

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal\ during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Diogo Jota celebrates after scoring the first goal\ during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Diogo Jota – From Wolves – £45m
Ki-Jana Hoever – To Wolves – £13.5m

Some eyebrows were raised when it emerged the Reds had put together a deal worth £45m for Jota, a player who showed glimpses of immense talent at Wolves but never really on a consistent basis.

In typical Edwards fashion, the deal was done totally under the radar. There were no competitors for Jota’s signature and the forward has been a revelation since his arrival at Anfield.

Hoever, a youngster who had shown promise, but was unlikely to emerge as a first-team player, was an added sweetener.

The Dutchman arrived from Ajax for £90,000 in 2018 and ended up leaving in a deal that could end up costing Wolves £13.5m. Edwards at his best.

9. Selling Red without topflight appearance for £23.5m

 Liverpool's substitute Rhian Brewster during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

 Liverpool's substitute Rhian Brewster during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

Rhian Brewster – To Sheffield United – £23.5m

By all accounts, Brewster looked a Premier League star in the making when he was rising through Liverpool’s academy ranks. Injury halted his progress, but a successful loan with Swansea City meant he was a man in demand in the summer of 2020.

Sheffield United, who had enjoyed an excellent first season in the Premier League with Chris Wilder, made Brewster their top target.

Edwards drove a hard bargain and ended up securing a deal worth £23.5m for the striker, the Blades’ club-record signing, with Liverpool retaining a buy-back option for the next three seasons.

In what was a dismal season for the Blades, Brewster failed to score a single goal in his first campaign with the club and is now plying his trade with them in the Championship.

8. Lifting spirits with elite signing after Real heartbreak

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho – From Monaco – £43.7m

When Liverpool were beaten in horrible fashion in the 2018 Champions League final, everyone needed a lift. Days later, Fabinho was doing the Melwood lean, the top-class holding midfielder Klopp’s team needed.

The Brazilian would go on to play a key role in the Reds sealing European redemption one year later, before lifting the Premier League, Club World Cup, Super Cup, League Cup and FA Cup in the years to come.

A surprise signing at the time that now sees £43.7m look a snip.

7. Landing £26m for a Klopp outcast

 Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Derby County during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Mamadou Sakho in action against Derby County during the FA Premier League 2 Under-23 match at Pride Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mamadou Sakho – To Crystal Palace – £26m

Having made 80 appearances over his first three campaigns at Liverpool, Sakho was exiled by Klopp following a series of transgressions towards the end of 2015/16.

After an initial loan move to Selhurst Park, Edwards negotiated a £26m permanent switch.

Sakho spent four seasons in South London before returning to his homeland with Montpellier in 2021.

6. Signing the best goalkeeper on the planet

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates his side's fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker celebrates his side's fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. Liverpool won 5-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alisson – From Roma – £65m

Alisson was another player Edwards and Klopp believed was worth the wait, and they were absolutely right. Having initially been priced out of a deal by Roma, Liverpool pounced when it emerged the Brazilian would be available for £65m.

At the time it was a world-record fee for a goalkeeper, but he’s been worth every penny and more.

The best goalkeeper on the planet plays for Liverpool and it’s all thanks to Edwards.

5. Making a £14m profit on Solanke

 Liverpool's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dominic Solanke – From Chelsea – £5m
To Bournemouth – £19m
Profit: £14m

Having been a prolific goalscorer for Chelsea at youth level, Dominic Solanke was an intriguing addition to Klopp’s ranks when he arrived in 2017.

He would end up costing the Reds around £5m after a tribunal, with Edwards knowing there was every chance the club would make a profit on the Englishman should he not fulfil his potential.

That would prove to be the case, with Bournemouth agreeing to pay around £19m to secure Solanke’s services in January 2019.

Another Edwards masterstroke, especially when you consider who then arrived for less than that figure!

4. Signing the world’s best defender

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Virgil van Dijk – From Southampton – £75m

The signing that transformed Klopp’s Liverpool team. While outsiders scoffed at the £75m fee Liverpool paid to secure Van Dijk, Edwards was in no doubt that this was good business for the club. How right he was, too.

Having tried and failed to sign the Dutchman in the summer of 2017, Liverpool were prepared to bide their time to acquire their number one target. He was certainly worth the wait.

Van Dijk has been integral to all of Liverpool’s success in recent years and remains the most complete defender in the game.

3. Signing Salah for half the price of Maguire

 Wednesday December 1, 2021.

 Wednesday December 1, 2021.

Mohamed Salah – From Roma – £36.9m

Another signing everyone questioned and another Edwards got absolutely spot on. Klopp has developed Salah into one of the very best players on the planet, something nobody saw coming when he arrived at Anfield in 2017.

The Egyptian will go down as one of the very best goalscorers in the club’s history. Edwards saw something in Salah that simply nobody else did, and for that, Liverpool fans will be eternally grateful.

2. Effectively swapping Stewart for Robertson

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 240th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Andy Robertson celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 240th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by Lindsey Parneby/Propaganda)

Andy Robertson – From Hull City – £8m
Kevin Stewart – To Hull City – £4m rising to £8m

Many were underwhelmed when it emerged that the club had identified Robertson as the left-back they wanted to compete with Alberto Moreno in 2017.

Yet again, Edwards had seen potential in the Scotsman that nobody else had picked up on. The Scotsman has since developed into the best left-back in the world during his time at Anfield.

The remarkable deal that saw Robertson arrive at the club makes this one even better. Edwards got a deal wrapped up for £8m, with inexperienced midfielder Kevin Stewart moving in the other direction for a similar figure. Crazily good business.

1. Transforming club with sale of Coutinho

 Liverpool's captain Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's captain Philippe Coutinho Correia during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool and West Bromwich Albion at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Philippe Coutinho – To Barcelona – £142m

Nobody wanted to see Philippe Coutinho leave Liverpool, Edwards included, so when Barcelona made him their No. 1 target in January 2018, the Reds’ sporting director ensured he negotiated a package that would ultimately turn the sale of the club’s best player into an overwhelming positive.

Coutinho left for £142m, money which paid for the game-changing signings of both Alisson and Van Dijk. The Brazilian’s time at Camp Nou couldn’t have gone worse, reflected by the fact he is now playing for Aston Villa and Barcelona are completely crippled.

Edwards also negotiated a clause into the deal that stopped Barca from poaching any more of Liverpool’s players for three years, with Roberto Firmino believed to be of interest at the time.

A transfer that ruined Barcelona and brought the glory days back to Liverpool.

And a few that didn’t make the cut

 Liverpool's Jordon Ibe looks dejected after the 1-1 draw with FC Girondins de Bordeaux the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jordon Ibe looks dejected after the 1-1 draw with FC Girondins de Bordeaux the UEFA Europa League Group Stage Group B match at the Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s worth pointing out that, while Edwards wasn’t officially made sporting director until November 2016, he will have played a key role in the business done during the 2016 summer transfer window, in his role as technical director.

Edwards will have played a part in the deals that saw Bournemouth spend a whopping £21m on Jordon Ibe and Brad Smith, with Crystal Palace splashing £32m on Christian Benteke and Joe Allen sold to Stoke City for £15m in the same window.

Joel Matip arrived on a free transfer (surely one of the best Bosman in football history?), while Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum would go on to become two of the club’s modern-day greats.

Here’s to you, Michael Edwards. The man who helped take Liverpool back to the very top.

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Liverpool may already have 'amazing' solution to a big Jürgen Klopp midfield problem

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 15:00

Liverpool’s incoming business may be done, but they won’t be withdrawing from the transfer market entirely. There are still plenty of exits that need to be arranged.

Most of these will be loan moves for young players. Already, goalkeeper Jakub Ojrzyński, right-back Conor Bradley, centre-half Billy Koumetio and left-back Adam Lewis have made temporary switches.

Liverpool’s director of loan management, David Woodfine, will now turn his attention to a group of players that includes Rhys Williams, Jake Cain, Sepp van den Berg, Owen Beck, Paul Glatzel and Leighton Clarkson (as per Neil Jones).

READ MORE:Thiago Alcântara has just proven Jürgen Klopp right again and Liverpool should be excited

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah can engineer perfect Liverpool goodbye as Man City should be worried by one change

Clarkson will certainly be hoping for an upturn in fortunes on his next assignment. Last season, he secured a dream stint with Blackburn Rovers, the club he supported as a child, but it didn’t go to plan.

After starting three of the first five matches for which he was available, he would register just four more appearances before the turn of the year. Between October 23 and December 29, Clarkson was an unused substitute in 11 out of 12 Championship matches. After handing him just 328 minutes of football, they cut the loan short in January.

The fact that Rovers took that decision for themselves seems damning. But it’s important to consider Tony Mowbray’s parting words.

“I want to put on record that this lad is an amazing footballer,” he enthused. “What a talent.”

Indeed, one of the reasons that Clarkson struggled for game time was that Mowbray switched from a 4-3-3 formation to a 5-2-3, which of course meant there was one fewer place in the midfield.

And another was that Blackburn were flying. Mowbray didn’t want to change a winning formula and disrupt his side’s promotion push.

"He’s come at a time when our team is functioning and he understands," the former Rovers manager explained. "I haven’t been able to give him the game-time."

Both Liverpool and the player himself will have been left disappointed. But the Reds have reason to persist with Clarkson.

The current squad is still short of a back-up for Fabinho. Jordan Henderson can fill in there, but he’s effectively a no.8 doing a job as a no.6.

Fabinho’s most important attribute is perhaps his ability to sustain attacks through ball-winning. He’s a reasonably good passer, but it isn’t a particularly big part of his game.

So Liverpool can either support the Brazilian with a player who’s a close stylistic match, or they can look to someone with a contrasting skillset, enabling them to be more flexible.

And Clarkson, who stands at just 5ft 7in, is a different brand of no.6. He’s won praise chiefly for his constructive, rather than destructive, abilities.

“An amazing footballer who sees all the pictures, all the patterns,” was Mowbray’s review. “You talk about Harvey Elliott, he’s got all those qualities, weight of pass, brilliant finishing.”

Clarkson had already left Liverpool fans impressed with his distribution when he made his Champions League debut in a group game against Midtjylland in December 2020. He’s shown that he’s capable of picking out line-breaking balls.

Across 73 games for Liverpool at youth level, he’s scored 10 goals and provided 18 assists. That means he’s setting one up every four games on average, again highlighting his penchant for penetrative passes.

While fellow midfield prospect Tyler Morton has often played as a no. 8 at academy level, Clarkson has started 69 out of 82 recorded matches as a defensive midfielder, making those numbers all the more impressive.

For reference, Fabinho has only managed eight assists in 169 games for Liverpool, one every 21 matches. Clarkson, overall, is more similar to Thiago, who teed up five goals last season.

Still only 21, he shouldn't be written off just yet. He deserves an opportunity to prove himself, and the hope will be that his upcoming loan gives him that platform.

Clarkson, capped six times by England at U20 level, has plenty of potential. And he also has qualities that could make him a real asset for this Liverpool team if his development accelerates.

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Jordan Henderson attributes Liverpool turning point to Brendan Rodgers’ forgotten man

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 13:44

Jordan Henderson has not experienced a smooth journey to the top and he has credited one of Brendan Rodgers’ forgotten men for helping him find “who I was in myself.”

It’s been more than 11 years since Henderson signed for Liverpool, kickstarting a career at Anfield that has seen doubts and questions thrown his way, all of which he has answered.

It has not made for a smooth journey throughout his 449-game Anfield career, with his early days shaking his confidence and leading to him seeking out renowned sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters.

Peters was turned to by Brendan Rodgers in 2012, with the Liverpool manager an advocate of the mental strength of not only an individual player but the collective.

And after struggling to lay down a marker and seeing himself considered as potential transfer bait in exchange for Fulham‘s Clint Dempsey, Henderson sought out Peters and the help he could provide.

In a new documentary entitled ‘Jordan Henderson is Never Done‘, Henderson explains what led him to Peters and the significant influence it had on his career moving forward.

“Looking back now, when I was 20, 21, I was very, very introverted,” Henderson explained.

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 Liverpool's Jordan Henderson in action against Manchester City during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg at the City of Manchester Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“I wouldn’t want to speak to many people about things and wanted to deal with a lot on my own and sort things out by myself really, that’s the way I always wanted to work.

“I ended up speaking to Steve Peters, who came into the club out of the blue when Brendan was there.

“He [Peters] basically had a meeting with all of the players and said ‘I’m here if anyone needs to speak about anything’ and said he could help, maybe not with football, but with how players feel in general and morale.

“I couldn’t really lose anything and I didn’t feel great so it was worth a shot and worth speaking to him.

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“From that moment, I feel as though that really helped me find who I was in myself.

“For me, it was a big moment in my career that I met Steve and he gave me the right tools to use and the right mentality to use to get myself out of a mindset where I wasn’t feeling as confident as I was before I came to the club.”

It’s an honest admission from Henderson, who has been an advocate for mental health and well-being for some time, and whose first step in opening up set him on course for a different trajectory.

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Jürgen Klopp has already outlined Liverpool midfield transfer plan as two solutions identified

Liverpool.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 13:00

The 2022 summer transfer window only opened on 10 June but just nine days later, having announced right-back Calvin Ramsay as their third signing of the summer, Liverpool indicated that their business was done.

The club have decided not to sign an established central midfield option this summer, a stance that has split opinion among supporters. There are some who feel that this is Liverpool’s main area of weakness compared to their rivals, especially Manchester City.

And shortcomings in that department, both in terms of fitness and quality, were arguably an important factor in most of the 10 Premier League games the Reds failed to win last season.

READ MORE:Thiago Alcântara has just proven Jürgen Klopp right again and Liverpool should be excited

READ MORE: Mohamed Salah can engineer perfect Liverpool goodbye as Man City should be worried by one change

It seems that Liverpool might be taking too great a risk by delaying their next marquee midfield addition for another 12 months.

On paper, of course, Jürgen Klopp has an abundance of options. With Fábio Carvalho arriving from Fulham and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain now expected to stay, there are nine in total. That’s theoretically enough to fill out three separate midfields.

But is it merely an illusion of depth? After all, four of the players are injury-prone, to varying degrees, a few are ageing, and the young trio of Carvalho, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are still relatively unproven.

Liverpool believe that their veteran options still have plenty more to give, and that they can stave off significant injury issues through appropriate load management. But, beyond that, the success of their transfer gamble also relies on Elliott and Jones taking the next step.

Both players are regarded as an important part of the club’s future. During Liverpool’s lap of honour following their final-day home clash against Wolves, Klopp told the duo that ‘this is only the start’.

“Yes,” they replied, “with us on the pitch.”

That air of confidence has been a defining feature of many of Elliott’s performances to date. It’s worth remembering just how impressive he was in the right central midfield role in the early part of the 2021/22 campaign.

Against Burnley and Chelsea, Elliott was truly one of Liverpool’s stand-out performers. He didn’t look remotely out of place in one of the best teams in the world, and that is the mark of a special talent.

It seemed significant that Klopp selected him ahead of captain Jordan Henderson against Leeds United. One wonders just how much football Elliott would have played had he not sustained a distressing injury that day.

He didn’t make his comeback until early February and given the severity of the injury, it wasn’t a surprise that his involvement was limited before the end of the campaign.

Still, those performances at the start of the season had reinforced what most Reds already believed — Elliott is one of the brightest young talents in the country. And he should be about to get even better.

And then there’s Jones. It’s easy to forget that he’s only 21 years old, perhaps because he’s already played 74 games for Liverpool’s first team.

It’s probably fair to say that, right now, Elliott looks more likely to be a future starter at Anfield, while question marks still hover over his teammate.

The biggest, by far, is consistency. Klopp said, delicately, last September that this was ‘maybe sometimes a little bit the issue’. He would issue a similar challenge ahead of the clash with Southampton with May, perhaps indicating that Jones has somewhat stagnated.

It’s rare that Klopp publicly points out flaws in his senior players. Constructive criticism is typically reserved for raw youngsters, and that’s still how Jones is regarded despite being three-quarters of the way to a century of appearances. “I think he’s now old enough to keep that moment going,” Klopp tellingly says.

By electing not to sign another midfielder this summer, Liverpool are backing him to find that consistency. Neither a loan nor a permanent exit is on the table for now, but that stance could conceivably be different next summer if he doesn’t seize the opportunity before him.

Some fans will be frustrated by the club’s reluctance to upgrade their midfield, at least this year. But the club won’t see it that way. Yes, they’ve signed Carvalho, but on top of that, they also believe that Elliott and Jones will be better players next season, that they’ll be ready to play more minutes, not simply as cover, but as effective weapons in their own right.

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Liverpool duo assist with England’s perfect record as shot at final awaits

ThisIsAnfield.com - Sun, 06/26/2022 - 12:43

While the majority of Liverpool players enjoy the final days of their summer break, an academy trio are now hoping to turn England’s perfect U19s Euros start into a place in the final.

It’s been a rare summer without a senior international competition but the under-19s European Championship is in full swing, with three Liverpool representatives in the England squad.

It has been an impressive tournament to date for the Young Lions, who progressed to the semi-final with a game to spare and in doing so, booked their place in the U20 World Cup in 2023.

And on Saturday evening, England turned out for their final group game with both Jarell Quansah and Luke Chambers named in the starting XI against Israel, earning another clean sheet and win.

Chambers was making his first start of the competition at left-back while Quansah remained as the right-sided centre-back, on a night that was under doubt due to a deluge of rain.

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The Young Lions again struck early to take ascendency, with a poor clearance from the goalkeeper allowing Alfie Devine to feed Man City‘s Liam Delap for the opener after just six minutes.

The 1-0 scoreline would remain after the final whistle despite a number of chances to add to the tally, ensuring England kept a perfect record with their third clean sheet and victory.

With Quansah having featured for 180 minutes prior to the final group game, he was asked to play just 45 minutes on Saturday after being substituted at halftime, while Chambers played the full 90.

The centre-back made a notable covering run behind Chambers early in the first half, ensuring his counterpart was kept wide and left with nothing but a wild shot over the bar, in another impressive defensive display.

Harvey Davies, meanwhile, remained out of the matchday squad for the third time with both Matthew Cox and Teddy Sharman-Lowe ahead in the pecking order.

What comes next?

 England's Jarell Quansah during an Under-18 international friendly match between Wales and England at Leckwith Stadium. England won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 England's Jarell Quansah during an Under-18 international friendly match between Wales and England at Leckwith Stadium. England won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

England are now in the semi-finals of the competition and are to meet Italy on Tuesday, June 28, while France and Israel contest the other match later the same day.

A win will put the Young Lions in contention for the trophy with the final to take place on Friday, July 1 – England would be fighting for a record 11th U19 European Championship title.

And Quansah is to remain at the heart of manager Ian Foster’s defence as they push, first, for a final place.

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