Footy Extras

Liverpool’s hopes of keeping £136m star given huge boost after club switch sights

Liverpool’s hopes of keeping Phillipe Coutinho have taken a huge boost with the news that Barcelona have cooled their interest in the Brazilian.

Coutinho is poised to rejoin the Liverpool squad ahead of tonight’s Champions League tie against Sevilla.

The playmaker has yet to appear for Liverpool this season after the club turned down a £136m bid from Barcelona.

Coutinho missed the start of the season with an apparent back complaint, but having appeared for Brazil in their recent World Cup qualifiers, is nearing full fitness.

Liverpool were braced for renewed interest from Barcelona in the winter transfer window.

Yet, according to Metro, Barcelona are likely to move for Nice midfielder Jean Seri.

Barcelona delayed a deal for the French midfielder in the belief that they could persuade Liverpool to part with Coutinho.

However, Liverpool turned down four separate bids for the player, whilst Barcelona also missed out on the signing of PSG’s Angel Di Maria.

Seri is available for £36m, and has been a target for Arsenal.

Meanwhile, Liverpool defender Alberto Moreno has admitted that Coutinho suffered during the Barcelona transfer saga.

“It was tough for him,” Moreno told the Express. “He had a bad time but it’s over now and I know that he will give everything for Liverpool.”

“It would be a dream for any team to have him but he stays with us. Liverpool said no and it meant no. It’s just a huge boost. We have a lot of quality here now.”

Liverpool Hero Sheepishly Avoids Questions Regarding Time He Nearly Joined Chelsea

Manchester United and Chelsea played their opening Champions League fixtures of the season on Tuesday night.

Presenting the coverage on BT Sport was Gary Lineker who was joined by Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and former Liverpool midfielder Steven Gerrard. During the show, the talk of Chelsea boss Mourinho came up.

During the discussion, Lineker turned his attention to Gerrard bringing up the very awkward topic of when he nearly joined the Blues in 2005 and 2006.

Lineker asked, as quoted by the Independent: “Is it true you nearly played for him [Mourinho], you were close to signing?”

Avoiding the question at all costs Gerrard replied with a smirk on his face tried to shut down any talk of the embarrassing topic.

Gerrard said: “I think we’ve talked about this before, haven’t we?”

Despite Gerrard’s clear wanting to avoid the conversation, Lineker again probed in a joking fashion that he must have missed the previous conversation, as he attempted to get more from the 37-year-old Liverpool legend.

Lineker said: “I think I might have missed it.”

Gerrard replied: “I don’t think you did, Gary.”

It’s no secret that it had crossed Gerrard’s mind to join Chelsea back in the mid 2000s, but it was clear at the time that his heart was with Liverpool and Reds fans everywhere will be grateful for his loyalty staying on Merseyside.

Frank Lampard helped diffused the tension by joking that he was happy Gerrard didn’t join Chelsea.

24-year-old Bundesliga star admits he turned down Liverpool offer

​Koln goalkeeper Timo Horn says he rejected interest from Liverpool as a teenager because training in Germany was more appealing.

Horn became Koln’s first choice goalie in 2012 and has gone on to make over 150 appearances in all competitions, also gaining recognition at age group level with Germany.

The 24-year-old used the example of Ron-Robert Zieler, who spent an unsuccessful campaign with Leicester last season, to show why he has rejected the advances of Premier League sides so far in his career.

He told ​the Independent: “At the age of 15 or 16, Liverpool were very interested in me.

“But I didn’t go there because I felt the goalkeeping schooling in Germany was much better and I had enough examples, for instance Ron-Robert Zieler who came back after a year [at Leicester], and that’s why I stayed in Koln. It definitely wasn’t the wrong decision!”

Horn also talked about Koln’s upcoming Europa League fixture against Arsenal, stating how surreal it will be after facing the Gunners in a pre-season fixture a few years ago.

He added: “It was hard to imagine that we’d ever play against Arsenal in a competitive fixture. To be taking them on in the Europa League a few years later… we could never have predicted that.

“I’ve always thought of Arsene Wenger as a fantastic manager.

“I like the football culture in England and Arsenal just had something in my view that the other teams didn’t have. I’ve always enjoyed the style of football they try to employ even if they haven’t won that many titles.”

Liverpool plot double centre-half raid

Liverpool are making plans to sign not one, but two centre-halves next summer, according to reports.

With the club seemingly happy to wait to sanction the long wait to land Virgil van Dijk, the club plan to pair him up with Lazio’s Stefan De Vrij next season, with talks already believed to be underway.

Southampton defender had a return to action to forget for the U23s side in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Monday night.

The Dutchman is well off the pace in terms of fitness after being held back by injury in recent months, while a widely speculated exit from the club failed to materialise.

De Vrij is contracted to Lazio until June 2018, and talks to renew his deal have recently stalled. That’s amid talk the player is ready to move on from the Italian capital, with the Reds leading the way for his signature.

The 25-year-old joined Lazio from Feyenoord in 2014 and has since cultivated a reputation as one of Serie A’s most reliable central defenders, an area of the park in which the Reds may consider themselves in need of an upgrade.

Football Radars previously provided a breakdown of the Dutchman’s 2016-17 campaign and depicted strengths in passing, where he boasted a figure of more than 85 per cent, and an average of less than one foul per game:

However, Calciomercato also claims Inter Milan and Juventus would also be keen on the player on a free.

But the chance to sign for Klopp and form a new-look central defensive partnership with Van Dijk puts Liverpool as the firm favourites.

Liverpool issue attacker update after summer signing misses training due to illness

MOHAMED SALAH missed training this afternoon due to illness, Liverpool have confirmed.

The summer signing from Roma was allowed to skip practice ahead of tomorrow’s Champions League game against Sevilla as a “precaution”.

The club said in a statement: “Mohamed Salah missed Liverpool’s training session on Tuesday afternoon due to illness.

“The No.11 was absent as the Reds continued preparations for the opening game of their Champions League group-stage campaign, against Sevilla at Anfield on Wednesday night.

“Salah reported to Melwood but was sent home as a precaution.”

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Salah is available for selection following Saturday’s mauling at Manchester City.

Salah, who was hooked off at half-time of the 5-0 drubbing, was raring to go face Sevilla.

He said: “We have to look forward to the next game, forget that result and play like before.

“I’m very, very excited to start the Champions League games at Anfield. I would like to win that game!”

Sadio Mane is eligible for selection as his red card against City does not extend to European competition.

Real Madrid rival Liverpool as Reds try for 25-goals European No.11

La Liga champions Real Madrid are reportedly ready to go toe-to-toe with Liverpool as the Anfield side look to secure a second signing from RB Leipzig.

Having announced the capture of midfielder Naby Keita, who will join the Reds on 1 July 2018, Jurgen Klopp is reportedly ready to turn his attentions towards landing forward Timo Werner.

The €79m-rated Germany international caught the eye last season as Leipzig secured second place in the Bundesliga and he has since gone on to finish as top scorer in this summer’s Confederations Cup.

Now some of Europe’s top clubs are chasing him and Sport 1 claims Liverpool have made repeated enquiries with Leipzig throughout last season and again in the summer. But having made Keita, their top priority, the Reds decided not to pursue Werner for the time being.

However, with Keita now in the bag, the Reds are ready to jump back in for Werner and will continue to monitor the player ahead of a potential bid either in January, or more likely, next summer.

However, the German TV channel also names Real Madrid are strong contenders to sign the striker. It’s claimed they see Werner as a potential successor to Karim Benzema, whose time at the Bernabeu could be coming to an end.

It’s reported they have already sent scouts to watch him this season and believe he is a future star in the making.

Werner has scored 25 goals in 36 appearances for Leipzig since signing from VfB Stuttgart in June 2016.

He is contracted to Leipzig until the summer of 2020.

Liverpool targeting world-class goalkeeper – Player’s agent in talks with the club

INTER MILAN are preparing to once again begin talks with Samir Handanovic over a new contract to stop him leaving for Liverpool or Tottenham, according to reports.

Inter were stuck for over a year discussing a deal with goalkeeper Handanovic, only for him to finally pen fresh terms in January 2016.

But his contract is already nearing its conclusion, with the agreement set to end in 2019.

Inter are desperate to keep their goalkeeper but the draw of the Premier League almost saw him move to England two summers back.

And reports in Italy claim Inter are determined to avoid the same scenario.

According to FCInterNews, Inter rejected interest from both Liverpool and Tottenham in the summer.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp eventually stuck with goalkeeping duo Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet, although question marks hang over the futures of both players.

Spurs were concerned Hugo Loris could be subject to interest from abroad, with Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain seeking new shot-stoppers.

FCInterNews claim the player’s agent Fali Ramadani met with Piero Ausilio to discuss the possibility to Handanovic leaving for Liverpool or Spurs before deciding not to act on the interest.

They now want the 33-year-old Slovenia international to extend his contract by a further year so as to avoid further transfer speculation over the coming months.

Euro giants plot January swoop for Liverpool ace, club make request to the player

BARCELONA want Philippe Coutinho to refuse to play for Liverpool in the Champions League.

That’s according to Spanish news outlet Don Balon who say Barca are eyeing a January raid for the Brazilian.

However, they want to utilise Coutinho in Europe and won’t be able to if he’s already featured for the Reds.

The midfield sensation was embroiled in a transfer saga with Barcelona after Ernesto Valverde made him a top summer target.

However, the Reds dug their heels in and refused to let their prized asset leave.

Coutinho played for Brazil last week – but he’s yet to feature for Liverpool this term due to a reported back injury.

Jurgen Klopp didn’t include him in the squad that faced Manchester City over the weekend.

Despite their failure to secure his services during the last transfer window, Don Balon say Barca will not give up the hunt.

Former Liverpool star Paul Ince thinks Coutinho now needs to prove his worth in Europe’s elite competition.

He told the Daily Mail: “Philippe Coutinho has to try to copy Luis Suarez the season after he was told he could not leave.

“One thing about Liverpool fans, as long as Coutinho does things the right way, the fans will still love him.

“They will understand the lure of Barcelona and will not hold it against him, just as long as he does not spend his time moping or show the kind of body language Arsenal fans have occasionally seen from Alexis Sanchez.

“Coutinho does not strike me as that type of player.

“There were a few eyebrows raised at Barca’s £120m valuation and he will have to shine in the Champions League to show he is truly worth that kind of money.”

Coutinho has made 14 Champions League appearances during the course of his career.

The 25-year-old is yet to score in Europe’s elite club competition, though.

Report – £20m attacker expected to play at Anfield this season

The Turkish transfer deadline passed at midnight on Friday and Lazar Marković doesn’t seem any closer to heading back to Fenerbahce (this year). The 23-year-old winger has not clocked any time at all for Liverpool since July’s pre-season friendly against Tranmere Rovers and was sorely in need of a transfer that would give him the minutes he needs to keep developing.

Liverpool bought Marković for about £20 million in July 2014 from Benfica, but the player has had a disappointing showing at Liverpool and has spent the last two years on loan to Fenerbahce, Hull City, and Sporting CP. Marković spent the majority of his time in Turkey injured and only scored two goals in 21 total appearances for Fenerbahce, but the club needed the extra attackers this season and a loan would have been optimal for everyone.

But the lack of a move may end up working out for Marković.

While Marković hasn’t had a first team game since May 2015, the Reds will be competing in the Premier League, the Champions League, and the FA Cup this season and may need the extra depth that Marković could provide. Marković is not eligible for the Champions League, but was named in Liverpool’s Premier League squad and will also be eligible for the FA Cup.

The Portuguese transfer window is still open, of course, but Liverpool may gamble on keeping the winger for now. Marković is still incredibly young and will be keen to take any opportunities he can to prove himself to Klopp. If Liverpool end up in an injury crisis again, having the player around may just end up being what the club needs.

£60m Liverpool target endures nightmare comeback in rout, January move still touted

Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk had a return to action to forget for the U23s side in a 4-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Monday night.

The Dutchman is well off the pace in terms of fitness after being held back by injury in recent months, while a widely speculated exit from the club failed to materialise.

As per The Telegraph, Van Dijk is valued at around £60m by the Saints, and was the subject of significant interest from Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal this past summer.

However, had they been keeping tabs on him this week, they would have been far from impressed with what they saw as he looked off the pace as Southampton were picked apart by a rampant Villa.

It’s understandable given that he hasn’t played for months while he has had to reintegrate back into the club after requesting a transfer, and so he will undoubtedly improve with playing time. In turn, it remains to be seen whether or not the 26-year-old is still eyeing a move elsewhere, or if he is now fully focused on playing his part for Southampton this season.

As reported by The Daily Star though, Ian McGarry has told the Transfer Window Podcast that Liverpool will go back for the Dutch international in the January transfer window, provided that they can make it out of the group stage of the Champions League.

There’s no denying that Jurgen Klopp needs to strengthen his defence having now conceded eight goals in their two away games so far this season. McGarry added that given Van Dijk won’t be cup tied in Europe, the chances of him moving on in January are pretty high in his opinion.