Liverpool have yet to reach an agreement with RB Leipzig for the early transfer of Naby Keita.
Reports in Germany have suggested that Saturday's Bundesliga clash with Schalke will be the dynamic midfielder's final appearance for the club before he heads for Merseyside.
However, the ECHO understands there is currently no deal in place following initial discussions between Reds sporting director Michael Edwards and opposite number Ralf Rangnick.
Keita has a contract to join Liverpool on July 1 but Jurgen Klopp has been keen to explore the prospect of bringing the move forward six months following the sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.
The Guinea international is desperate to join the Reds this month and help fill the void created by Coutinho's exit.
Liverpool are willing to pay a premium to get Keita early but Leipzig want to convince the player to stay put until the end of the season.
Under the terms of the deal the Reds struck back in August, they will pay £66.8million for Keita if Leipzig qualify for the Champions League this season and £57.9million if they miss out on the top four.
Speculation that Leipzig are about to relent and grant Keita his wish was fuelled by the player registering a private company called 'NK8 Limited' to a London address with Companies House this week. Keita and his agent Bjorn Bezemer are listed as directors.
If Keita moved to Anfield this month he wouldn't be eligible to play in the Champions League knockout stages but would provide a boost to Liverpool's hopes of domestic success.
Source: Liverpool Echo
This story has been reproduced from today's media. It does not necessarily represent the position of Liverpool Football Club.
'The kind of game everyone wants to play in' is how Sadio Mane has described Sunday's showdown with Manchester City at Anfield – and he insists Liverpool go into the clash with the league leaders full of confidence.
The Reds take on Pep Guardiola’s high-flyers aiming to extend a 17-match unbeaten run in all competitions; though they will face a side who’ve won 20 of their 22 Premier League fixtures so far and drawn the other two.
Nevertheless, with home backing behind them, Mane has explained why Jürgen Klopp’s charges are fully focused on how they can inflict damage upon the division’s meanest defence.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: “I think everyone is excited for this kind of game because it’s the kind of game everyone loves to play for.
“It will not be easy because Manchester City are one of the best teams in the league, but we also have great qualities and a great team; we can beat anyone, not just in the league, but Europe too. It will be a tough game, but I’m very much looking forward to it.
“I know we can score against any defence in the world, so we will see on Sunday if we can do that against City.
“The confidence is here, everyone is enjoying playing and now we are just waiting for Sunday to show we have the confidence and we can win the game.”
If Liverpool are to become the first team to overturn City in the Premier League so far this season, home advantage could prove key, Mane believes.
The Reds are unbeaten at Anfield so far in 2017-18 and the Senegal forward feels the support inside the stadium can give them an edge over the Blues.
“I’m not so much interested in City’s position or City’s form; I’m much more interested – and what’s more important to me – is us,” Mane continued.
“We are playing at home, so we will have the ground behind us. We are on a good run, we’ve won many games, the confidence is here. We will try to play as a team and win the game.
“Not only in the last two home games [against Leicester City and Everton] – the fans play a big part in us winning all of the time. The ground is just amazing and they push us until the end. This is what they’ve done and I think they will do it again on Sunday and give us the motivation. They can play a big part.
“The confidence is back and it is very important for us to win games – it is why we are here. If we are doing it, it means we are in a good way. We will keep working hard until the end of the season.”
On a personal note, Mane began 2018 in fine style – smashing home a superb opener in the 2-1 win at Burnley on New Year’s Day.
The 25-year-old concedes his form hadn’t been at its usual high standards in the couple of weeks prior to that, but he’s aiming to kick on and add to the eight goals he’s bagged already this season in the coming fixtures.
“It was a difficult couple of weeks for me, but it is part of football,” Mane acknowledged. “I am a professional footballer and I know how it is. It is behind me. This goal gave me more confidence and so hopefully I can score more in the coming weeks.
“I am just trying to work hard in training all the time, give my best every single game and try and score or assist for my team.
“Eight goals is good but I know myself and I know what I can give for the team, so I am confident I will score more goals and help the team.”
"It's satisfying when all your work in the week comes off in a game and people think, 'blimey!'"
Not the words of one of Liverpool’s first-team stars but those of its official statistician.
“Stats can be very dry and very boring, and you can make a statistic do whatever you want it to do. But there is something really good [when one goes viral],” explains Ged Rea, the club’s resident fact machine alongside friend and colleague Dave Ball.
“People don’t see a player staying behind for an hour after training every single day and firing them into the top corner. It’s a bit like that with us.”
When the day job is done and the evening meal eaten, it’s onto the computer. Numbers are crunched, checked and double-checked.
“We’ll try to anticipate as much as we can, and when that comes to fruition generally speaking we know that it’s us because some of the information we have we don’t think anybody else could provide.”
Before Opta there was Ged and Dave."My family hate football. I come home, have my tea and then I'm on the computer until 11 o'clock. They get two weeks' summer holiday and Christmas Day and maybe Christmas Eve. Every other day is open season."
Reds fans alike, the pair bonded through their interest in quizzes, with the latter – BBC Radio’s ‘Brain of Sport’ for 1977 – the organiser of a league in the city centre for those keen to pit their knowledge against others.
His work for the popular TV show A Question of Sport soon set off a domino effect which led to both men contributing to the first official Liverpool FC magazine and subsequently assuming formal roles to supply the club with a range of statistics from the late 1990s.
“It has developed from there,” says Ged.
Requests can arrive from UEFA. Biographies and autobiographies need precise information.
Before each and every LFC fixture, a document authored by him will drop into journalists’ inboxes containing a wealth of details relating to the form of the team and the opposition, the history between the sides, player landmarks, historical benchmarks and much more.
The meticulous preparation carried out during the week allows for newspapers, websites, television channels and radio stations to report accurate facts and figures to their audience.
And then there is the matchday.
“We will be on standby in case the club needs any information about incidents that have happened,” Ged reveals.
“For example, in 2016 we were in the press box when Ben Woodburn scored against Leeds to become the club’s youngest ever scorer.
“The club wanted to know immediately whether that was correct. We told them the answer and then that becomes a story through the football club, the media and Liverpool’s in-house media. That becomes the story.”
It is fair to say Mohamed Salah has kept the statisticians busy this season.
The Egypt international notched 23 goals in his 29 Liverpool appearances in 2017, having only joined Jürgen Klopp’s side from AS Roma that summer.
As the No.11’s tally increased with each passing week, he began to near a record set by Roger Hunt back in 1961-62 for the most scored by a single player for the Reds in a campaign before the New Year.
“You’re always dealing with the now but you’ve also got one eye on things that are looming,” notes the civil servant.
“Salah’s goalscoring this season; we had the Hunt record and Ian Rush and all the other people that he has been moving up the ladder and equalled and bettered. That was sitting there.
“Every time Salah scored he would move up the ladder, and we would just be hoping that he would do something spectacular and wouldn’t get injured. The two goals he got [against Leicester City] elevated it to a worthy statistic.
“We have a database containing an awful lot of information. Sometimes you’re trying to anticipate quirky things that might happen.
“For example, Jürgen Klopp is close to winning his 50th league game for Liverpool – so we will have a comparable record with every other Liverpool manager of how long it took them to get to 50.”
Ged’s journey has taken him from ‘a teenager with Liverpool scrapbooks’ to first-name terms with many of the heroes he used to idolise. “Stupid and impossible and unrealistic… but it happens and it’s great,” he smiles.
More than that, the story goes that one particular statistic pleased a former manager so much – and with justification – that it was referenced in the Reds dressing room.
“Gerard Houllier was very particular and keen on statistical information,” Ged recalls.
“I’m pretty certain that in the early 2000s he had become the first Liverpool manager in history to win three successive away league games at Goodison Park. And it got back to us that it was mentioned in the dressing room immediately after the game.
“Gerard was very intense and loved stats. I took a couple of phone calls from Gerard at home once because he was challenging one or two statistics that had been put out by his own players.
“Rafa [Benitez] was a lot more laid-back. Jürgen does what is important to him, and Brendan [Rodgers] was pretty much the same.
“Of them all, Gerard Houllier was probably more into his statistical information than the others put together, I would suggest from the feedback we used to get.”
The aforementioned Opta platforms, among others, have played a significant role in putting football statistics at the heart of debate on matches, players and teams.
The growth of social media and the rising interest in the numerical information around the game has both helped and hindered the process, in Ged’s opinion.
“Social media means that it’s easier to find the information. The downside of that is fake news; you’ve got to research it even more thoroughly and make sure that it’s right and get it right and get the tone of the stat right. It does have its pros and cons,” he states.
“Of course, there are a lot of people out there who are probably better than me at what I do. So you’ve got to make sure it’s right because you’ll have people correcting you.
“There are times when you press ‘send’ on social media and you think, ‘oh my God, that’s wrong!’ and you’re trying to recover it.”
Don’t get him started on ‘assists’, however.
“I’ve never ever got them really; I saw a goal scored the other day, a player gives the ball five yards to somebody who dribbles past four players and smacks it into the top corner, and he gets an assist,” comes the groan.
The frequency of matches means most statistics are only temporarily stored in Ged’s mind.
Take the recent festive period, which included 11 competitive fixtures for Liverpool between November 29 and January 5 and provided its annual challenge as ‘six or seven’ games’ worth of detail was juggled.
“Because you’re always moving on to the next one, you tend not to retain a great deal of information about what’s gone. It’s almost as if it’s filed, there’s a place for that and then it does move on,” he says.
“It does wane! As soon as people find out what you do, they’ll go ‘right, when was the last time X, Y or Z…?’
“I haven’t got a photographic memory, I never have had. But what I do know is where to get it.”
Ged speaks to Liverpoolfc.com for this article at Anfield on the night Liverpool claim a dramatic FA Cup victory over neighbours Everton courtesy of a winning goal from Virgil van Dijk on his debut.
He leaves the stadium with plenty of information to update: Merseyside derby totals; players to have scored in their first Reds game; penalties won and converted in club history. To name only a handful.
He heads home with a familiar feeling of pride, too: “Even though it’s the most minute cog in the biggest wheel, we’re still part of it.
“It’s when other people find out what we do that you really appreciate fully what you actually do, not that either of us take anything for granted.
“And it’s fantastic when Liverpool are doing well. It’s only the positives that get you out of bad times so you’ve got to concentrate on the positives. That’s what we like doing.
“I’ve been sitting there with ‘19th league title’ for God knows how many years. I’m desperate for that.”
Joel Matip was suitably impressed by Virgil van Dijk's nerveless Liverpool debut and is now hoping to form a strong centre-half partnership with the January signing.
Just over a week ago, Van Dijk marked his Reds bow by scoring a late Kop-end winner to knock Merseyside rivals Everton out of the FA Cup at Anfield.
Matip partnered the Dutchman at centre-half throughout an unforgettable first outing for the club and felt he acquitted himself well.
"He did very well from the very beginning. You couldn't see that he was nervous or anything like this," the defender told Liverpoolfc.com.
"He did very well and helped us from the first minute."
Matip does, however, believe there is more to come from the 26-year-old once he develops an understanding with his fellow centre-halves.
"It needs some time but we spend time together on the field and this helps to develop a relationship in the defence line," he added.
"You need this time to get better as a team and as a player on your own. He's always positive and this helps, so we enjoy spending time with him on the field and [off it].
"Everybody has their own style and is different [so] it won't be two similar players on the field playing for us but I think we try to help each other and combine our [strengths] in the air and [on] the ground.
"It will need some time to put this all together so that it will work at the end."
Mohamed Salah insists he can't wait to take on unbeaten Manchester City on Sunday, declaring the heavyweight fixture 'the kind of game I love'.
The Reds are out to inflict a first Premier League defeat of the season upon the runaway leaders when they come to Anfield this weekend.
But Salah has no fears over facing the division's top team; instead, he is excited for him and his teammates to prove what they can do.
He told Liverpoolfc.com: "It's the kind of game I love and for the fans it's something different.
"Us and Man City are both playing great football, so it will be a perfect game and I'm very excited.
"I'm sure we can have a good result. They play fantastic football but, for me, I just think about my team.
"We will see on Sunday."
Liverpool have avoided defeat in their 16 outings at Anfield so far this season, winning 10 and drawing six of those fixtures.
And Salah believes the Reds' passionate home support can inspire another big performance against Pep Guardiola's side.
"I love to play here in Anfield, playing at home with a fantastic atmosphere," he added.
"We try to play each away game like [it's at] home - the most important thing is to win the game - but at home we feel more confidence with the support from the fans.
"It makes it like [we have] 12 players."
Rhian Brewster will be assessed in hospital after sustaining an injury during Liverpool U23s’ 3-2 defeat to Manchester City on Friday night.
Brewster landed awkwardly after challenging for a header in first-half stoppage time and had to be stretchered from the pitch.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com after the Premier League 2 game, U23s manager Neil Critchley said: "It’s not looking good. He fell awkwardly and it’s down towards the bottom near his ankle.
"He will be going to hospital. I don’t want to speculate too much but he’s in a lot of pain and hopefully it’s not as bad as it looks, but we fear the worst a little bit at the moment."
Liverpool U23s slipped to a 3-2 defeat at Manchester City in Premier League 2 on Friday night.
Harry Wilson’s 13th goal of the season - a penalty he won and converted - gave Neil Critchley’s team an early lead at the Etihad Campus, but the hosts struck back twice before the break through Lorenzo Gonzalez and Rabbi Matondo.
Then, during a lengthy period of first-half stoppage time following an injury to City’ Benjamin Garre, Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster landed awkwardly while challenging for a header and had to be stretchered from the pitch.
The young Reds responded to that setback admirably at the start of the second half, with 16-year-old debutant Curtis Jones impressing and Wilson going close to an equaliser shortly after the restart.
But their endeavours to force an equaliser were undone by a clinical half-volley from City’s Felix Nmecha 15 minutes from time.
Toni Gomes converted Liam Millar’s cross in the last minute to set up a tense finale, but City held on.
Despite their second successive PL2 loss, Liverpool remain top of the division, sitting one point clear of Leicester City with a game in hand.
After a slow start, an injection of quality from Wilson resulted in the opening goal in the 14th minute.
A wonderful first touch from Liverpool’s captain enabled him to surge past Joel Latibeaudiere, with the City defender’s desperate lunge then felling the Welshman.
The referee duly pointed to the spot and Wilson picked himself up to send Curtis Anderson the wrong way from 12 yards.
An unmarked Wilson then glanced a header wide from Yan Dhanda’s whipped cross as the young Reds immediately went in search of a second.
However, City were back on level terms by the 20-minute mark when Gonzalez took full advantage of some lax defending to race clear and slot beyond Kamil Grabara.
And, shortly before half-time, the hosts went ahead.
With Mich’el Parker struggling with an injury, Matondo breezed past the Liverpool right-back and finished well following a direct, driving run from deep.
City’s second goal sparked a flurry of incidents.
First, Grabara denied Matondo before Brewster struck the post after collecting a deft pass from Jones, who replaced Parker, in what was the striker’s final contribution prior to his unfortunate injury.
Despite the blow of losing two players in quick succession, Critchley’s side began the second period strongly and Wilson could have restored parity when he latched on to Liam Millar’s flick and poked wide.
Bobby Adekanye sent a wayward shot high and wide after Jones had set him up and Anderson held Wilson’s curling free-kick as Liverpool turned the screw.
City, though, soaked up the pressure well and Nmecha’s strike proved crucial as it rendered Gomes’ well-taken volley in the 90th minute a mere consolation.
Liverpool U23s: Grabara, Parker (Jones), Masterson, Johnston, Juanma, Kane, Alves, Wilson, Dhanda (Gomes), Adekanye, Brewster (Millar).
Unused subs: Kelleher.
Emre Can turned 24 on Friday - and the Liverpool midfielder's birthday was celebrated by his teammates before training at Melwood this evening.
After serenading Can, the Reds' squad got down to business as preparations for Sunday's mouth-watering clash with Manchester City continued.
Once again, the players wore their brand new New Balance training range - which you can check out in our online store now.
LFCTV GO subscribers can take a closer look at how Liverpool's latest work-out went in our exclusive 'Inside Training' video above.
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Liverpool U23s face an away trip to Manchester City in Premier League 2 on Friday night - and you can watch the game live for free on both the club's official Facebook page and LFCTV GO with our coverage starting at 6.55pm GMT.
Following the postponement of last weekend's scheduled match with Arsenal, Neil Critchley's side are in action for the first time in 2018.
Kick-off at Manchester City's Academy Stadium is at 7pm and we will bring you the whole 90 minutes live with our single-camera coverage.
Click here to watch live and free on Facebook or see the game on LFCTV GO via the stream below from 6.55pm.
Pep Guardiola feels Liverpool are enjoying their ‘best moment of the season’ ahead of Manchester City’s trip to Anfield on Sunday.
The Reds host the Premier League leaders having extended their unbeaten run to 17 games in all competitions by virtue of last week’s dramatic 2-1 FA Cup third-round win over Everton.
City, of course, have only tasted defeat once all season and boast an incredible record of 20 wins and two draws from their 22 top-flight fixtures so far this term.
Nevertheless, Guardiola expects his side to face a ‘real test’ at Anfield - a ground City have not won at since 2003. The Citizens boss discussed that 15-year wait and much more in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Read on for a summary of what Guardiola had to say...
On Sunday’s game…
Obviously for us it’s a real test, going to Anfield - one of the most prestigious stadiums and teams in the world - and to play a good performance. We are going to try. It’s a big game for us and today and tomorrow we are going to prepare as best as possible to know exactly what is going to happen on Sunday.
On Liverpool and Jürgen Klopp…
I met Jürgen Klopp when I was in Bayern Munich and he was in Dortmund. He’s a guy who tries to play forward with no fear and courage and they play in Anfield so of course we are going to need to defend. But I’m not expecting a team that is going to wait [to see] what’s happening with my team, so I’m pretty sure – he did it last season – that he’s going to try to make his own game and I think it will be a good game.
Hopefully we can do better than last season. Last season we didn’t make a good performance there, hopefully this season we can play better. That is our target, not to focus too much on what they do. Of course we have to analyse what they are, but be especially focused on putting in a better performance and show courage to play in that stage. I think in these kind of games it depends how your mentality is. We will try to do our game and play with personality, just to play who we are, that is what I most desire to see from my team in these games. So be what we have been so far this season. After that, we will see. The players will make the difference.
On whether this will be one of City’s toughest games of the season…
Well it’s another test, we have test after test every three days and this is going to be one more in a big stadium against a really good team. We are going to face them in their best moment of the season, 17 games in a row unbeaten, so I think they’re a really good team and with Van Dijk they are even better.
On City’s poor recent record at Anfield…
I don’t believe in these kind of things [superstition], but of course in 45 years Manchester City have won twice there, the last time 15 years ago, so that means a lot in terms of how difficult and complicated it is to play there. But records are always there to be broken, and maybe on Sunday Sergio [Aguero, who has never scored at Anfield] will break that record.
On whether this season’s reverse fixture, which City won 5-0 after Sadio Mane was sent off in the first half, will have an effect on Sunday’s match…
I don’t think so. It’s far away in the past and a lot happened in that game. I said immediately in the press conference after the match that before the sending off, it was 1-0 and the game was equal. So before the 1-0 from Sergio, we had chances, then after we scored Salah had one or two chances. Of course, after the sending off, especially because we scored again before half-time, that helped a lot, but it’s completely different. Every game is completely different.
On the Reds’ top scorer Mohamed Salah…
[I have] a lot of respect for Salah.
Liverpool FC have released the following ticket details for the FA Cup fourth-round tie against West Bromwich Albion.
The game at Anfield will kick off at 7.45pm GMT on Saturday January 27.
The entire stadium will be ticketed and prices are varied depending on seat location.
Adults – £9*-40
Over 65s – £9*-30
Young adults – £9*-10
Juniors – £5 (within the advertised family sections)
*Local general sale price
For a full breakdown of the pricing structure for this game, please click here.
Official LFC hospitality
Priced from £82.50 plus VAT. Call 0151 264 2222 for details or buy online.
Official match breaks
For availability and prices, please call 01733 224 834 or click here.
Match breaks are sold on a match-by-match basis; therefore tickets purchased via the match breaks will not qualify for ticket priority in future rounds of the FA Cup.
Information for supporters enrolled into the Auto Cup Scheme
We are currently processing payments for season ticket holders and Members registered in the Auto Cup Scheme. Click here for specific details, including stadium access, prices and what to do if your payment fails.
Click here for details.
All other supporters
The below sales will take place online only.
Priority rights holders: from 9.15am on Tuesday January 16.
For full details on eligibility, please click here.
Sales will then take place in the following order, subject to availability and on a first come, first served basis. We cannot guarantee that tickets will be available to all who apply.
Please expect to queue at times.
Season ticket holders who attended Everton (January 5, 2018): from 1pm on Tuesday January 16.
Members who attended Everton (January 5, 2018): from 8.15am on Wednesday January 17.
Season ticket holders: from 8.15am on Thursday January 18.
Sales will be suspended from 12.15pm until the start of the next sale.
Members: from 1pm on Thursday January 18.
A queuing system will be in place for this sale.
Local general sale: from 8.15am on Friday January 19.
A queuing system will be in place for this sale.
Should there be any tickets remaining or if tickets are returned following the above sales, the club will make a further announcement. Supporters should check here for any sale updates.
The club reserves the right to change any sale to a controlled sale if given advice from the police or other relevant authorities.
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Jürgen Klopp has revealed that Liverpool are out to 'clarify something' when they face Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday.
The Reds suffered a 5-0 defeat in the reverse fixture back in September, with Sadio Mane's first-half red card arguably the turning point in what had been a tight contest up until then.
And, while Pep Guardiola's men have since established a hefty lead at the top of the Premier League, Klopp views the weekend's game as a chance to show the gap between the two sides is not so great.
He told reporters: "In a football way, I think we should try to clarify something.
"They play a fantastic season, our season is not too bad, but in a game like this you need to show that you can cause them problems, more problems than other teams can, make their life difficult and try to win.
"It's Anfield, that's another thing that we should show. I'm really looking forward to the game, to be honest.
"In sports, that's why you play twice against each other - sometimes you get an opportunity to put things right.
"[The 5-0 defeat] was not a nice day in the season, to be honest, so to try and draw another picture, I think that would make sense and will be one part of our motivation, but if that's the only one then we don't have a chance anyway."
City have avoided defeat in the 22 league fixtures they have contested thus far this season, while just two of those have ended in draws.
Klopp paid tribute to the sheer quality Sunday's visitors possess, admitting his players will have to be at their best defensively.
He added: "The biggest strength of Manchester City is their tactical discipline.
"What they do, they do, and they do it again and do it again and do it again, that's how it is [in terms of] offensive tactics plus defensive counter-pressing.
"What they do, they do fantastic, but the good thing is it's not completely unpredictable.
"The positions are clear, the only problem is, in each position, they have a world-class player who will do the best he can.
"But it's not like the ball is here and the next second it's there, so you can defend it, but it's really difficult.
"What they do, they do on an incredibly high level. David Silva and Kevin de Bruyne, having Ilkay Gundogan to give one or the other a rest, that's - wow - quality.
"They enjoy what they are doing and have the confidence that you have when you are 16 points up, so that makes them quite a nice football team."
But, while the German is full of admiration for Guardiola's team, he doesn't want Liverpool to show too much respect this weekend.
He continued: "It's interesting to play against them, they play really good and if you don’t respect that then you have a problem.
"But then if you then are not brave in the things you do, you have another problem.
"You need to really show up in a game like this, otherwise if you try to react a little bit on what they do, you will lose [unless] they shoot own goals and maybe we should not hope for that.
"We need to show up, that’s how it is."
Jürgen Klopp discussed Philippe Coutinho’s decision to leave Liverpool for Barcelona this week and other general transfer speculation regarding the club during his pre-Manchester City press conference at Melwood on Friday.
Read on for a summary of what the boss had to say…
On Philippe Coutinho’s decision to leave Liverpool…
There was no other option; I would say it’s a pretty easy answer. I don’t know exactly how the reaction has been after that, but if there is somebody who maybe should be angry, massively disappointed or whatever in this case then it could be the manager of the club, with players leaving. But I’m not because I know we tried absolutely everything – the club tried everything to convince Phil to stay here and carrying on going the way together with us and stuff like that. It is exactly like everybody knows - it was his dream and it’s the truth when I say he left Liverpool only for one club and that was Barcelona. That was the moment when we really had to accept that.
The club was fighting until the last second and really tried everything. That’s the case. There was a moment when I knew it would come up again in this transfer window - and it came up massively – and it would then be very difficult if we had said what we could have done, of course, ‘here’s your contract and you have to stay here’, to [then] use him as a player in the second part of the season. That is then a decision I had to make at one point, does it make sense? Do I think we can use him still? Can he help us still? To be honest, it was 100 per cent clear no chance. He was not ready to do that anymore.
He did fantastic in the first part of the season after things we had to deal with in the summer transfer window. He did fantastic in the first part of the season and the team did fantastic because it’s never easy. Not only Phil did fantastic games in the first part of the season or fantastic sessions, but the team did really brilliant with that, as the whole club did. But it was clear that’s over now, we cannot do that anymore, so we made that decision, that’s it.
On how Liverpool will ‘replace’ Coutinho…
If we do something then it needs to be right decision, we don’t have to replace him – what we have to do is step up. We will have 11 players and we’ve played fantastic football without Phil. I don’t want to sound disrespectful because I really liked him; he was five years here and since I came in he was always in the dressing room. You miss a person and if you don’t miss them then something would have been wrong in the time you were together. I am sure he will miss us – maybe he doesn’t realise in the moment when everything is new there – but it’s 100 per cent clear.
We only have to carry on. As I said, we had fantastic games with him and not-that-good-games with him. We played good without him and not-that-good without. That’s the situation and we are already used to it, it’s now pretty much a week ago. [In terms of] a replacement, first of all if we have to replace him internally, then we will go with open eyes through this transfer window, but we will not make crazy things. Right [player] before expensive.
On transfer rumours regarding potential Liverpool transfer activity…
That’s part of the transfer window and I have nothing to say about that. It is how it is, we will see. Until January 31, a lot of things can happen in the transfer window and probably you will know if it’s about other clubs earlier than I will. But, nothing to say. We will see with all the things what can happen in the transfer window.
On comparing selling Coutinho to selling players at Borussia Dortmund…
I don’t know if you can compare them – we lost plenty of players at Dortmund, to be honest, and in the end maybe we couldn’t deal with it that good in the end, but [losing] one player was never a problem, to be honest. If somebody wants to know it, the best player of the season in 2011 in Germany was Nuri Sahin. He left the club after that season. It was not a coincidence that he was the best player of the season, he played an outstanding season.
The replacement was Ilkay Gundogan and he needed half a year to make any game for Borussia Dortmund. It was not that he came in and succeeded immediately. Things like this happen, but you never can compare it. It is normal in the business – you lose a player, you buy a player, you bring players in, you always need to react.
It’s all about the atmosphere in the club. If on Sunday, there is a free-kick, for example, from 20 yards and anybody in the stadium is thinking, ‘Phil!’ that would be not too cool. The team will not. Maybe the team will think, ‘he is not here, so we have to take it’. We will have solutions for that, that is 100 per cent. How it is always with the past: use it, don’t suffer because of it. That’s what I always did.
As I said, I like Phil, he is a fantastic player and his behaviour [was good]. I said to him, I don’t know after which game when we had a little talk on the pitch, ‘what a character!’ and that’s true. But he still wanted to leave, that’s how it is and so now he’s there and we are still here. There is nothing to compare, it is only to deal with the situation. Really, it is a normal, normal thing and we have only to make the best of it. That’s easy because we still have fantastic players here and if we have difficulties in the next few games, we don’t have them because Phil is not here anybody – we have them because we have difficulties, that’s all.
Virgil van Dijk's impressive Liverpool debut reinforced Jürgen Klopp's belief that he will adapt comfortably to life at Anfield.
However, the boss’ confidence in his other centre-backs means the Dutchman will not start every game.
Van Dijk enjoyed a remarkable bow for the Reds in last Friday’s FA Cup third-round win over Everton, performing his defensive duties with a classy assurance throughout and popping up with a late headed winner at the Kop end to seal a 2-1 victory for Klopp’s team.
That match came only four days after the 26-year-old had completed his transfer from Southampton on January 1, and Klopp has since had a week to train his new No.4 ahead of Sunday’s clash with Manchester City at Anfield.
During his press conference to preview the game against the Premier League leaders, Klopp was asked what he had worked on with Van Dijk during that time.
“Not everything because even that is too short, that’s why other players have a pre-season, but I think the Everton game showed already that it’s a doable job to adapt him to the rest of the team,” the manager replied.
“It was quite impressive, come on, we have to say that it was a really good game against Everton. I was not sure before the game but then it was easy to say afterwards that I was very sure!
“But that doesn’t mean too much with the City game. The City game is a completely different game and the team things, the team tactics should be as tuned as possible.
“I didn’t make a decision so far if he is ready for that - the long-term for sure, the short-term, I don’t know, but the good thing is that all the other three boys are in a really good shape so that in this moment, if nothing else happens, then I should sleep OK thinking about that problem.”
Klopp went on to praise the recent displays of Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Ragnar Klavan, who have played their part in the Reds amassing an unbeaten run of 17 matches across all competitions.
“That’s still possible [that Lovren and Matip may start together], and Ragnar Klavan, who is in fantastic shape,” he continued.
“It’s not guaranteed [that Van Dijk will start every game] and that’s no problem, he should not. Even Virgil van Dijk should not play 60 games a season and stuff like that. That will never happen.”
Jürgen Klopp previewed Liverpool's weekend meeting with Manchester City at a press conference on Friday - and you can watch the whole thing free on YouTube.
The Reds are out to end the runaway Premier League leaders' unbeaten record when the sides go head to head at Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Klopp discussed the game, provided an injury update and spoke about Virgil van Dijk as he faced the media at Melwood ahead of the match. See everything he had to say below.
Jordan Henderson, Alberto Moreno and Daniel Sturridge have taken positive steps in their injury rehabilitations, Jürgen Klopp has confirmed.
The trio have been out of action during recent weeks due to respective hamstring, ankle and muscle issues.
They each require further progress before being considered for selection but, as Klopp previewed Sunday’s Premier League clash with Manchester City, he was able to report good news on their recoveries.
“[Sturridge] is back in training, healthy and on the way to be fit again,” the manager told reporters at Melwood.
“Hendo is in this moment out on the pitch and is training. It looks good – he wears football boots, that is always a good sign. He was not in team training so far.
“Alberto Moreno was in team training yesterday, the first full session. He is a little bit early but after that he should be ready. He needs time for proper training of course.
“The boys really do a lot in their rehab situation and, if we have time, we bring them a little bit later into team training so that they can do a little bit more specific physical work. But still they need time to adapt to the intensity of a football game. It looks really good, cool.”
Mohamed Salah is ready to return from injury when Liverpool host Manchester City at Anfield.
The No.11 sat out the past two matches, victories over Burnley and Everton, due to a groin injury sustained as he scored a brace against Leicester City in the final game of 2017.
But Jürgen Klopp confirmed that, as it stands, Salah is in contention again for the Premier League showdown with Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten team on Sunday.
“If nothing happens in this moment, Mo is back, he is training completely normally,” the manager told reporters at his pre-match press conference.
The Egypt international has scored 23 goals in 29 appearances since signing for the Reds last summer, and was today named the Standard Chartered Player of the Month for December.
Mohamed Salah has secured a fourth Standard Chartered Player of the Month award in just five months at Liverpool, winning December's fan vote.
The No.11 scored six goals in eight appearances last month, helping Jürgen Klopp's team reach the Champions League knockout stages and maintain their place in the Premier League top four.
And that typically prolific form has seen the Egyptian yet again chosen by supporters as the Reds' standout man.
Upon receiving the gong, Salah told Liverpoolfc.com: "I'm very happy to win this award again.
"It's always a good feeling for me to win this award because you work hard, you help the team to get points to achieve something.
"As I said before, the most important thing is to win the games, and we try to win each game.
"We are working [well] at the moment, we are [picking up] points, so we are in a good position - we have to carry on now."
When pushed for a personal highlight from December, the 25-year-old picked out marking his Merseyside derby debut with a memorable solo strike.
He added: "I always try to help the team, to improve myself, so each game for me was very important.
"[But] it was the first derby for me, so I'm very happy to score in my first derby."
Ryan Kent has joined Bristol City on loan until the end of the season.
The 21-year-old, who spent the first half of the campaign with Freiburg, will spend the remainder of 2017-18 at Ashton Gate having put the finishing touches on his temporary switch on Friday.
Academy graduate Kent signed a long-term contract extension with the Reds last summer and made six appearances for Bundesliga outfit Freiburg before returning to Anfield.
Bristol City currently sit fourth in the Championship and face a Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Manchester City later this month.
The biggest change for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at Liverpool has been the subtle differences in the demands made of his team by Jürgen Klopp.
Since joining the club from Arsenal on transfer deadline day in August, the England international’s influence has steadily grown and 25 appearances have quickly been accumulated.
With the Reds fighting for the best position possible in the Premier League, plus knockout fixtures in the FA Cup and Champions League ahead too, consistency is of paramount importance.
So too is a synchronised approach – and Oxlade-Chamberlain feels he has successfully made the transition from his previous responsibilities to the new ones with Liverpool.
“The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is how this manager likes to stop situations at source, and how he likes to attack is slightly different to my manager before,” said the No.21.
“I was in certain habits and certain things became second nature to me and in football it is all about instinct. You train and train a certain thing so when you are in that situation you don’t think about it.
“It just might be a simple trigger when something happens and the defence passes to that player and the ball is slightly behind him. That is your cue to go and press. At your previous club you might not even look into that.
“I have about 100 different things but it is all those adding up. When a team is in sync to do what a manager wants and you have one player who has come in and is doing it slightly different it breaks the whole chain and it doesn’t work for everyone.
“We press high and if one person is not doing it right – even if it is small – it makes everyone’s work a waste of time. Just little things like that I had to learn. It can take some time.”
Liverpool meet Manchester City in the Premier League on Sunday, the first fixture since Philippe Coutinho’s departure to FC Barcelona was confirmed.
But the Brazilian’s absence can be neither distraction nor excuse according to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who sees plenty of attacking firepower in the rest of the Reds squad.
“I’ve got every respect for Phil and his decisions, I wish him all the best but he is not in my thoughts right now. He can’t affect the score versus Manchester City,” said the midfielder.
“I’m more concerned about what I can do, what Mo [Salah] can do, what Sadio [Mane] can do, what whoever is playing will do because we are the boys now that will get the right result for the club.
“I haven’t really even thought about Phil leaving. You pay it attention and you realise it happens but you can’t start thinking, ‘what are we going to do now that Phil is not here?’ It can’t be that at all. It’s business as usual.
“When Phil wasn’t playing in the team for some games we still played great football and we still have amazing players who can score goals – the likes of Mo, Sadio, Roberto [Firmino], everyone else.
“We have goals and creativity all over the team. Obviously Phil added to that, there is no doubt. The fact is he has gone now we have to think, ‘what have we got that is going to get the job done?’”