Klopp hints at January deals for Liverpool to aid trophy quest

Jurgen Klopp may dip into the January transfer market in order to ensure that Liverpool remain competitive on multiple fronts.

The Reds have endured a mixed start to the 2017-18 campaign, with a bright opening prior to the international break having been countered by a slight wobble after it.

Defensive frailties continue to be exposed at home and abroad, with a 5-0 mauling at the hands of 10 men at the hands of Manchester City followed by draws against Sevilla and Burnley.

Klopp, though, is happy enough with those currently at his disposal and will continue in his efforts to bring the best out of them until in a position to reassess the situation at Anfield when the next window of opportunity opens in the New Year.

The German coach told reporters: “From today’s perspective yes, we have the resources, but we will see how it is again in January.

“What is my alternative – go to Leicester [in the League Cup on Tuesday] with a white flag and tell them if they want to go to the semi-finals in January then do it because we don’t want to be part of it?

“We have had a few different line-ups and everything has been good in this competition in the last few years when we went to the final and semi-final.

“At one point we didn’t have the opportunity to line up with the strongest side and a lot of England legends said I didn’t respect the cup competitions, which is obviously not so nice.

“But in this moment we have the squad to play in different competitions and to go as far as possible. That is the plan.

“The competition is good. The final was good when we played there. The semi-final against Southampton last year was for us the wrong possible moment, that’s true, but we couldn’t change that.

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“We will see how we are in January but at this moment I feel quite comfortable to use the players and bring players into different games.”

Klopp has faced continuous questioning since the summer deadline regarding his failure to bring in another centre-half, with Liverpool having missed out on the likes of Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

He has become agitated by the discussion, but may decide to address the issue when in a position to do so in January.

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Case closed! Aubameyang transfer talk dismissed by Tianjin Quanjian

Chinese Super League outfit Tianjin Quanjian have denied reports they are set to renew their interest in Borussia Dortmund star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Aubameyang was tipped to leave Dortmund in the off-season after considering an approach from China, while the Gabon international was also linked with AC Milan, before deciding to stay at the Bundesliga side.

Dortmund 11/2 to win Bundesliga

Quanjian – coached by former Italy, Juventus and Real Madrid defender Fabio Cannavaro – were keen on Aubameyang and came close to signing the 28-year-old, who has scored seven goals in all competitions this term, but the CSL club will not make another move in January.

“It is out of the question,” owner Shu Yuhui told reporters. “We were within touching distance of bringing in Aubameyang, but it didn’t work out. It’s a great shame. Case closed!

“It is immoral to poach Dortmund’s star striker when the new season of Bundesliga kicked off only a few weeks ago. I definitely won’t do that.

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“In addition, the Chinese Football Association have put much stress on rational investment [in buying foreign players]. We will absolutely respect their advice.”

Quanjian – who already boast Axel Witsel and Alexandre Pato – are fourth in the CSL, 13 points behind leaders and defending champions Guangzhou Evergrande Taobao. 

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Premier League’s biggest teams want ‘one of the best’ Van Dijk, says Pellegrino

Mauricio Pellegrino says Virgil van Dijk is being chased by the biggest teams in the Premier League and does not know if he will stay at the club in the January transfer window.

The Southampton boss feels interest in the Netherlands international is normal given he is one of the best players in England’s top flight.

Southampton 16/5 to beat Man Utd

Defender Van Dijk made his Saints return as a late substitute in Saturday’s 1-0 away win over Crystal Palace, after handing in a transfer request last month in a bid to force an exit.

That came after the centre-back was heavily linked with a move to Liverpool, whose interest ended with an apology after Southampton threatened to report them for allegedly making an illegal approach.

“Around the player there is a lot of interest,” Pellegrino told reporters of Van Dijk. 

Virgil van Dijk Southampton

“You know how football is, it’s a big business as well as a game. We have to accept that. Around him it is the same situation. 

“We never know how the market will be in January. We can bring in some players, every single squad can improve. We have got people who are working to improve our squad all the time.

“And for the other teams it’s the same. They will push to bring the best players and Virgil is one case. He’s one of the best players in the Premier League.

“It’s normal that the biggest teams in the Premier League want to buy him.”

For the time being, Pellegrino’s focus is limited to on-pitch events, with Saints sitting on eight points from their first five league games this season.

He added: “Now we have to leave aside this situation. Now everything is normal.

“Now, for me I’ve got this group of players and I will try to push them, to work with them, to help them, to improve every single day.”

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Coutinho opens up on failed Barcelona move but insists his focus is firmly on Liverpool

Liverpool star Philippe Coutinho has revealed the details behind his collapsed transfer to Barcelona, admitting he and his family were excited about the move to Camp Nou. 

The Brazil international was marked by the Catalan club as a replacement for Neymar following his countryman’s record-breaking €222 million switch to Paris Saint-Germain last month.

Liverpool 7/1 to beat Leicester 1-0

Despite Coutinho telling Liverpool he wanted to go ahead and leave for La Liga, before handing in an official transfer request in view of forcing a move through, the Reds refused to sell.

Now, having made his Premier League return to Jurgen Klopp’s side in the club’s 1-1 draw at home to Burnley on Saturday, Coutinho insists he is solely focused on giving his best to the Merseyside club.

Coutinho told ESPN Brasil: “What happened was a job offer and, in life, sometimes you get interested, sometimes you don’t, and in my case, as everybody knows, I got interested, my family too.

Coutinho

“But as I’ve always said, it’s a great honour to receive an offer from such a great club like that, but it’s also a great honour being here – Liverpool is great club worldwide. 

“Now I’m here and I’ll give my best, as always.

“I’ve never had any problems with anyone here. I’ve always respected the support very much of the groups. The players, the directors, the technical staff. And that hasn’t changed at all. Like I said, whatever job offers you get, some interest you and others don’t.”

Asked if he was still feeling a sense of disappointment, he replied: “No. It’s all done now. I have to work. I’m focused on working hard and to have a good year if possible. In the end, I have to help my team.”

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Klopp named Coutinho in the Reds’ first team for the first time this season at the weekend, with Sadio Mane serving the first of his three-match ban for his sending off against Manchester City. 

He was eventually replaced by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with Klopp citing cramp as the reason behind the swap.

The draw leaves Liverpool in eighth position after five league games.

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Lewandowski slams ‘nonsense’ Real Madrid rumours

Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski has rubbished speculation he is determined to join Real Madrid.

A report in Spain on Friday claimed the Poland star is “obsessed” with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu and has already informed his agent to try to negotiate a move in 2018.

Schalke 15/2 to beat Bayern

The rumours surfaced in the wake of an interview in which he criticised Bayern’s transfer policy, prompting chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge to issue a public warning against any further such comments.

Lewandowski put talk of his future to one side with a clinical display in Bayern’s 4-0 win over Mainz, scoring twice to take his tally to 82 goals in 100 Bundesliga appearances for the champions.

The 29-year-old promptly dismissed the Madrid rumours and hailed his side for their performance.

“I don’t have to say anything to every bit of nonsense,” he told the media.

He added of the win, in which Thomas Muller and Arjen Robben also scored: “We had a lot of room in which to manoeuvre and were very flexible going forward, which was really fun to play in.

“We were not static and created a lot of chances, which was why we won. We controlled the match from the first minute and scored four goals. Everything we had planned worked out. 

“When we play with this flexibility, any team would struggle to keep up with us.”

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