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Liverpool deal for €30m-rated centre-back still on cards

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English Premier League title holders Liverpool are not dumping their interest in German Bundesliga outfit Schalke central defender, Ozan Kabak as they are still considering a move for him ahead of the winter transfer window.

The Reds have been hit with an injury crisis as former Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk is injured and could miss the entire season while other defensive players are also battling fitness. Joel Matip and Joe Gomez are the only natural central defenders in the team while Fabinho has been deployed from the midfield for the rescue mission.

Manager Jurgen Klopp is left with limited options which make it necessary for the club to consider a central defender as they have been linked with a number of names.

With the interest in Ozan Kabak already known, the German Bundesliga outfit are already considering to allow the Turkish international leave the club as long as they can cash in €30m from his sale. Schalke are currently battling financial crises and will not mind a way out with the sale of the young defender.

The club is also aware that the English Premier League club are not alone in the chase of Ozan Kabak as Italian Serie A outfit AC Milan have also shown interest in his signature.

AC Milan chief Frederic Massara has also been in contact with Ozan’s representatives for a possible deal, with the hope of taking advantage of the financial crisis hitting Schalke 04 and pull out a deal.

Schalke sporting director Jochen Schneider had confirmed AC Milan’s interest by stating that “Milan knocked at the very end of the transfer period in the summer, which was out of the question for us.”

However, Liverpool are not ready to give up on the chase as they consider a move as early as in the January winter transfer window so as to defend the title and save the team from unnecessary pressure.

Ozan Kabak is just 20-years of age which is a point of interest for Liverpool. Manager Jurgen Klopp is not only seeking for a short-term replacement for the former Southampton centra defender but he wants a player that will be at the club for many more years.

Virgil Van Dijk is over 30 and do not have many more years to play actively, there is a bid to have a successive plan when making an investment so that the younger player can learn, develop and adapt in a good time.

Liverpool

Liverpool backed to sign Kalvin Phillips

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Former Arsenal winger Perry Groves has told Liverpool that signing Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips is a necessity even if he costs £100million, because he would be a perfect fit for Jurgen Klopp.

Phillips has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few years, with his performances helping Leeds establish themselves in the Premier League and England to reach the final of Euro 2020.

Phillips is under contract with Leeds until June 2024 and is unlikely to be moving on from his hometown club any time soon.

His rise in prominence was bound to come with more exposure to the rumour mill – and Groves has touted Phillips as a potential Liverpool player.

“Kalvin Phillips fits Liverpool perfectly,” he said on talkSPORT.

“The energy they play with, the closing down, his athleticism, his passing range.

“What would he cost? £100million.”

He added that “Before Kalvin signed his last contract, we had good interest so we sat down and explored all the pros and cons,” he told inews earlier this month.

“His desire was never to leave, it was to be rewarded and stay and play for the team he supported as a kid.

“Within the contract he signed in September 2019, we included provisions within it for if Leeds reached the Premier League, so it’s all set up for the top flight.

“We knew it was a bit of a gamble, but we knew Leeds would get there under Bielsa and obviously they did.

“There may be clubs who are actually looking at Kalvin now because the more successful you are – playing for England in big tournaments – naturally breeds interest.

“But Kalvin is happy at Leeds and has no desire to move whatsoever. It’s more a case of ‘carry on what you’re doing for club and country’.”

There is no doubt that Kalvin Phillips’ abilities have been more appreciated by Jurgen Klopp after seeing him at Euros 2020.

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Steve Nicol tells Liverpool what they must do to avoid failing this season

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Former Liverpool defender Steve Nicol has warned the club to move into the market and get a replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum who has left the club to join French Ligue 1 outfit PSG on a free transfer.

According to the former player, Jurgen Klopp might be considering Thiago Alcantara as a replacement but noted that the player is not capable of filling the box-to-box role that was perfected by the Dutch midfielder before his exit.

Recall that the 30-year-old was a major part of Liverpool’s recent Champions League and Premier League triumphs, making 237 total appearances for the club after joining from Newcastle United in 2016.

Nicol, who won nine major trophies with the Reds between 1981 and 1995, has implored his old club to sign a player capable of effectively replacing Wijnaldum rather than handing the opportunity to Thiago.

“It’s difficult to go right now and find a player,” Nicol told the ESPN FC podcast.

“But I still think they need to go and get somebody who can play the way that Klopp did before Alcantara came.

“We all thought Alcantara was coming to give that little edge with a pass forwards, be a little bit more cute, and as much as he can bring that, I think that affects the middle three defensively.

“Teams were getting at Liverpool’s backline far too easily, the last six months of last season in particular with the injuries.

“I don’t have a player in my mind right now where I would say: ‘Go and sign this guy’. I just have a question [about] Alcantara as the man between Fabinho and Henderson.

“I think [Curtis] Jones can get better and do it eventually. I’m just not quite 100 per cent right now that, with what they have, they’ll be able to get after City.”

Meanwhile, Thiago has already declared that his influence has been restricted by playing in a deeper role at Liverpool, suggesting last month that he feels more comfortable as an attacking playmaker.

“I would say it [my ability to create] has been more limited because of a positional issue,” the midfielder told L’Equipe.

“If I play No 6 instead of No 10, I’ll have less room to manoeuvre, less freedom to dribble, because I’ll have to take fewer risks.

“In the history of football, strikers have always been admired more than defenders. Because a defender can’t make a mistake, unlike the striker.

“So, for me, it’ s a question of position.”

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Liverpool fans given fact about Henderson

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 Danny Murphy has assured Liverpool fans that they need not be worried about the future of Jordan Henderson at Anfield.

He gave this assurance after reports on Monday claimed uncertainty over the Reds captain’s future at Anfield, with no progress about a new contract made.

Henderson has made 392 appearances for Liverpool in a decade at Anfield and has two years left on his current deal, making the fans scared as there is no contract extension yet.

But Murphy isn’t worried, and fully expects Henderson to end his career in a Liverpool shirt.

“I don’t think his contract is a problem,” he told White and Jordan on Monday.

“If he’s got two years left, he loves the club, the club loves him, the fans love him, they adore him.

Henderson led Liverpool to glory in the Premier League in the 2019/20 season.

“He’s not going to be looking to go anywhere else, he’ll be looking to finish his career at Liverpool, there’s no doubt about that.

“And he has got plenty left in the tank.

“Jordan is a phenomenal leader and his progression over the years has been amazing. To go from being bit-part under Brendan Rodgers and then being the mainstay of the team, becoming the leader, the first captain of Liverpool to win the Premier League in 30 years, to take the team to a Champions League final…

“What he’s become is a sensational captain for a wonderful team and he deserves everything he gets.

“To actually elevate his game to a point where the admiration was coming from everywhere, and deservedly so.

“He’s very unique, he’s in the latter stages of his career and can still play in a number of positions equally as well.”

Murphy reckons Henderson may well even be offered a coaching role at Liverpool once he hangs up his boots.

He added: “I don’t think there’ll ever be a problem with Jordan sorting out a new contract at Liverpool.

“I don’t think we’ll ever get to a problematic area in this. It’ll just be smooth and seamless.

“He is appreciated and I think Jordan will see out his future at Liverpool, no problem.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes along the route of doing his coaching badges, maybe within the academy at the club.

“He’s built a foundation there, he’s been there that long where he’s kind of an adopted one of their own. I know he came from Sunderland, but he’s become ingratiated with the club and the ethos of the club.

“So I think he’ll be there for a long time, I don’t see it coming to an end soon.

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