We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, as Jurgen Klopp‘s squad head for their pre-season tour of the United States.
- Ward completes permanent move to Leicester City
- Mane takes No. 10 shirt ahead of expected new Liverpool deal
- Trio of departures on agenda as attention turns to sales
- How Alisson compares with De Gea, Lloris & other PL goalkeepers
- Fabinho on Liverpool’s title hopes and his midfield battle
- Van Dijk relishing first pre-season under Klopp
Fabinho’s Plans to Lure Mbappe
Fabinho was part of the Monaco side that won the Ligue 1 title in Kylian Mbappe’s last season with the club, as the teenager scored 26 and assisted 14 in 44 games in all competitions in 2016/17.
They have both since moved onto pastures new, with Mbappe joining Paris Saint-Germain for £165.7 million in 2017 and Fabinho making the switch to Liverpool for a modest £39 million this summer.
Mbappe was on the Reds’ radar prior to his move to Paris, and speaking to the Telegraph his former team-mate revealed his plan to convince the forward to Merseyside.
“He has already said for the next season he will remain at PSG, but I will try slowly to convince him to come to Liverpool,” Fabinho said.
Though his relationship with Mbappe could prove beneficial, it still seems unlikely Liverpool would be willing to double their club-record fee to sign the World Cup winner.
Ox’s “Significant Challenge” to Return to Top Level
Klopp insisted that Liverpool “will wait” for the midfielder’s return as he plots his long-term future at Anfield, but a knee expert has explained the difficulty he faces.
Speaking to Rousing The Kop, Dr. David Geier said that Oxlade-Chamberlain has a “significant challenge” ahead, but added that “reaching that level again is certainly possible.”
However, Geier warned that “it’s always possible that he returns but doesn’t look quite like he did before the injury,” referring to a medical journal from 2010 which studied elite-level athletes with similar issues over a 23-year period.
“Although 19 of 24 patients returned to sports with good functional outcomes and ligamentous stability, only eight of 24 athletes reached their pre-injury sports activity level,” he recalled.
The hope will be Oxlade-Chamberlain is able to fully recover, as his form under Klopp in 2017/18 suggested he could fulfil his vast potential in midfield.
How Alisson’s Leadership Has Fuelled His Rise
Liverpool’s world-record acquisition of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson has been met with universal positivity, with Klopp securing one of the best talents in world football.
The manager places great emphasis on the character of his signings, and Alisson‘s childhood goalkeeping coach Daniel Pavan—who has continued to work with the 25-year-old throughout his career—has told Sky Sports that his leadership is key.
“He was captain of the youth teams and was always the leader in the dressing room,” Pavan explained, referring to how Alisson also wore the armband for Internacional at just 21.
Pavan’s counterpart with the Brazil national team, Rogerio Maia, described Alisson as “a leader on and off the field, loved by the group,” which should translate well at Liverpool.
This authority seems reminiscent of Virgil van Dijk, with Klopp adding strong characters throughout his squad.
Carragher’s Hopes For Alisson at Liverpool
Alisson‘s arrival follows a series of failed experiments between the sticks on Merseyside, with goalkeeper proving a problem position for Liverpool since Pepe Reina’s decline.
And welcoming the signing on Instagram on Thursday night, Jamie Carragher highlighted the severity of the Reds’ issues with the role.
“Since Ray Clemence we’ve had two good ‘keepers, Brucie and Reina,” he wrote.
“So [I] couldn’t care less about the fee if he’s the real deal!”
It is difficult to argue with Carragher—although his Champions League final team-mate Jerzy Dudek may disagree—and as he suggests, if Alisson is a success there will be little focus on his £65 million fee.
Jones Outlines Areas For Improvement
Curtis Jones has been one of the key positives for Liverpool in the first four friendlies of pre-season, with the 17-year-old producing a series of bright displays in a variety of roles.
Such is his current ability, and his vast potential, that it would come as no surprise if Jones were to make his competitive debut this season.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com after his impressive turn in midfield against Blackburn, the Scouser explained how he was working to improve his off-ball work to earn a role under Klopp:
“For me, [the focus is on] the other side of the game.
“I think I bring a lot when I’m on the ball and dribbling in the final third.
“But it’s the other side of the game; the defending, the competing, heading, tackles and running back you have to do to help the defence.
“It was a different kind of 45 for me [against Blackburn]. I think it wasn’t a [normal] game for me when I get on the ball and use my dribbling skills.
“And it was more me getting the ball and keeping it and letting the team tick over.”
Klopp’s attention to Jones’ development should be hugely encouraging, as the manager has no doubt earmarked the youngster for a long-term role in the first team.
Liverpool Youngster Joins Wolves
Jones’ progress at just 17 is a signal of the difficulty facing academy players aiming to break through; unless they are of genuine, top quality, they are unlikely to establish themselves.
An example of this is Portuguese midfielder Paulo Alves, who was named on the substitutes’ bench in Liverpool’s 1-0 win at Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup in 2017 but then released 18 months later.
The 20-year-old has signed a two-year contract with newly promoted Wolves, and will begin the season with their U23s.