We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Friday, on a busy day including Jurgen Klopp‘s pre-Fulham press conference and the Champions League quarter-final draw.
Today’s Main Headlines
- Liverpool draw Porto in Champions League quarters
The perfect outcome for the Reds?
- Dates confirmed for Liverpool vs. Porto tie
Get those dates in the diary!
- Liverpool fans react to Champions League draw
“If Carlsberg did draws”, “Porto will be out for revenge”.
- Klopp respectful after Liverpool draw Porto
“We know how good we had to be last year”.
- Watch Klopp’s Fulham press conference
The boss on good form as always.
- A Quick Guide to FC Porto
Everything you need to know about the Reds’ Champions League opponents.
- Klopp on Henderson, Keita and Ox injuries
Oxlade-Chamberlain close to being “100% fit”.
- Wijnaldum at ease over new contract talks
The midfielder also discussed Sadio Mane‘s brilliance.
- Premier League & FA Cup Weekend Preview
Man City’s focus switches away from title race.
Insigne Not For Sale
Lorenzo Insigne has been loosely linked with a summer move to Liverpool, with rumours suggesting he is unhappy at boyhood club Napoli.
Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis has dismissed the reports, however, saying the diminutive forward remains priceless to the Serie A outfit:
“Insigne isn’t on the market,” De Laurentiis told reporters.
“I’m not aware of any interest in Lorenzo. He’s an extraordinary and attractive player, very few of whom are like him.
“When someone’s attractive like him, it’s normal if there are seven, eight, nine, 10 teams interested. However, one thing is to want him and another is to put money on the table.
“We want to see the colour of someone’s money first. There’s no price for Insigne, otherwise, we would’ve put a release clause in his contract.
“He knows this is my home and his home. We think alike.”
It was never a rumour likely to come to fruition.
Potential Champions League Blow
Liverpool are due to play the second leg of the Champions League semi-finals at Anfield, should they get past Porto.
That may have to change, however, with the Liverpool Echo reporting that the Reds’ schedule will be reversed if both Man City and Man United also progress, due to two teams from the same city not being allowed to play at home on the same night.
City play Tottenham in an eye-catching all-Premier League tie, while United face Barcelona in the more daunting task of the two.
Let’s hope Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, Lionel Messi and the rest can send United packing and do Liverpool a favour, or even that Spurs knock out the Premier League champions for that matter.
Gerrard Talked Suarez Out Of Move
Suarez was famously a target for Arsenal in the summer of 2013, with the north London hilariously tabling a bid of £40,000,001 for the Uruguayan, then with Liverpool.
Speaking to Otro, Suarez has revealed that he was talked out of the move by Steven Gerrard, whose influence he hailed:
“We qualified for the UEFA Europa League but the season ended badly.
“I’m about to go to Arsenal, forcing myself to go, and Steven tells me ‘I promise that if you stay this year you’re going to take off and next year you’ll go to Bayern, Barcelona, Real Madrid or whichever one you want, but stay this year because you won’t be better off at Arsenal’.
“This was the last conversation I had with Gerrard at that moment and I told my agent that I had made my decision and I was staying.
“His words convinced me in that moment. They came from a person who cared for me, who wanted my well-being, who saw me suffer during training and saw me sad.
“They were words from a true captain that had an impact in that moment and helped me a lot.”
Without the legendary skipper’s vital intervention, we would never have had that 2013/14 season!
Parker’s Assessment Of Liverpool
Scott Parker has the daunting challenge of trying to mastermind a Fulham win over Liverpool on Sunday afternoon.
The Cottagers’ temporary man in charge has lauded the brilliance of this Reds side, admitting to reporters that they are one of the best on the planet right now:
“It’s a massive challenge, a team that are fighting at the right end in terms of going for the championship.
“They’re up there with the world’s best.
“The pace and the power they have is frighting. This team is up there, they have a top class manager and done well.”
Parker’s side sit 19th in the Premier League and 13 points adrift of safety heading into the weekend game—they are all but doomed already.
Karius Off To Olympiakos?
Loris Karius‘ two-year loan spell at Besiktas isn’t going to plan, with fans jeering a recent performance and the goalkeeper taking legal action after not being paid for four months.
According to Hurriyet, Karius is looking for a way out and Olympiakos are keen on acquiring his signature.
Sport Witness claim that President of the Greek club, Evangelos Marinakis, “will hope to use his relationship with Besiktas chief Firket Orman to help get a deal done.”
Karius is highly unlikely to return to Liverpool if he does leave Besiktas, with his Reds career almost certainly over after last season’s Champions League final heartbreak and the signing of Alisson Becker.
Reds Linked With Rodriguez
Liverpool and Man United could do battle for the signature of James Rodriguez this summer, according to El Confidencial, via the Mirror.
The Colombian is currently on loan at Bayern Munich from Real Madrid, where he could do nothing about the Reds progressing to the Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday night.
The Bundesliga giants are unlikely to keep him on permanently, however, while Madrid are willing to let him leave at the end of the season for £70 million, freeing up funds for new signings.
The reigning European champions have just brought in defender Eder Militao from Porto, meaning they will have three non-EU players next season already, without Rodriguez.
Not too much should be read into the story, however, with the 27-year-old arguably past his best and not necessarily possessing the dynamism required in a Klopp side.
Duo Called Up By Netherlands
Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum have been named in the Netherlands’s 25-man squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus (March 21) and Germany (March 24).
The pair have been two of Liverpool’s most influential performers this season, with Van Dijk the odds-on favourite to win the PFA Player of the Year award.
The Reds’ towering centre-back will captain his country, having been given the role by manager Ronald Koeman last year.
Klopp will be sweating over the duo staying fit before they return to club action, given how vital they will be in the Premier League and Champions League run-in.