We round up the latest Liverpool news and transfer rumours on Monday, on the eve of the Reds’ Champions League opener away to Napoli.
Today’s Main Headlines
- Liverpool confirm 20-man squad for Napoli trip
Origi misses out for the Reds.
- Best photos as Liverpool train ahead of Napoli game
Reds begin Champions League defence in Italy.
- Liverpool learn route through Club World Cup
Potential final rivals revealed.
- Cain signs first professional deal with Liverpool
Impressive progress rewarded.
- Liverpool FC Loan Watch
Reds loanees continue to shine with two goals & an assist.
Spanish Giants Want Van Dijk
Virgil van Dijk produced another strong showing against Newcastle on Saturday, with one magnificent recovery tackle on Joelinton catching the eye.
According to AS, Real Madrid and Barcelona want to sign the Dutchman next summer, as they look to make a significant upgrade to their respective defences.
Although in the past this is a story that would have caused undoubted concern among Liverpool supporters, the Reds are now a completely different proposition.
They may be able to offer higher wages than Liverpool, but Van Dijk isn’t the kind to be swayed by that.
Koulibaly was Van Dijk Alternative
Speaking of Van Dijk, Goal‘s Neil Jones has explained that Liverpool “would have moved” for Kalidou Koulibaly, had they not acquired their current No.4’s signature.
The Senegalese, who will again come up against the Reds for Napoli on Tuesday, was one of a number of top targets, including Man City‘s Aymeric Laporte.
Liverpool got their man, however, with Van Dijk completing a £75million move to Anfield in January 2018 – he must be worth double that now, right?
Koulibaly is one of the world’s best centre-backs currently, so he wouldn’t have been a bad alternative.
Reds are Europe’s Best, says Ancelotti
Carlo Ancelotti will hope to avenge last season’s crucial 1-0 defeat at Anfield when Napoli take on Liverpool on Tuesday.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Italian described the Reds as the best side in Europe currently, admitting it should be an intriguing game at Stadio San Paolo.
“It is the beginning of the Champions League group and we are confronted with the best team in Europe,” Ancelotti said.
“In the Premier League they have maximum points. It’s a difficult test, but at the same time very exciting.
“I think it will be a game of the same emotional level as last year, with lots of intensity. We hope for the same result as last year (in Italy).”
Meanwhile, the dressing rooms at Napoli’s ground are ready to use, after Ancelotti voiced his displeasure at the situation last week.
Agent Outlines Klopp’s Title Aim
The 52-year-old is aiming to become the first Reds manager to win a league title since 1990 – an achievement that would be celebrated in unrivalled fashion.
In an interview with Spox, Klopp’s agent, Marc Kosicke, revealed how focused the German is on title glory, also revealing the secret to his success:
“You have now seen what was going on in Liverpool after winning the Champions League. As a result, the very great pressure that he himself does not feel so much, but which was there from the outside, is gone.
“The UEFA Super Cup was also added. He is not only proud of the process that is going on, but also very happy that trophies have been won.
“Winning the Premier League is still a goal for Jurgen.
“On the one hand, he understands football as a top coach needs to understand it. On the other hand, his main competence is dealing with people, because he is unique.
“This trust that he gives people or the self-responsibility that gives his coaching team is unique.”
Klopp Almost Serenaded Firmino
Roberto Firmino was a joy to watch on Saturday, producing a magnificent performance from the substitutes’ bench.
The Anfield crowd weren’t the only ones loving the Brazilian’s impact as they serenaded him with a rendition of ‘Si Señor!’, though.
Speaking to LiverpoolFC.com, Klopp admits he was on the cusp of joining in at one point, as he hailed the striker’s influence:
“I was close to singing it! No, it was really good. We knew that he could play, it’s not about that, it’s just that he had the trip he had.
“They [Firmino and fellow Brazil international Fabinho] were in Miami and LA and arrived on Thursday morning after playing Tuesday night. It’s really difficult to judge these situations and that’s why we made the decision.
“But of course, what Bobby did then on the pitch: phenomenal! Nice game!”
Firmino is expected to start against Napoli, with Divock Origi ruled out through injury.