Liverpool are gearing up for their league clash with Watford on Saturday, but January plans and League Cup exploits are all the talk on Thursday.
Salzburg sporting director confirms Minamino talks
There is excitement after news broke earlier in the morning that Liverpool are set to complete a £7.25 million deal for Salzburg’s Takumi Minamino.
The attacking midfielder dazzled in both of his games against the Reds, with a contingent of Liverpool players even making note of him to club staff, and now he is set to make the move to Anfield in January in yet another transfer masterclass from Michael Edwards and Co.
Liverpool value the 24-year-old in excess of £20 million, but his lowly release clause ensures we will be able to pick up a valuable option through attack and midfield at a bargain price.
And while various Merseyside reporters broke the news earlier on Thursday, Salzburg’s sporting director, Christoph Freund has confirmed that talks are ongoing and even spoke of the immense “honour” that a club of our stature was interested in one of their players.
“I can confirm that there are currently discussions with Liverpool. It is an honour [such] clubs are interested in our players.”
Talk about grace. Why can’t all our approaches for players be considered “an honour,” it would certainly make life considerably easier.
Minamino will become a Liverpool player on January 1 and could therefore make his debut in the FA Cup against Everton on January 5.
No one wants Liverpool
On the other side of the coin, there is no doubting that many will not look forward to seeing their name associated with Liverpool when the last 16 draw for the Champions League takes place on Monday.
The Reds are of course reigning European champions and have never lost a two-legged tie on the continent since Jurgen Klopp‘s arrival.
And Andy Robertson says no one will be wishing for the Reds to be their next opponent, and he is not wrong there.
There are five possible ties for Liverpool after the group stages came to a close on Wednesday, with Real Madrid, Atalanta, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund and Lyon all finishing second in their respective groups.
In fact, the last 16 boasts only teams from England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy this season for the first time in the competition’s history – a Super League without the official title…
Eyes on the immediate, short and long term future
Liverpool’s return to Premier League action is now on the agenda, but that has not stopped a look further afield to our potential new signing, while plenty remains ongoing around all areas of the club.
- Looking to Anfield on Saturday, we got the view from Watford as they look for an upturn of form under new boss Nigel Pearson
- We rounded up some reactions from Liverpool fans after news of Minamino’s deal broke, with Michael Edwards rightly receiving mass praise
- Liverpool FC Women secured a morale-boosting victory against Durham but they fell agonisingly short of the knockout stages
- And we got the inside scoop on the opening of first official Liverpool FC store in the Middle East from the owner in Dubai
Young Reds with nothing to fear
Liverpool’s young stars are set to take centre stage next week when they take to the field against Aston Villa in the League Cup quarter-final, with Klopp and the first team in Qatar.
It’s a moment to savour for the players and fans alike as they get to test themselves once more against senior opposition.
And while the odds are certainly stacked against them with Villa set to field a strong side, Neil Critchley – who is to take the helm on the night – has welcomed the opportunity before the club’s academy contingent as they have “nothing to fear.”
The remarks from the under-23s boss certainly sets the right tone as while there will be nerves aplenty, it is an opportunity like no other. What an amazing time to be associated with the Reds.
Quickfire LFC news
- Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino have all been named in the 30-man shortlist for the 2019 Samba Gold award, which recognises the best Brazilian playing in Europe. Firmino clinched the award in 2018. (LiverpoolFC.com)
- Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster are expected to leave on loan in January, with Championship side Swansea interested in the pair (Goal)
- Harry Wilson has spoken of his pride at leading the Cherries’ goalscoring charts this season after netting six league goals to date (Bournemouth Daily Echo)
- Xavi is dreaming of a semi-final matchup with Liverpool in the Club World Cup after his side Al Sadd clinched a 3-1 victory over Hienghene Sport to move 90 minutes away from the final four (AS)
Around the Prem
- The Premier League has announced Richard Masters as their new chief executive with immediate effect after gaining approval from the 20 clubs (Independent)
- Brendan Rodgers has categorically ruled out January moves for any of his players as James Maddison and Ben Chilwell continue to be linked to various clubs (Sky Sports)
- It was the footage everyone wanted to see and now it’s here, with Ian Wright’s reaction to Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking when he left the jungle (Mail)
- And as you would expect Carlo Ancelotti’s name continues to float around in regards to Arsenal and Everton‘s vacancies (Mail)
Interesting quote of the day
While no doubt meant in jest, Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has come out and said: “if we play Liverpool, we will eliminate them” ahead of the last 16 draw.
He does have previous, of course, having overseen Real’s final win in 2018 but it is a bold prediction considering Liverpool’s form since, with the Spanish outfit having experienced a tumultuous time following their triumph in Kyiv.
I for one would be up for a spot of revenge in the next stage and I’d certainly back the Reds to exact it on my behalf – now we will just have to wait and see what unfolds on Monday.
Tweet of the day
Minamino aced his audition in a thriller at Anfield.
Klopp certainly liked what he saw! pic.twitter.com/5tKzTaRVmj
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) December 12, 2019
What we’re reading
It’s a double hit from the Independent, the first being a look at our new expected signing with Melissa Reddy providing welcome insight into how Salzburg uncovered Minamino. A piece certainly worth reading.
And the other comes in the form of Miguel Delaney’s view of the Champions League favouring the wealthiest and adding to a sense of samey-ness that then plays into an irony of unpredictability. One which certainly makes for a great debate.
Worth watching tonight
Europa League action is on the agenda this evening, Standard Liege vs. Arsenal is a nice 5.55pm (GMT) kickoff to start off the night and Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are on the cusp of the round of 32 against Young Boys at 8pm, alongside 11 other fixtures – so plenty to keep an eye on tonight.