Liverpool face Atletico Madrid on Tuesday night and in the build-up to the game we’ve got fitness news, transfer rumours and more.
Mixed news for Atleti strikers
Liverpool have a largely clean bill of health ahead of a return to Champions League action, but the same can’t be said for Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish side have been trying to get players back in time for the last 16 first leg, but Kieran Trippier is expected to miss the game at right-back.
Up front, there is mixed news for Diego Simeone: Alvaro Morata made his return at the weekend and should be fit to start, and Diego Costa trained on Monday for the first time since November.
While the ex-Chelsea man won’t be fully fit, he might at least make the matchday squad, giving Atleti an option off the bench.
However, big-money summer signing Joao Felix looks set to miss out. He has also been injured and was on the road to recovery, but has now been struck down by illness and is unlikely to feature.
Angel Correa and Morata are the most likely pairing to start, though winger Vitolo did start up front at the weekend to give Atletico an extra physical body to aim for in attack.
Werner and Cantwell links continue
Liverpool are expected to make a big-money signing this summer…or maybe it’s just the media want them to, after being extremely quiet over the last few windows.
Two players the Reds are being constantly linked to at the moment are Timo Werner and Todd Cantwell, with both filling the column inches again on Monday.
RB Leipzig forward Werner is known to have a release clause for this season, though reports have been conflicting over when and for how much it becomes active.
Melissa Reddy reports for the Independent that Liverpool will only make a move for Werner if he accepts that he’ll play a peripheral role at first, similar to that of Fabinho or Andy Robertson when they first joined. Anyone expecting to be an automatic starter will not be signed for big money.
Meanwhile, the Athletic’s David Ornstein says the Reds are now the front-runners to sign Norwich attacking midfielder Cantwell, having “intensified their interest” in the £30m-rated man.
By contrast, the Reddy article noted above says Cantwell is not a firm target at this point, so that’s nice and clear…
Back to defending our crown
We are the champions, champions of Europe. And we want to keep it that way.
- The Reds will keep their “underdog mentality” which has helped them fight for every result so far, says Joe Gomez
- Klopp has named his 21-man squad to face the Spanish side, with several young stars left out
- And you can check out some brilliant photos of the squad training in the build-up to the game here
Quickfire LFC news
- Former captain Steven Gerrard says he’s watching developments unfold regarding Man City, amid rumours they’ll lose their 2014 title (TIA)
- Atleti midfielder Saul Niguez say he knows Liverpool’s weaknesses and will work to exploit them (Guardian)
- The Reds tried and failed to sign Jeremy Doku from Anderlecht in 2018, who Klopp labelled Sadio Mane‘s successor (Het Niewsblad)
- And Italian legend Alessandro del Piero has praised the massive improvement in Mo Salah‘s game since his move to Anfield (Echo)
Around the Prem
- Pep Guardiola and Raheem Sterling will both stay at Man City even if they are banned from Europe (Mirror)
- Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says United could sign Odion Ighalo permanently in the summer, so that’s good news (MEN)
- Non-Prem, but Dani Osvaldo is back in football after a four-year stint fronting his rock-and-roll band in Argentina and we’re eagerly awaiting what madness he’ll resort to next (BBC Sport)
- And Hugo Lloris says Spurs haven’t been lucky in their “surge” toward the top four, which takes in a mighty three victories (Independent)
Stupid dive of the day
You have to see it to believe it, but this might be the worst attempted dive of the season. And then obviously he protested against the yellow card.
Tweet of the day
We won’t, but it’s good to know…
Liverpool could lose every single league game left and still finish above Man United. pic.twitter.com/4Y08nMfgqE
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 17, 2020
What we’re reading
Reading, and applauding, Moussa Marega’s response to those in the crowd who racially abused him over the weekend.
Worth watching tonight
Got to be Chelsea against United, hasn’t it? 8pm kick-off!