Liverpool are recovering from a rare defeat away to Atletico Madrid, while transfer rumours also continue and the team returns to Merseyside.
Werder Bremen midfielder under consideration
It has been known for some time that Timo Werner is on the watchlist of Liverpool, with interest ranging from “potential addition” to “must sign”, depending on which journalist or outlet you choose to believe.
Now, though, news has emerged of another Bundesliga target: Werder Bremen’s attacking midfielder Milot Rashica.
The 23-year-old has a release clause of around €38m (£32m) according to Bild’s head of football Christian Falk and the Reds are watching him as a potential summer signing.
Rashica is almost certain to leave Bremen, who are in the relegation zone at present, while the Kosovo international could also be at Euro 2020 after they finished third in their qualification group. They play North Macedonia in a play-off semi-final, with the winner facing Georgia or Belarus for a spot at the finals.
Playing mostly from the left, he has seven goals in the Bundesliga this season and is noted for his dribbling and shooting ability. He can also play centrally or from the opposite flank.
Atletico angry after Klopp accusations
Despite having presumably watched their own players roll around on the floor for 90 minutes, winning soft free-kicks at every opportunity and clearly targetting Sadio Mane for a second yellow card, Atleti officials haven’t reacted well to Jurgen Klopp pointing out the obvious.
“The plan was to get Sadio out of the game with a [second] yellow card. I was afraid that his opponent would go down if Sadio only took a deep breath,” said Klopp.
ESPN report that club insiders were unhappy with Jurgen’s comments, suggesting he should be gracious in defeat as well as victory.
Atletico’s players are also said to be surprised by the comments.
Perhaps we’ll get the chance to see how they react in defeat a couple of weeks from now? One can only hope, and wait for the second leg.
Reds ready for round two
This group doesn’t take kindly to defeat and they’re already looking forward to the second leg.
- Andy Robbo wants a raucous Anfield when Atletico visit
- Joe Gomez points out how the Reds have overcome bigger deficits
- And Virgil van Dijk says it’s no time to panic despite Atleti’s slender lead
Lallana exit pending
It’s now a question of to who, not if, with regards to Adam Lallana leaving Liverpool.
Leicester are the first team to make him an official approach, meaning the Reds have granted permission for him to speak to domestic clubs with his contract expiring in the summer.
After six years at Anfield, Lallana has gone from being questioned for his fee, to a key component in Klopp’s early Liverpool revamp, to now being a squad member with experience but not enough game time.
Whether he heads to the Foxes or elsewhere, he’s certainly played a role in our rebuild.
Quickfire LFC news
- A big screen at Anfield? We might have to, due to VAR changes (TIA)
- Diego Simeone says he’s not concerned by Anfield’s atmopshere for the second leg (BT Sport)
- A former coach of Takumi Minamino says his “humble and disciplined” approach has made him a success (Echo)
- And Stephen Warnock has given a breakdown of why Liverpool couldn’t get past Atletico’s defence (BBC Sport)
Around the Prem
- Dayot Upamecano is being tracked by both Barcelona and Arsenal, which is quite the dilemma for any professional player to choose between (Goal)
- Man United want over £150m to sell Paul Pogba this summer, which should just about cover Odion Ighalo’s wages during his loan spell (ESPN)
- Man City‘s chief exec Ferran Soriano says UEFA’s claims over financial regularity breaches are “not true” and we all definitely believe him (BBC Sport)
- And Frank Lampard might be sacked if Chelsea don’t finish top four, which is no doubt part of their long-term planning strategy and not a knee-jerk reaction at all (Telegraph)
Stupid rule of the day
So Barcelona have proven that Ousmane Dembele is out for more than five months and, as a result, LaLiga rules stipulate that they can sign someone outside the transfer window. They’ve chosen Danish forward Martin Braithwaite, currently at Leganes, and say they’ll pay the release clause of around £15m for him.
But of course, the rules say nothing about the knock-on effect of Leganes, trying to avoid relegation this season, being able to sign a replacement themselves, so they have to appeal to do so—and presumably so would the next team if they sign someone, and so on.
This sounds well thought through, doesn’t it?
Tweet of the day
Every goal Fernando Torres scored in the Champions League for Liverpool and Atletico ?
Never forget how good this man used to be ?pic.twitter.com/e94cDcUhof
— Goal (@goal) February 19, 2020
What we’re reading
How did RB Leipzig build themselves up? This is good, on BBC Sport by Alex Bysouth.
And this, on why Arsene Wenger’s plans to change offside would be nothing short of terrible, by Miguel Delaney for the Independent.