Liverpool face a summer of significant preparation for a new challenge: defending a Premier League title. To that end, there are already a few clues emerging over the look of the squad.
Jones takes new number
Curtis Jones has been richly rewarded for a season of brilliant progress.
First came senior involvement on a more regular basis in the cups. Then came his first goal, in the derby, at Anfield. Next it was the captaincy, skippering the Reds against Shrewsbury. And most recently it was a new contract, in recognition of him being ready to be a genuine senior option.
Now that latter change is reflected on his shirt, too, with Jones set to take the No. 17 for next season, a significant upgrade from his current 48 jersey.
Ragnar Klavan was the most recent player to wear Jones’ new number, but it has a more local history, too: both Steve McManaman and Steven Gerrard wore 17 after making the step-up from Academy hopeful to proven talent.
It should serve to underline how well Jones has done until now, and how much further he has to go to be as massive a first-team star as that particular local duo were.
Grujic on Hertha’s list once more
After two years on loan with Hertha Berlin, Marko Grujic has made a great impression with the German side.
This term was a little more up and down, or down and up more specifically, as he struggled under a new coach before really finding form again late on in 2019/20.
Now Hertha want the Serbian midfielder to sign again over the summer—possibly on a more permanent basis, this time.
German outlet BZ-Berlin report that Grujic’s asking price has dropped from €20m to €14.5m, which is curious given a year ago there were rumours of a €40m deal with Atletico Madrid.
But the Bundesliga club are equally happy to take him on loan yet again, which wouldn’t immediately appear to be in the Reds’ best interests given the need to raise or safeguard funds.
Grujic is quoted as saying Hertha will “speak to the people in England to see what is possible,” though he has always maintained his priority is to become a first-team regular under Jurgen Klopp.
Renewal and respect
Liverpool are champions – which means next season everybody will be taking extra aim at the Reds and trying to bring them down. The trick now is to stay ahead of the curve.
- Lijnders explains change Reds are making to ensure the full-backs aren’t a predictable outlet
- Lloyd Kelly and Jamal Lewis are two names the Red could consider to boost the squad at left-back
- And the story of why Klopp loves Gini and the traits which make the Dutchman such a key figure in the squad
Quickfire LFC news
- Andy Robbo says the Reds will be completely motivated in 2020/21 and knows rivals will try to close the gap (TIA)
- Ex-Red Nicolas Anelka says Mane and Salah are good enough for Real Madrid, but shouldn’t be tempted to leave Anfield (Goal)
- Free-scoring U18s teenage striker Layton Stewart has signed a new deal with the Reds (LFC)
- And LFC Women captain Sophie Bradley-Auckland has explained her reasons behind a delayed post-Covid return to football, as she continues in her role as a care-home manager (Sky Sports)
Around the Prem
- Juventus want Raul Jimenez to replace Douglas Costa, which seems a bit odd as one is a No. 9 and the other a winger (Tuttosport)
- Steve Bruce is worried that his transfer budget will be cut as a result of coronavirus cashflow issues, and perhaps someone should tell him (most of) the other clubs will be in the same boat (Mirror)
- Mikel Arteta will change his transfer plans due to David Luiz’s recent form. Thankfully the window is open until much later, as he’ll probably change his mind when Luiz reverts to the norm sooner or later (Star)
- And Mourinho reckons Harry Kane would “not be so special” if he played elsewhere but Spurs. That’s the Spurs team in which Kane managed a total of seven passes in 90 minutes of 3-0 win at the weekend. You know what Jose, players feel special when they touch the ball, too…(Sky Sports)
Stupid thoughts of the day
Hard to pick: Gareth Bale for refusing to leave Real Madrid and not playing there while at the peak of his powers, or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for saying David de Gea is the best goalkeeper in the world when he’s not even the best on the pitch on any given week at the moment?
Tweet of the day
No more “Last time Liverpool won the league” jokes. Life is sweet.
— CHAMP19NS (@LosoLFC) July 20, 2020
What we’re reading
And after more De Gea howlers, Richard Sutcliffe discusses in the Athletic whether Dean Henderson is really ready to usurp the Spaniard as United No. 1.
Worth watching tonight
Juventus vs. Lazio in Serie A is the big one at 8.45pm. Win, and the away side are back in the title fight despite a wretched run of form since the restart.