Liverpool have three points in their pocket after beating Ajax, but already we’re starting to look ahead to the weekend…and to January, according to rumours.
Kabak the man to fill Virgil void?
You may remember there were summer rumours about the Reds signing a number of “fourth” central defenders: Aissa Mandi, Kalidou Koulibaly, Ben White and a string of other even-less-sensible options.
One of those who had at least some credibility in terms age, potential and availability was Schalke’s Ozan Kabak – who has had a bad start to the season, but is highly rated for the long haul.
Italian media outlet Sportmediaset suggest that the Reds have now quickly decided to make their move for him in January after the injury to Virgil van Dijk, moving ahead of AC Milan and others in the bid to get his signature wrapped up.
€30 million is the reported fee.
Champions League fallout and future
Where to start from Wednesday’s win? There were plenty of good points, a few to-be-improved points and, most importantly, three points on the board in the group.
Jurgen Klopp made a few eyebrows raise higher than Carlo Ancelotti’s to the average press conference question when he made a treble sub on the hour to replace the entire forward line, but the boss says “get used to it” as he looks to exploit the five subs rule in Europe.
Fittingly, there’s also plenty of praise for Fabinho and his wonderful display at centre-back.
Skipper for the night James Milner had a few words for the Brazilian and the general feeling is that even big Virgil would have been proud of Fab’s fantastic overhead-kick clearance off the line!
Finally, we have a complete round-up of the European action for you over the past two days, including Dejan Lovren trying his luck from 35 yards. And succeeding!
Today’s stars and tomorrow’s
- Rhian Brewster could make his first Sheffield United start against Liverpool this weekend
- Harvey Elliott made his Blackburn debut last night and Harry Wilson scored his first goal for Cardiff in a big evening of Championship action
- And Gini has revealed Van Dijk sent the squad a message before the Ajax game, as well as revealing he won’t be speaking about football with his compatriot any time soon
Quickfire LFC news
- Carlo Ancelotti says he’s sorry for Virgil, but criticism of Pickford is “unfair” (TIA)
- Young Dutch footballer Jay Idzes says he dreams of playing for the Reds, having previously been in PSV’s youth system (SportWitness)
- Ex-Red Joao Teixeira says Klopp is a “natural motivator” and the midfielder is now with Feyenoord (SW)
- Adrian says a win and a clean sheet was the best possible way to start the group phase in Europe (LFC)
Around the Prem
- Mason Greenwood has been spoken to like a naughty boy for being late to training and meetings (Mail)
- Mesut Ozil’s quest to ignore his own lack of productivity continues with a suggestion that Arsenal have left him out of the squad due to commercial activities in China (Mail)
- Chelsea and Man United are hoping to sign ‘Gladbach midfielder Denis Zakaria, who has also been linked with Liverpool previously (Express)
- And the blue sh*te are waiting until January to decide whether to offer DoF Marcel Brands a new deal, presumably because the 10 weeks between now and then will prove beyond a doubt whether his summer buys were legendary or crap, no inbetween as usual (Echo)
Stupid clarification of the day
David Ornstein gets lots of good scoops and inside tracks, but his muddled attempt to guess at things being worse for Van Dijk yesterday, with no medical proof or insight, was quickly followed up by a clarification to say he was “wrong to suggest his injury is worse than initially feared”.
A blatant and poorly disguised attempt to generate the perception of inside knowledge, which clearly and quickly brought the hammer down from the club – meaning the bungling apology after.
Tweet of the day
We thought that looked familiar… ?? pic.twitter.com/hAxBYjEZyd
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 22, 2020
Note to Jose: Garcia’s was over the line. These ones weren’t.
What we’re reading
You may have noticed Real Madrid were a shambolic mess and lost at home to Shakhtar, who were without 10 players through Covid and injury, before the Reds’ own Champions League game. Here’s Dermot Corrigan of the Athletic on why the upcoming Clasico is absolutely enormous for a floundering Zinedine Zidane.
And Ed Aarons for the Guardian examines why Joe Gomez can be the easy answer for Liverpool in coping without Van Dijk.
Worth watching tonight
Europa Conference League or whatever it is. The old Thursday nights, Channel 5 competition. The best game at 5:55pm is Napoli vs AZ Alkmaar, with lots and lots of amazing young talent to watch there, and at 8pm it’s Celtic vs AC Milan for the European royalty or Spurs vs LASK for a goal fest and to see if their squad depth is any good.