Jurgen Klopp has ruled out a move for Borussia Dortmund midfielder Jude Bellingham this summer.
The 19-year-old Englishman is a player Liverpool clearly have interest in, dating back to his time as a youth player with Birmingham City – and one that supporters certainly would like to see the club acquire.
However, Merseyside-based journalists were briefed earlier in the summer that Liverpool’s business this summer was finished, with a high-quality midfielder being targetted for next summer.
The narrative has always been that Dortmund would not be willing to lose Bellingham in the same summer as losing Erling Haaland.
“He’s not on the market, so that’s the first problem with that player,” Klopp told members of the written press in a sit-down interview at Kirkby before the squad flew to Asia.
Clearly, Klopp is a fan of the player, adding: “Well, that’s the only problem with that player!”
However, the Reds’ boss insists that his current midfield options are aplenty and launched a defence against the perception that there aren’t enough goals from midfield, saying he “doesn’t understand” that argument.
“I do not understand,” Klopp said. “People told me about this discussion, but the last thing that would have crossed my mind is that we have to do this.
“I know all these things, that we ‘don’t score enough goals from midfield’, this and that, but what do we want? This ‘Golden Cow’ that is producing absolutely everything, milk as well!.
“We can go through it. Where do you want to start?
“So, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Milner, Keita, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott, Fabio Carvalho, Oxlade-Chamberlain. Now you tell me what kind of player are we missing? One who is offensive, 1.95m and arrives into the box to head balls in? OK, apart from that!
“We have three players in the squad who can easily play as a No. 6 – Fabinho, of course, but Hendo and Milly played it fine.
“Creativity? If we bring in a player just for that, we immediately make it more difficult for Harvey, Curtis and Fabio.
“They can all play different positions as well of course, Curtis can play a line higher and Harvey and Fabio can play there too. Fine. We can play a different system as well, where we might only need two midfielders, but then all these guys can play as a No. 10 in the new system.
“So where is the need for a midfielder? I wait for the day when somebody comes to me and tells me why, exactly.”
Klopp also namechecked Tyler Morton as being “incredible” in training, says that Liverpool will not sign a midfielder this summer:
“No. I can say that.
“I don’t think something will happen in midfield, but you never know. If somebody comes to you and says ‘I want to go’, then…
“Nobody came to me yet – but if that happens then we have to talk new.”
As ever, though, a manager’s words should always be taken with a pinch of salt, Liverpool having pursued a deal for Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni early this summer before his big-money move to Real Madrid.
Clearly, a midfielder – when one of the right calibre is available – is wanted at Anfield.