Liverpool could send fans wild by making a surprising January signing as the Express believe that if Red Bull Leipzig’s season does not go entirely according to plan in Europe in their first Champions League campaign, the Reds may be able to pay a further premium to bring Naby Keita to Anfield six months early.
The club have already paid a premium in order to activate a £48 million release clause in his contract which would have been activated next summer. As Liverpool’s club record signing, the pressure will be on Keita when he does arrive at Anfield whenever that is and an extra six months may help him to settle in.
However, he may not have the opportunity to play alongside Philippe Coutinho. According to Catalan newspaper Sport, the Brazilian could refuse to play for the club in the Champions League in the hope that he would avoid being cup tied and could look to force a January move instead.
Coutinho handed in a transfer request in the hope that he would be able to move to the Camp Nou before the summer transfer deadline. That move never materialised, but by avoiding being cup tied in Europe he could keep his options open for the January transfer window.
One player who won’t play any role in the Champions League group stage is Nathaniel Clyne. The right-back has not been included in the squad registered for that phase of the competition and boss Jurgen Klopp has given an update on the defender’s back injury, telling the club website:
“Nathaniel is working hard on his rehab and we have kept a close eye on his progress, but the reality is we are looking at some time still before he is back and available for selection. I am told it will be longer than just a couple of weeks, so we will continue to monitor and assess. It is pretty certain he’ll not be available for the majority of the Champions League group matches.”
It is bad news for Liverpool, but Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez have stepped up in his absence. With both players included in the squad, they will take his place in Europe’s elite competition.