“Danny played tonight. He needs games. He looks really good in the sessions we had when he could be part 100 percent. There was no time for us to test him. Now he’s ready to go, as fit as he can be. He will play tonight with the U23s. He is not really an option because he had no pre-season games.”
Jurgen Klopp spoke on Friday ahead of the first Premier League game of the season up against Watford. The German was questioned almost immediately on the future of Brazilian Philippe Coutinho as speculation continues to surround the Brazilian and he first discussed his back injury which looks set to keep him out against Watford. The Liverpool Echo quote him as saying:
“No he’s not available. He’s not been in training since last Friday. He’s a doubt for Tuesday unfortunately.”
That comes as a major blow for the Reds, who rely heavily on the magical skill of their number ten. Particularly with him set to miss out against Hoffenheim on Tuesday night too. What may come as some consolation is if his long-term future is secured. That seems to be the case too as Klopp refused to be dragged into believing that Coutinho could leave as he said:
“I can’t keep players happy, if you are not happy you won’t be if I say be happy. It’s not about this at the moment. For me the bigger issue is that he is unable to play. It is not for you, it is between me and all the boys, not just Phil. When FSG say something like this it’s 100% clear. You can read it.”
One player who may step in as an alternative is summer signing Mohamed Salah. The new arrival from Roma was on the receiving end of praise from his new boss after an impressive pre-season. Salah is expected to line-up on the right of a front three, with Sadio Mane shifting to the left wing. Klopp praised the former Chelsea man as he explained:
“Everybody can see all his skills. Speed, technical and finishing ability. A few of these skills are really natural. I have spoke to him a few times, but I didn’t need to immediately tell him what I want. He has speed, technical ability, finishing – speed is the most difficult thing to defend in football as it opens spaces. He creates spaces for all the rest. We need to use them. It’s not about giving him the ball, it’s about what happens when he’s running.”
Salah will be key if Liverpool are to beat the Hornets in the Saturday lunchtime game. Klopp is fully aware of the threat posed by Marco Silva’s team and believes that the Portuguese manager will pose a threat in his first game in charge of Watford on Saturday. Klopp admired Silva as he said that having scouted many of their pre-season games, he has a good idea of how they will play:
“You could see a lot of things what he brought to Hull. You can see a lot of his philosophy. You can expect plus 20, 30 percent because it’s real, it’s Premier League. It’s an advantage of a home game, it’s easier with the crowd on your back. We are long enough in the business to know how to do it. Their style of play is clear, they are a football playing side. We know where we have to defend andwhere to use the space in our offensive play.”
Despite the return of football action on the pitch, many of the journalists present were still concerned by transfer speculation. When asked, Klopp explained that he would not sign players for the sake of it and would only pursue players he felt would improve his team. That marks a change from previous windows when Liverpool signed players to add squad depth, something Klopp has not done, and he elaborated, saying:
“If we bring in players we bring in players because I want them. That’s how I see it. There will not be a plan B, plan C or whatever. The players I bring in will be plan A. I cannot bring in a player just to buy a player.”
Some fans have been quick to criticise club owners Fenway Sports Group over the lack of spending and bungled transfer activity. Failed moves for the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Naby Keita could see fingers pointed at John W Henry and co., but the German refused to lie any blame with them and insisted that he enjoys a good relationship with the board:
“I am not sure anybody needs proof about this (relationship with FSG). I have bosses, they are FSG and I have no problem. I have never had bosses (that do things he doesn’t like). It’s not about asking for things you cannot get, it’s about a relationship. What we do we do to strengthen the club for our supporters.”
However, transfer business may be impacted by injuries to his team. With Coutinho a doubt, Klopp revealed the latest on Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne ahead of this weekend, with potential that long term problems may lead to new signings as he hinted:
“Pre-season is along and hard, we trained a lot. Adam Lallana had this injury, it’s really unlucky. Daniel had a great pre-season. He is close for this weekend but Tuesday he is pretty certain. Clyne had this problem from the start and Phil has his back. I have to make hard decision. We will see what happens on the 31st.”
One long term absentee has been striker Danny Ings. Now he will return to action as he plays for Liverpool under 23s against Swansea on Friday night as Klopp revealed that he is close to a return to first team football after overcoming yet another knee injury has kept him sidelined for almost a year. Klopp said:
“That’s why we tried to show him that it makes sense to stay for the long-term. He looked so mature. I’m not president of the supporters club for loaning, especially at a young age. I’m happy he signed a new contract.”
Kent could be like a new signing for the Reds and as such could add some vital depth to the Liverpool attack in wide areas.
Jugen Klopp wanted him in 2016, Filip Kostic set for cut-price exit
The Serbian is set to be relegated with Hamburg.
In the summer of 2016 Liverpool were being linked with the signature of Serbian winger Filip Kostic. The Independent reported that Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, had both watched the player, but had missed out. Hamburg instead signed Kostic from Bundesliga rivals Stuttgart for £12 million.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would have known all about Kostic through his Bundesliga links and seeing him move elsewhere would have been frustrating. But, nearly two years on from Kostic’s Hamburg move, Liverpool may feel they dodged a bullet.
This summer, if Liverpool still wanted Kostic, they could get him cheap. The reason why? His performances have not lived up to his ability since the Hamburg move. Now, the Bundesliga side look doomed to relegation. The result will be a firesale in the summer, as HSV look to meet financial demands. Kostic, being one of the most valuable players and highest-earners at the club, will be available.
Based on his form for Hamburg, Liverpool would be unlikely to take an interest in the player.
But, rather than dodging a bullet, perhaps this situation could work out perfectly for Klopp and Liverpool.
Whilst Kostic has had a rough time at Hamburg, a lot of that is down to the running of the club.
For the Serbian national team the 25-year-old has still been in good form and Liverpool might just be able to bring Kostic in at a cut-price.
With the World Cup coming up this summer, Kostic will look to shine. A deal for Liverpool before then may prove to be a masterstroke.
Liverpool can look at Kostic in two ways. One, a transfer failure they should be happy with. Two, an opportunity for a bargain this summer.
Either way Klopp and Liverpool cannot really lose.
One goal in 15 and battling relegation, Divock Origi’s woeful loan spell
The Belgian has struggled in German football and may not have a future at Liverpool.
Liverpool are currently in fine form and Jurgen Klopp’s side are having a great season. They look set to finish in the Premier League top four yet again and will be hoping to finish second. They have also booked themselves a place in the Champions League final eight.
That sort of brilliance is not being mirrored by one of their players currently out on loan. Divock Origi was signed by Liverpool from Lille in 2014 after impressing in France and with the Belgian national team.
The bullish forward has shown glimpses of his talent for Liverpool. Last season he played 43 times for the club, scoring 11 goals. However, Liverpool decided he would be best off elsewhere and Origi was shipped out on loan in the summer to VfL Wolfsburg.
It has certainly not worked out for the Belgian.
The team have suffered this season. After losing more key players in the summer wolfsburg have spent most of the Bundesliga campaign battling relegation. They are currently on a winless run of six games. They are currently level on points with Mainz in the final relegation spot, which involves a play-off with the third best side from 2.Bundesliga.
These were not the hopes of Wolfsburg fans before the season and Origi has not been a shining light in their dreadful campaign.
The 22-year-old has scored just five goals in 26 games this season, with just one goal in his last 15 appearances.
Such form is making it increasingly unlikely that the Liverpool forward will be heading to the World Cup with Belgium this summer, which was one of the main reasons behind the move to Germany.
Liverpool have had high hopes for Origi. But at the moment it is looking like those expectations may have been misplaced.
Origi, who went nine games without a goal at one point this season, must now improve if he is to help Wolfsburg stave off a seemingly unthinkable relegation this season.
If not, it is hard to see Origi having a future at Liverpool at all.
Is Jurgen Klopp moulding Jordan Henderson into Liverpool’s Michael Carrick?
The Liverpool midfielder is finally starting to move the ball forward in brisker fashion.
Liverpool are currently putting up a great fight in the race to be best of the rest in the Premier League this season. At the weekend they continued that form, by getting the better of Newcastle United at Anfield. Plenty of players shined in that performance, including Jordan Henderson.
The midfielder is one of English football’s more divisive figures. Finding a follower of the England national team that is a fan of Henderson can sometimes be a needle in a haystack mission.
Yet he continues to be a regular in the improving Liverpool side, but he has certainly made changes to his playing style recently.
One criticism often laid at Henderson’s door is his negative passing frequency. For many England fans, and Liverpool fans, watching Henderson pass sideways to a full-back or back to his centre-backs became a far too common occurrence. Recently, however, Henderson has become more probing.
Now the 27-year-old is changing his game and is constantly looking to get the ball forward. It helps of course that Henderson is now playing with such talents as Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. The movement in front of Henderson is becoming world-class and now he is finally starting to provide more direct ammunition.
To compare him to another player, Manchester United midfielder Michael Carrick springs to mind.
The greatest attribute the 36-year-old has is that ability to get the ball and, before anything else, see if he has a pass on ahead of him.
It is a trait currently being shown by his potential long-term replacement Scott McTominay.
Henderson is finally starting to adapt his game to play in a much more forward thinking and brisk fashion.
Such expeditious play from Liverpool’s midfield maestro combines perfectly with his obvious physical ability and tackling nous.
Hopefully he can continue to become more and more like Carrick. If he does then Liverpool and England’s front-men will be extremely thankful.
Are Manchester United finding form at the perfect time?
Derby defeat to Cheltenham highlights wider issues for Swindon Town
Sevilla triumph will have Everton fans regretting Steven N’Zonzi failure
Brendan Rodgers should finally get Kyriakos Papadopoulos this summer
Amadou Haidara released by Leeds United, bringing an end to bizarre transfer chapter
Tottenham Hotspur2 weeks ago
Tottenham Hotspur must push Toby Alderweireld toward Barcelona
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Jurgen Klopp’s brave January decision is playing off thanks to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Brentford3 weeks ago
Romaine Sawyers – Blossoming in the Championship with play-off contenders Brentford
Liverpool4 weeks ago
Roberto Firmino: His performances will shape the end to Liverpool’s season
Liverpool3 weeks ago
Mohamed Salah: Is Liverpool’s Egyptian star the best player in the world right now?
Chelsea4 weeks ago
Chelsea 4-0 Hull City – Willian plays himself into Champions League contention
Liverpool2 weeks ago
Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold finds himself at the centre of Jurgen Klopp’s plans
English Premier League2 weeks ago
Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle United: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain growing into role under Jurgen Klopp