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James Milner’s potential absence a huge blow to Liverpool’s Champions League hopes

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Photo: Getty Images.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out long-term and Emre Can expected to lose his race against time to be fit for the Champions League final, the last thing that Liverpool fans would have wanted to see on Sunday would have been James Milner sitting in the stands as Liverpool faced Brighton.

Jurgen Klopp explained that the midfielder was not risked due to an injury, though he did play down its severity.

“It’s a little injury. It’s serious enough to put him out for today; he couldn’t train the whole week,” Klopp said before the game, speaking to the club’s official website.

“We hope it will work out. But we had to accept it and we had to think about solutions. ”

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

After the game, Klopp looked to ease concerns and insist that Milner would be back to partner the likes of Jordan Henderson and Georgino Wijnaldum in midfield for the Champions League final in Kiev.

“Only today it was not possible,” he told the press after the final whistle, as reported by the club’s official website.

“I think the next three or four days he will still need and then he will be fine again. Even Millie the machine needs sometimes a few days and this game was not possible.”

If he suffers a setback though, it could be a major problem for the Reds who have no other senior players available as naturals in central midfield. Not only would this season’s most prolific assister in the competition, the team’s vice captain and one of the more experienced leaders of the squad be missing, but there are few options to replace him.

The next best alternative would likely be to switch Trent Alexander-Arnold into midfield, a role that he performed well in against Stoke City only a few weeks ago. Such a move would leave a gap in defence though with Joe Gomez also ruled out and would likely mean that Nathaniel Clyne would make only his third start of the season.

None of the alternatives are ones that Jurgen Klopp will want to entertain, so having Milner back at full fitness could be pivotal to Liverpool’s chances of adding a sixth European Cup to their collection.

Sam is a football journalist focusing on English football at all levels and Spanish football. He also writes for Spain's biggest daily sports newspaper, MARCA, as well as The Boot Room. Find Sam on Twitter at @samleveridge.

Liverpool

How Liverpool fans reacted to signing of Roma’s Alisson Becker

Liverpool have been in the market for a goalkeeper throughout this transfer window.

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Alisson
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Premier League giants Liverpool made a real statement of intent on Thursday evening when they completed the signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Alisson Becker who arrives at Anfield from Roma.

The Daily Mail confirmed the £65 million deal late last night and it is a move that is sure to send a message to the rest of the top flight with the Reds seemingly meaning business when it comes to challenging for the title next season.

It has been a well courted situation that boss Jurgen Klopp has been in the market for a new custodian following high profile errors by current stoppers Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius during last season.

The German boss has finally got his man and the real pressure is now on the Reds’ boss who, following a glut of new arrivals, is now under pressure to deliver some much needed silverware to the football club.

The Brazilian number one kept 17 clean sheets for the Serie A outfit last term and was an instrumental part of Roma’s team that reached the semi-final of the Champions League before losing out to Liverpool over two legs.

As with any transfer deal, the world of Twitter has reacted and TBR Football looked at exactly what some Liverpool fans were saying about this deal…

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Liverpool

Liverpool fans should ignore Jurgen Klopp’s claims that spending has ended

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Photo: Getty Images.

Speaking after confirming the signing of Alisson Becker, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp stated that he does not expect the club to make any further signings this summer despite ongoing speculation.

Exits are expected with doubts surrounding several members of the squad who may depart Merseyside in the remaining few weeks of the summer transfer window, but the German was clear that he is not looking for many signings.

Yet there may still be reasons for Liverpool fans to believe that Klopp could turn out to be wrong with his assumption.

“We have everything that we need for the next season, I don’t think that we will do any more (signings), I’m pretty sure…”

Jurgen Klopp made the claim after the signing of Alisson was confirmed.

The immediate reaction was, perhaps surprisingly, one of disappointment with many fans thinking of one man in particular in the form of Nabil Fekir.

Negotiations broke down in June before the World Cup and had gone quiet, though Dominic King of the Daily Mail claimed that the deal was dead in the water, despite coming only 24 hours after Dean Jones of Bleacher Report suggested that talks had begun again.

News that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss all of the 2018/19 campaign with a number of knee ligament injuries has sparked fears about the lack of depth in attacking midfield, with no real replacement having been found for Philippe Coutinho.

(Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)

It is worth remembering that only a week ago the Liverpool Echo said that Klopp was public with his desire to give Danny Ward a shot as number one, yet seven days later he is on his way to Leicester City after a fee was agreed, according to Sky Sports.

Klopp is no stranger to playing with the media and will do whatever he can to strengthen his club’s negotiating hand, yet fans could be forgiven for retaining hope of a deal for Fekir.

What may affect the reality is whether or not Olympique Lyonnais are prepared to sell this summer, as the Reds showed last summer that they would prefer to wait for their man rather than shop for alternatives, with a move for Virgil Van Dijk being dragged over into the next window.

Either way, Liverpool fans can have little to complain about the dealings that have been done in this summer’s transfer window with Naby Keita, Fabinho, Xherdan Shaqiri and Alisson Becker all having arrived.

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One winner and one loser with implications from Liverpool’s win over Blackburn

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Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool eased to a pre-season friendly victory over Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers thanks to second half goals from Daniel Sturridge and Lazar Markovic on an impressive evening for the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp took a strong squad to Ewood Park with Georgino Wijnaldum and Danny Ings the only notable absences due to injury concerns.

Naby Keita and Lazar Markovic were two of the stand out performers on the evening, but who else exceeded expectations and let themselves down?

Winner: Daniel Sturridge

Much has been made of Sturridge’s future after yet another injury hit campaign in which he failed to make an impact on loan at West Brom, but the striker has tole the Mirror that he expects to remain at Anfield in the 2018/19 campaign.

On Thursday evening he wore the captain’s armband and impressed throughout, recording a goal and assist in his 45 minutes of action as he continued to feature in every pre-season match to date.

“He has looked really good for us and with the armband in the second half it’s completely normal, the guy who is the longest-serving for the club and most experienced, so that was clear. So he played a really good game and helped us a lot, and the link-up play especially with Naby was brilliant, so good game.”

Jurgen Klopp was impressed.

Sturridge’s sharp movement and pinpoint finishing, one golden chance aside, were reminiscent of the England man at his best and showed that he may be the back-up striker that Jurgen Klopp is looking for.

He clearly still has work to do to prove his fitness, but there won’t be much more that Sturridge can do in pre-season action to stake his claim and prove a point.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

Loser: Dominic Solanke

The young striker has been questioned ever since his arrival on Merseyside as an under 17 World Champion, scoring just once in 27 appearances in his debut season, and his display against Blackburn did little to boost his hopes.

Solanke did win a first half penalty, which saw David Raya redeem himself for hauling the forward down by saving James Milner’s effort, but missed several guilt edged opportunities.

The former Chelsea man looked low on confidence and was off the pace throughout on a big night where he would have been well aware that he had the chance to show that he should be ahead of Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings in the pecking order.

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