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Liverpool

Liverpool return for Pepe Reina would make perfect sense

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Photo: Getty Images.

It’s not often that a free transfer signing of a 35-year-old would get fans excited, particularly Liverpool fans, but that could be the case if reports linking fan favourite Pepe Reina with a return to Anfield.

The Spaniard’s contract at Napoli is set to come to an end this season with the team looking likely to miss out on the Serie A title despite pushing Juventus close and Spanish newspaper MARCA, as reported by the Express, claim that Reina will decide between a return to Merseyside and a move to AC Milan as his next move.

Belgian outlet DH have recently reported that Simon Mignolet will depart this summer as he is unhappy with being second choice and whilst Reina is unlikely to be keen to take up that mantle, he could be the man to help bring Loris Karius up to scratch.

(Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)

Jurgen Klopp is clearly ready to put his faith in the German who he signed in the summer of 2016 despite his questionable form at the start of his Anfield career, but an experienced professional like Reina could help him to develop whilst also easing the pressure of being fielded in all competitions.

It’s clear that Reina may not be the exciting big name that would get fans standing off their seats and believing in a title challenge, but he would be a signing which would please fans whilst also bringing experience and leadership to a young squad and having a clear role to play too.

If it does come to fruition, Liverpool’s potential signing of Reina would not be a statement signing, but the Reds could certainly do far worse than bring the 35-year-old back to add to his 395 appearances for the club four years after he left.

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.

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Liverpool

Dejan Lovren epitomises Liverpool’s progression since previous Real Madrid meeting

Max Cohen

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Dejan Lovren
Photo: Getty Images

The last time Liverpool played Real Madrid in the Champions League, the approaches of the two clubs could not have been more different.

The clubs played twice in the 2014 group stage, with Los Blancos smashing Liverpool 3-0 at Anfield and winning 1-0 at the Bernabeu.

Dejan Lovren was particularly culpable for the Reds’ first loss at home, as he was torn to shreds by the combination of Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema.

Nonetheless, much has changed at Liverpool since those weak performances more than three years ago, with centre-back Dejan Lovren representing the Reds’ progression from continental lightweights to European Cup finalists.

In an interview this week with The Guardian, the Croatian defender claimed that the current Liverpool side is unrecognisable from the team that surrendered to Real Madrid in their 2014/15 Champions League campaign.

“The only thing that is similar is the name, Liverpool,” Lovren told the Guardian. “I am so much more confident in the team now than I was then. I feel the team is ready to battle against every team in the world.”

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

These confident proclamations mark a fitting response from a player who has come a long way since he first arrived at Anfield.

Lovren has come under immense criticism for his performances at Liverpool, lambasted for a lack of pace, propensity for lapses in concentration, and poor decision making.

And even as recently as October, the Croatian was horribly found out during an abysmal first half performance against Tottenham Hotspur.

Yet, Lovren admirably picked himself up from past disappointment and has become an integral piece of Jurgen Klopp’s defence alongside Virgil van Dijk.

The 28-year-old has played every single minute of the knockout stages in Liverpool’s Champions League campaign, and will surely play a massive role in stifling Real Madrid’s high-octane attack in Kiev.

Dejan Lovren will be hoping for a far different response from Liverpool than their performance some three years ago, and his personal improvement will determine the Reds’ success on Saturday.

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Aston Villa

Aston Villa would be the perfect platform for Harry Wilson if they are promoted

Josh Kerr

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Photo: Getty Images

Aston Villa are 90 minutes of football away from a return to the Premier League, and they are already looking at potential signings for next season if they are promoted.

The Midlands side face Fulham at Wembley on Saturday in the Championship play-off final with a place in the top flight up for grabs. And, should Villa bring an end to two years outside of the promised lands of the Premier League, they will be determined to recruit properly to prepare themselves for next season.

According to the Scottish SunLiverpool are looking for a loan fee of £250,000 to snag impressive academy prospect, Harry Wilson, in a deal that would also see financial penalties issued should he not get the required amount of first-team action.

Wilson has been one of the brightest prospects in the Reds academy for many years and his recent form in the Championship is highlighting why there is such a buzz for this talented youngster and why the Villains should swoop.

(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Since departing for a temporary move to Hull in the January window, the 21-year-old has been in fine form, netting seven goals in 13 appearances to help Nigel Adkins’ side avoid the drop.

The youngster also made his international debut in his first start for Wales under new boss Ryan Giggs and netted a maiden goal for his country against China.

Despite the winger’s talents, it seems impossible to think that Wilson could break into Liverpool’s irreplaceable ‘fab three’ which means another loan move would be the best option for his development, and Villa’s potential promotion to the Premier League could set up the perfect platform in the top-flight for the youngster.

Loan deals are never ideal, permanent signings are what supporters want to see, but this is is a move that could be a benefit for both parties and something Steve Bruce should strongly consider.

The Villains likely have enough quality at their disposal to compete strongly in the Championship again next season, if they don’t win their play-off, Wilson could give them serious depth.

The winger is an elegant and languid play maker in the mould of Jack Grealish, and the combination of the two could get fans very excited for next season.

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Liverpool

Liverpool should use Alberto Moreno in Jamaal Lascelles pursuit

The Spaniard is struggling for first-team football at Liverpool.

Mathew Coull

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Liverpool have had an excellent season, making it to the Champions League final and finishing in the Premier League top four. But the building for next season is also set to get underway soon and Liverpool still want to further improve their backline. A new centre-back is set to be targeted and The Independent believe that Jamaal Lascelles could be the man Liverpool turn to, with James Tarkowski of Burnley also mentioned.

Lascelles would obviously be a top option. The Newcastle captain has been an inspiration for the club this campaign and many were surprised he did not make it into Gareth Southgate’s plans for the World Cup.

(during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Arsenal at St. James Park on April 15, 2018 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

But he will not come cheap and after Liverpool spent big on Virgil Van Dijk in January the Tyneside club will be pushing the price up.

However, could Liverpool have a secret weapon in the form of Alberto Moreno?

Back in 2015 Rafa Benitez very nearly signed Moreno. The deal with Liverpool was done but, with Alvaro Arbeloa sticking around, Benitez decided Moreno was no longer needed and the deal was pulled off the table.

That was whilst manager at Real Madrid. Moreno would be an excellent option to further improve Newcastle and provide some competition to Paul Dummett in the left-back position.

(during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between Liverpool and FC Porto at Anfield on March 6, 2018 in Liverpool, United Kingdom.

Liverpool paid Sevilla around £12 million, as reported by The Telegraph, to sign Moreno back in 2014 but he has struggled for consistency since his arrival at Anfield. This season he has been replaced by Andrew Robertson, after spending most of last season behind James Milner in the pecking order.

Throwing Moreno into any deal would have to see Newcastle decrease the fee they might ask for to let their captain go this summer. Newcastle would be getting their hands on a 25-year-old Spanish international and a handsome sum of money, whilst Liverpool would get their defensive target.

It would be a fine piece of business for both clubs.

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