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Liverpool round-up: Duncan deal confirmed; Napoli win reaction; Grujic future uncertain

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Bobby Duncan confirms Liverpool move

Liverpool have confirmed the signing of 17-year-old striker Bobby Duncan, according to Sky Sports. The England youth international has been a free agent since leaving Manchester City and has now joined the club where his cousin, Steven Gerrard, made his name.

In 2015/16, Duncan scored 66 goals in a single season as part of the Citizens’ youth set-up having joined the club from Wigan in 2012. Now, he’s ready for a new challenge at his boyhood club and will be hoping to extend such success to first team level after penning a professional contract.

Jurgen Klopp reacts to Napoli win

The first team were in action at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Saturday evening as they romped home to an impressive 5-0 win over Italian Serie A runners-up Napoli. James Milner, Georgino Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah, Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno all got on the scoresheet in the process.

“To be honest, the result is something I’m really not interested in, it’s more about big parts of the performance. Pre-season, you can lose a game like this and it doesn’t mean everything you did before was wrong and if you win 5-0 it doesn’t mean everything was right. That’s pretty much the case. It was, in a lot of moments – especially around the goals and a few more moments – brilliant.”

Klopp wasn’t distracted by the result.

The result wasn’t the most important factor for coach Jurgen Klopp, but the impressive display has got Liverpool fans hoping for a Premier League title challenge.

Cardiff pull out of Marko Grujic switch

One of those who has been involved throughout pre-season but was missing on Saturday was midfielder Marko Grujic. The Serbian was expected to join Cardiff City, where he spent time on loan last season, but the Liverpool Echo report on quotes from Nigel Warnock as the Cardiff boss appears to have revealed that any such deal is off.

Instead, Grujic could remain part of the Reds’ squad as a back-up option. If Klopp is insistent that he will not have a role to play, it could be a busy few days looking for an alternative home for the youngster.

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

Liverpool round-up: Champions League blow; Mignolet departure nears; Fabinho discusses challenge

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Liverpool are left waiting to see which seed they will be in the Champions League draw

Liverpool will be hoping that PAOK will beat Portuguese side Benfica in their Champions League qualifying play-off as victory for the Greek side will see the Reds through to Pot 2 in the Champions League draw ahead of the Iberian outfit.

The draw will take place in Monaco on August 30, with Liverpool currently the highest ranked team in Pot 3 but behind Benfica, the only remaining Pot 2 team in qualification. It comes after Swiss side FC Basel were shockingly knocked out, allowing Liverpool to take up the spot of first in line to join Pot 2.

Simon Mignolet’s agent has spoken about his future

Simon Mignolet has been strongly linked with a move away from Anfield as he has fallen even further down the pecking order following the arrival of Alisson Becker, and it now seems that he may be third choice on Merseyside. Napoli are the latest club to be linked with a move before the transfer window shuts in Italy on Friday.

“We are in discussions with Napoli, but there is no agreement yet. In the end it is in their interest to find a solution. Liverpool want to keep Simon, but he wants to play in matches – and he should. He deserves to play for a big club. Simon is the best option for Napoli in terms of quality, even though there is a financial aspect to it.”

Mignolet’s agent, Nico Vaessen, discussed the possibility of a deal.

With time running out, all parties will have to get to work if they are to come to an agreement to allow the Belgian to leave. Much could depend on the future of second choice shotstopper Loris Karius, who has also been linked with an exit.

Fabinho has discussed the challenge of adapting to the Premier League

Summer signing Fabinho was only on the bench for the Reds on Sunday as they overcame West Ham United with a 4-0 win and the Brazilian has discussed the challenge that he faces having joined from Monaco.

“I think my performances have been good. It’s a different playing style than at Monaco; there were two of us in midfield there and here at Liverpool there’s three… I knew [my role] would change and I feel I’ve adapted well. When I came to Liverpool I knew this competition would exist in midfield and I think it’s really good for the team.”

The Brazilian hasn’t hidden his struggles.

Some fans were not convinced by his pre-season form but it remains early days in his Anfield career with plenty of opportunities ahead to prove himself in a holding midfield role.

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One to Watch: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold oozes confidence vs West Ham

The 19-year-old picked up exactly where he left off last season.

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Arnold
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Trent Alexander-Arnold was again in fine form as Liverpool begun their Premier League season with a dominant 4-0 win at home to West Ham.

He simply picked up from where he left season, oozing confidence as he patrolled the right side – camping himself in West Ham’s territory as Liverpool dominated the match.

The Englishman’s exceptional passing ability was the main feature of his performance.

He touched the ball 99 times and completed 58 of his 69 passes, with one delightful line-breaking pass standing out.

This ball, played through to Naby Keita as Liverpool broke forward in the build-up to their first goal, highlighted how dangerous Alexander-Arnold’s passing range when he is given time to raise his eyes and play diagonal balls through midfield.

(Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

This diagonal pass split West Ham’s entire midfield open, sending Keita on a burst that culminated in Salah putting the Reds 1-0 ahead.

It was symbolic of the mentality Klopp instils in his players, making them feel confident taking risks to set attacks in motion.

In this instance, the 19-year-old could easily have recycled the ball to a centre-back, but his team were rewarded for his courage in possession.

Defensively, he was also quite active, completing four of his five tackles and making a solitary interception.

Again, having West Ham camped in their own half suited Alexander-Arnold as he was able to press up the pitch and win the ball early in typical Liverpool fashion.

He continues to prove why he is so important to this Liverpool team, and highlights why Nathaniel Clyne cannot get close to first-team football.

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Liverpool round-up: Klopp’s West Ham reaction; Klavan bid rejected; Lovren latest

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Jurgen Klopp reacts to Liverpool‘s West Ham win

Liverpool opened their Premier League campaign with a record equaling win over West Ham United thanks to goals from Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane twice and Daniel Sturridge. The victory took the team straight to the top of the table with one game played and 37 more to go.

“A very good start, for sure. Yes, it’s a start – perfect as well because we won the game. For us it was not perfect, but really good. West Ham will play for sure a good season, but they are not then the Uniteds, Citys and all that stuff. That’s how it is, they know that and we know that and we have to be ready week in, week out for all the different challenges. Expectation – ours is the highest, but that changes nothing.”

Jurgen Klopp was impressed.

The Reds were dominant up against Mauricio Pellegrini’s Hammers, who were never at the races. Having taken a two goal lead before half-time, Mane added a second before Sturridge scored with his first touch despite coming on as a late substitute.

Newcastle wanted Klavan

News has emerged that the Reds turned down a deadline day bid from Newcastle United for Estonian defender Ragnar Klavan. The report comes from The Chronicle, who say that former Anfield boss Rafa Benitez was keen on the central defender as a cheap option to strengthen his squad.

However, Jurgen Klpop decided that the team could not do without the 32-year-old, who is currently unavailable for selection due to an injury problem. That is despite the fact that his contract is set to expire in 2019, though Klopp has previously said he would like to retain his services.

Lovren set for weeks out

Dejan Lovren returned from the World Cup suffering from a stomach problem and remains sidelined by the issue, as Jurgen Klopp has now confirmed. The German revealed that the Croatian was already struggling towards the end of the season but played through the pain expecting that it would clear up when he had time off after the summer break.

“I am pretty sure it will settle in the next one, two or three weeks. In that time he can probably for sure train already, but not the full programme, so that will then take time. In the end, it is serious but not that serious, so it’s not that we need to be afraid that it will take him until whenever. In the moment he is not available, that’s true.”

Klopp provided an update after facing West Ham.

However, that has not been the case and the coach has now revealed that he faces one to three weeks on the sidelines with the issue. Joe Gomez excelled in his place on Sunday and looks set to retain that position.

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