Liverpool round-up: Real Madrid midfielder linked; Klopp prepares defender move; Coutinho wants talks

Spanish outlet Diario Gol report that Jurgen Klopp is a big fan of Real Madrid midfielder Matteo Kovacic and could offer him regular first team football, something that the Croatian is desperate for after failing to nail down a regular spot under Zinedine Zidane. The report indicates that he could replace Philippe Coutinho at Anfield.

However, the source is highly unreliable and Kovacic is likely to remain at the Bernabeu given that Barcelona have ended their interest in the Brazilian, say Catalan radio station RAC1. Kovacic would have been an ambitious target and may be on the club’s radar, but an imminent move seems unlikely.

A move that Klopp is keen on that may be more realistic is a €20 million (£18.3 million) bid for Schalke centre-back Benedikt Howedes, according to DW Sports. The former Schalke captain partnered Joel Matip in the heart of the Bundesliga’s side’s defence before Liverpool’s number 32 moved to Merseyside.

The 29-year-old could be an alternative to Virgil Van Dijk and would certainly bring presence and experience into the Liverpool defence. Howedes has been with Schalke since the age of 13 but could now be on the move and may look to test himself in the Premier League under Klopp.

Philippe Coutinho is also seeking talks with the German manager, according to the Independent. The Brazilian has reportedly accepted that he will not be leaving to join Barcelona this summer and wants to rebuild his relationship with his manager and the club before working his way back into the side after overcoming a back injury.

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The 25-year-old feels that he was manipulated by Barcelona, who refused to stump up enough cash to tempt Liverpool to sell the number 10 despite a formal transfer request. Now, it seems that Coutinho will look to show his commitment to the cause once again for the upcoming season.

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