Connect with us


Virgil Van Dijk shows Liverpool’s patient Nabil Fekir talks will pay off



Photo: Getty Images.

Liverpool are reported to have re-entered negotiations for Lyon playmaker Nabil Fekir, only a matter of weeks after talks broke down with the Ligue Une club over an agreement to sign the French international.

The news comes from the Mirror, who say that talks broke down after Liverpool medics were concerned by the condition of Fekir’s knee when he underwent a medical with the Reds.

Yet again though, it seems that Jurgen Klopp, alongside Michael Edwards, will remain patient and look to return for their top target. It is a policy that has served the club well, having done exactly that in their pursuit of Virgil Van Dijk after the Saints refused to sell and, like with Fekir, Liverpool publicly withdrew their interest.

In the end, only months later in the winter transfer window, Van Dijk became a Liverpool player and it proved to be well worth the wait.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

It’s true that at times early on in the campaign Klopp was desperately lacking another quality option in defence and the decision not to sign an alternative was understandably questioned.

Upon Van Dijk’s arrival, he made an instant impact and became a fixture on the team sheet. If Fekir can do just that, potentially even without having to wait until January to make the move, then it could be a wise ploy.

It is no secret that the German coach wants to find a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, with no-one having stepped into his shoes since he departed for Barcelona. Lacking depth up-front and without a real creative force in midfield, particularly whilst Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is sidelined, it must be a top priority.

Fekir is one of the most attractive options on the market and as Liverpool have shown not only with Van Dijk, but also with Naby Keita, when the Reds identify their top target, they do all they can to get them. So far, it has served them well.

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.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


Does the arrival of Alisson make Liverpool genuine title contenders?

The Brazilian arrived for a £67 million fee this week.

Martyn Cooke



Photo: Getty Images

It is nearly 28 years since Liverpool last won a top-flight title in English football and it is fair to say that the club have struggled to match the exploits of their illustrious past during the Premier League era.

Supporters have had to be content watching from afar as Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City have come to dominate the top flight of English football whilst Leicester City fans will take every opportunity to highlight their own unexpected title triumph three years ago.

It would be fair to say that Liverpool have not necessarily offered many genuine challenges for the Premier League title over the last two decades. Yes, there were near misses during the reigns Rafa Benitez and Brendan Rodgers, but those exploits have been the exception rather than the rule.

The Reds have undoubtedly made significant progress under the stewardship of Jurgen Klopp over the previous two years and there has been a sense around Anfield that the charismatic German has been building a team capable of reaching the pinnacle of the domestic game.

Reaching the Champions League final last season, although ultimately ending in defeat, highlighted how far the team have come in a relatively short space of time.

(Photo by Filipp Monteforte/Getty Images)

However, there has also been a sense that Klopp has been missing a couple of crucial pieces of jigsaw as he developed his new-look Liverpool side.

His team produces exciting, dynamic and fast flowing football that results in plenty of goals and entertainment, yet this has often been undermined by defensive frailties.

Ask any supporter which two positions have needed strengthening and you are likely to receive the same two answers – central defence and goalkeeper.

The purchase of Virgil van Dijk in January for £75 million was a definitive signal of intent and more than adequately fulfilled the need for a dominant, commanding central defender.

The Dutchman was increasingly impressive during the second half of the season and everyone could acknowledge the positive impact that he had on the defensive unit.

The need for a goalkeeper was ruthlessly highlighted in the Champions League final in May.

Loris Karius and Simon Mignolet had shared goalkeeping duties over the previous two seasons but it was the German stopper that had emerged as the club’s number one.

However, two crucial mistakes in Kiev ultimately gifted Read Madrid the Champions League trophy whilst firmly highlighting Liverpool’s need for a world-class goalkeeper if they had any intention of challenging the best clubs in Europe.

Therefore, the arrival of Brazilian stopper Alisson this week from Roma in a £67 million deal comes as little surprise.

The 25-year-old was the leading goalkeeper in Serie A last season, no mean feat considering the presence of Gianluigi Buffon and Gianluigi Donnarumma in the top flight of Italian football.

He was also first choice for the national team in the summer at the 2018 World Cup in Russia where he was selected ahead of Manchester City stopper Ederson, further underlining how highly he is rated.

(Photo by Lynne Cameron/Getty Images)

The final piece of the jigsaw?

Jurgen Klopp has now addressed the two key issues in the Liverpool team by purchasing the best goalkeeper and central defender that money could buy – both are world record fees for players in their position – in the last two transfer windows.

Is Alisson the final piece of the jigsaw that will facilitate a genuine title challenge from Liverpool this season? Supporters are certainly hoping imagine so.

The Reds now have a squad that is full of creativity and goals whilst also now, following the arrivals of Alisson and Virgil van Dijk, being built on a strong defensive foundation. You already sense that there will be a much greater balance to the Liverpool team next season.

It is also worth noting that the importance of having a world class goalkeeper is often understated in the media.

Whilst a star striker who scores goals on a regular basis may be a more appealing sight, a good stopper is worth their weight in gold and can easily earn their side an extra 10 points per season if they produce crucial saves at vital moments.

It is hard to think of a Premier League winning side that did not possess a quality goalkeeper.

Last season Manchester City had Ederson. During their most successful period Chelsea had Petr Cech in his prime. Further back, the title successes masterminded by Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United were based on the goalkeeping greatness of Edwin van der Saar and Peter Schmeichel.

Liverpool have undoubtedly made rapid progress under Klopp over the previous twelve months and the German has spent over £400 million since his appointment to build a team in his own image. Alisson is the final missing piece.

Manchester City may well have waltzed to the Premier League title last season but Liverpool have positioned themselves as the club most likely to challenge the champions in the forthcoming campaign.

Continue Reading


Does Ben Woodburn need loan move to justify future Liverpool role?



Photo: Getty Images.

After an explosive breakthrough into the Liverpool first team, memorably scoring a winner in front of the Kop on his debut, Ben Woodburn’s progress has stalled somewhat at club level.

Having made his debut in 2016/17, he went on to make nine first team appearances that season amassing to 360 minutes. Yet last season, he was kept at the club to aid his progress but played only 50 minutes across two appearances, only six of those coming in the Premier League as a substitute on the final day of the season.

Woodburn spoke to the Liverpool Echo ahead of his trip to the US with the first team on tour and revealed that he is not yet certain where he will be playing this season but is keen to prove a point.

“Every game is a chance to impress the manager, especially against top teams like Dortmund, United and City. He’s still thinking about what’s best for me. I’ll agree with whatever he thinks. I’ll trust his decision and do what he wants me to do. Hopefully I can get a few more appearances with the first team and just see where it goes from there.”

Woodburn discussed his plans before travelling to the US.

With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane having nailed down the front three starting spots, it is a tough task to convince the German that he has a role to play, particularly with the likes of Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Danny Ings playing for their futures too and Xherdan Shaqiri having recently signed.

Sheffield United have been linked with the forward, according to the Liverpool Echo, and a season of regular football in the Championship could give him the experience he needs after being a spectator for much of Liverpool’s impressive Champions League run.

(during the Premier League match between Liverpool and Brighton and Hove Albion at Anfield on May 13, 2018 in Liverpool, England.

Still only 18-years-old, Woodburn has time on his side and is clearly highly rated by Klopp and his staff, having been involved heavily in pre-season, but he may feel that the time is right to seek regular football and return to Anfield with that experience under his belt.

It is hard to see how he could achieve that on Merseyside and so a loan move seems inevitable, particularly given the intense competition in attack.

Continue Reading

Leicester City

Three reasons Danny Ward’s Leicester City move makes perfect sense

The Welshman looks set to move to the King Power.

Max Cohen



Danny Ward
Photo: Getty Images

On Thursday, Sky Sports reported that Leicester City had agreed a £10 million fee for Liverpool goalkeeper Danny Ward.

The transfer makes sense for both parties, after Liverpool added goalkeeping talent that would have restricted Ward’s opportunities even more.

Here are three reasons why the switch is a smart one for the Welshman.

Alisson’s arrival extinguished Ward’s Liverpool hopes

Liverpool completed the signing of Roma goalkeeper Alisson after a prolonged transfer saga, which pushed Ward even further down the pecking order at Anfield.

Since joining in 2012, the Welsh international has made a grand total of three first team appearances for the Reds. The lack of minutes meant it was time for Ward to move on, and the addition of one of the best goalkeepers in the world confirmed that decision.

(Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images)

Ward will enjoy increased playing time

In Percy’s tweet announcing the deal between the two clubs, he claimed Ward was being brought in to compete with Kasper Schmeichel, not to be a replacement.

But it is hard to ignore reports from Sky Sports that Chelsea are targeting the Danish goalkeeper, who might be tempted to move to Stamford Bridge as a replacement for the outgoing Thibaut Courtois.

Nevertheless, if Schmeichel stays Ward would still have the opportunity to play consistent football in cup competitions, which is much more than he enjoyed at Anfield.

The Welsh number one spot could soon be his

With a smart move to the King Power Stadium, Ward could possibly claim the Leicester number one role. And with positive performances, he could add to his four Wales caps and make a case to become the Welsh number one.

At only 25 years of age, he has plenty of time to ignite his international career, and at the perfect time due to the expanded Euro and World Cup fields.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2018 The Boot Room.