Liverpool commenced preparations for a weekend return to Premier League action against Crystal Palace as they trained at Melwood on Thursday afternoon.
Fresh from beating Hoffenheim in the Champions League on Tuesday, the Reds turned their attentions to the 2017-18 season's maiden home fixture - an Anfield meeting with Frank de Boer's team.
Jürgen Klopp's options for the game against the Eagles received a welcome boost as Daniel Sturridge featured in training having overcome a thigh injury.
See how the team is shaping up with our behind-the-scenes gallery from the session below.
Photos by John and Andrew Powell
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Given the lack of activity since Robertson’s move from Hull City in July, there is considerable unease growing on Merseyside as August 31 approaches.
However, the German also claimed he would be content with his current group “if the transfer window would have ended yesterday.”
“A few things can happen on both sides, but obviously everything leads to the direction of August 31,” he told reporters.
“And it will, I can imagine, be a busy day, and if we [will be] involved in this busy day I don’t know, but we will see.”Ex-Reds Coach Urges Barcelona to Sign Coutinho
Pako Ayestaran spent three years at Liverpool as Rafa Benitez’s assistant manager, and remains an avid follower of the Reds, present for January’s 3-2 home loss to Swansea City.
But the Spaniard has stuck the knife in this week, insisting signing Philippe Coutinho is “arguably essential” for Barcelona this summer.
“Given what Liverpool have already rejected—a latest bid of £91 million—they seem intent on keeping him,” he wrote in his column for the Independent.
“The question is whether Barca can offer enough to prise him away; to make it basic business sense for Liverpool to accept.
“Doing that is arguably essential to the Catalans because they badly require both real first-team quality as well as strength in depth, and that was even before selling Neymar.”Could Reds Return For 2 Former Targets?
With Klopp assessing his options in the closing weeks of the summer transfer window, the return of two former targets to availability could pique the 50-year-old’s interest.
Firstly, Paris Saint-Germain forward Julian Draxler has been told he has no future at the club by manager Unai Emery, according to L’Equipe.
This comes after Neymar’s £198 million move to the Parc des Princes, and with Liverpool unsuccessful in their pursuit of Draxler in January, they could return with a renewed bid.
Elsewhere, Draxler’s former Schalke team-mate Benedikt Howedes could leave after 16 years with the club, with Bild claiming he would be available for around £18 million.
This is Anfield’s Henry Jackson believes signing Howedes would be a “no brainer” given the current options at centre-back.
The addition of the Germany duo would certainly solve some issues in Klopp’s squad, particularly if Coutinho does leave for Catalonia.Pellegrino ‘Frustrated’ by Van Dijk Exile
While hopes have faded over a summer move for Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, speculation continues over the Reds’ interest in Southampton centre-back Virgil van Dijk.
On Wednesday, Saints chairman Ralph Krueger said he was “adamant” the Dutchman won’t be sold this summer, but also added that “over the years we have spoken I don’t give definite answers where there isn’t a definite.”
Van Dijk is still training alone away from Mauricio Pellegrino’s squad this week despite recovering from a ‘virus’, having handed in a transfer request earlier in August.
“The situation is the same,” he quotes the Argentine as explaining, “I have nothing to say.”
The hope is that the Saints relent over the next two weeks and Liverpool are able to secure Van Dijk’s arrival before August 31.
The Schalke man has won 44 caps for Germany since his debut in 2011, which include an appearance and victory in the 2014 World Cup final.
Howedes is at an age where he still has plenty left in the tank in order to give three or four good years of service, as well as having a wealth of experience at his disposal.
He has enjoyed a stellar career to date, starring with Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil in the Germany U21 side that won the European Championship back in 2009, and progressing from there.
The dependable central defender also has versatility to his game, thriving in either full-back position, which adds another reason he’d be a solid signing.
When it comes Liverpool, who continue to experience one defensive woe after the next, there are literally no negatives in attempting to sign Howedes.No-Brainer
The Reds’ summer has been dominated by their ongoing desire to buy Virgil van Dijk – a signing that would be an enormous statement of intent.
We have seen in the opening games of this season against Watford and Hoffenheim, that reinforcements at the back are paramount if Liverpool are to have a successful season.
Of the four goals conceded in those two matches, every single one has been alarmingly avoidable, with too many individual errors undoing the team’s hard work.
Howedes would be an ideal figure to come in help shore things up, but this should have absolutely no bearing on a move for Van Dijk.
With four different competitions to tackle in 2017/18, Klopp will be rotating plenty, so depth is essential to the team’s success.
There is also an argument to say Howedes is superior to former Schalke teammate Joel Matip, too, with the Cameroonian still struggling to fully convince all Liverpool supporters.
Should Van Dijk hypothetically join the Reds and pick up an injury, Matip and Howedes’ past relationship at Schalke would also be handy for Klopp.
Let’s also not forget that both Matip and Lovren were injury-plagued last season, so counting on them to be around a lot is wishful thinking, and Klavan and a maturing Joe Gomez are not suitable deputies.
Howedes will feel he has time for one last big challenge in his career, and Liverpool would be the perfect destination for him, and vice versa.
He could come straight in and thrive under the stewardship of his compatriot Klopp, and add the sort of quality, experience, and depth that the Reds continue to lack.
Liverpool FC's free Cycle Hub service is returning to Anfield for the new season.
The initiative allows fans who cycle to the stadium to drop off and park their bike safely and securely with an attendant at Stanley Park car park on Priory Road.
The service is open three hours prior to kick-off and will close one hour after the final whistle, with attendants from Cycling Projects on hand to assist fans with the parking and retrieving of their bikes.
Gail Riley, an LFC supporter and regular Cycle Hub user, said: “The guys who look after the hub are very friendly and professional – they give a great first impression of the club.
“The hub is easy and straightforward to use – I’ll definitely be using it next season. I cycle from Woolton along the No.62 cycle route, so it takes about 55 minutes to get to the ground.
“The safety of my bike is paramount. It’s fantastic that the club provides this service and has two people manning the hub; without this I wouldn’t cycle. It’s a great way to get to the ground.”
Last season, Gail won a home shirt signed by the first team after successfully completing her Cycle Hub loyalty card.
This season, the Cycle Hub loyalty card scheme will continue, with Reds fans receiving a loyalty card which is stamped at each game. Every supporter that receives two stamps will be entered into a free prize draw to win LFC cycling goodies.
Once a supporter receives five stamps, they will then be entered into a prize draw to win a signed shirt.
Andrew Parkinson, operations director at LFC, said: “We are pleased that the LFC Cycle Hub continues to prove popular amongst fans.
“The service makes it easier for fans to travel to Anfield on a matchday. We would like to encourage fans to utilise this free service alongside other modes of public transport.”
The Cycle Hub will be available from Saturday August 19, when the Reds welcome Crystal Palace to Anfield for their first home game of the season.
Jürgen Klopp is relishing Liverpool's return to Anfield this weekend, with the boss also discussing the threat Crystal Palace will pose under their new coach Frank de Boer during his pre-match press conference on Thursday.
After beginning the season with trips to Watford and Hoffenheim, the Reds will host the Eagles in their first home game of the campaign on Saturday.
As well as providing a fitness update on Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Nathaniel Clyne and Liverpool's activity in the transfer market, Klopp talked about Andy Robertson and the topics listed above.
Read on for the manager's quotes on Anfield, Palace, De Boer and his discussions with his friend David Wagner, who led Huddersfield Town to an opening-day win over the Eagles...
On Palace and returning to Anfield…
We played Crystal Palace a few weeks ago. I’m not 100 per cent sure about the line-ups in that game, but Phil and Zaha were on the pitch and they will not be [this weekend]. I’m not sure if Adam played in this game, but that’s how it is…The only thing we know is it’s a tough game, probably both teams were not overly happy - we were not really disappointed about our first game, but it was how a first game can be, there are things to improve and it’s always like this, but even then we could’ve won which I think everybody knows.
For Crystal Palace it was a little bit different, that’s how it is, but they are now coming to Anfield and I’m really looking forward to Anfield, it was a long time ago that we played there and that’s our place, that’s where we want to play, that’s where we want to be, especially after these two first games. We already showed we are ready again. Qualification for the Champions League is really tough and not just because of the quality of the game or the opponent, [you have] to be spot on from the first matchday on.
You have to be always, but usually you come in the season and you improve things but here we have the big tests immediately. So we have to be there again. Of course we know how they played and what they can change; Townsend didn’t start, Loftus-Cheek started, it was unlucky for them, the game development, so they want to strike back I’m sure, but again it’s Anfield and we have to show this.
Watch in full: Jürgen's pre-Palace press conference
On De Boer…
Wherever we go we all need results, that’s what it’s about. I have no time or space to think about what Frank de Boer could face at Crystal Palace, I’m sure they’ve tried a lot to change things and will still try and all that stuff, I know him even more from his time in Amsterdam. We played Amsterdam with Dortmund and they were always a footballing side, really lively, but it was Ajax so that is different and in the Dutch league they are a very dominant team. Now, we will see. I’m not sure they have already finished their ideas, their development or whatever. We’ll see what he brings in, but on the second matchday, I don’t thinks everything is already like it should be - that’s the same for us probably - but in this moment it is about getting results, and that’s what we’re fighting for.
On speaking with Wagner…
Yes, I have spoken to him, of course. [He said] force them to make an own goal after a few minutes! No, it’s not like this. Of course we saw the match and we saw the pre-season games of Crystal Palace, not just our match but all we could get. The analysis will happen now and even if I could get each tip or advice from him, I didn’t ask because it will be a different game, of course. That’s what we are thinking about.
Jurgen Klopp has praised the ability of Andrew Robertson, but says he won’t be rushed into the team as he adapts to life at Liverpool.
Klopp has allayed any fears about Robertson making a slow start at Anfield, however, saying it is a case of letting him adjust to a new style.
“His development so far is really good. He has adapted well and is a really, really good player.
“It is how it is, though, with a specialist left full-back. You can play but you can also not be in the squad.”
“He is in a really good way and everything is fine from my side.
“He came in late and has to adapt to our style of play and all that stuff, but everything is ok.
“We will see (about Robertson featuring at the weekend). We came back yesterday and had a little session, and it was an intense game in Hoffenheim so we have one or two little things with players which we have to see.
“Things will change during the season a lot, and I’ve the told the players. It’s a long season ahead.
“If you train really good and work really hard, if you improve and develop, everything is going to be good at the end.”
More: Andrew Robertson, Jurgen Klopp
More from This Is Anfield Fan Comments
Jürgen Klopp maintains nothing should be read into Andy Robertson’s omission from Liverpool’s opening two matchday squads of 2017-18 as he insisted the summer signing’s chance will come soon enough.
The 23-year-old – who arrived from Hull City in late July – was not part of the 18-man selections for the Reds’ clashes with Watford and Hoffenheim, though did travel for both games.
However, Klopp admits he is pleased with how Robertson has settled into life at his new club and is confident he’ll be ready to grasp his opportunity when it comes along.
The manager told his pre-Crystal Palace press conference at Melwood: “Everything is OK with him. He is in a good moment and his development so far has been really good, he has adapted well.
“He is a really, really good player but it is how it is with specialist left full-backs, it is difficult; you play or it is possible you are not in the squad. He is on a really good way and everything is fine from my side. It is very early, he came in late and he has to adapt to our style of play and all that stuff.
“Things like this happen and we will see – we came back [from Germany] yesterday, had a little session and it was an intense game in Hoffenheim. We have one or two little things with players that we have to see because of the intensity of the game or even more.
“Things will change during the season a lot and the players need to know [that]. I’ve told them of course, but as player – which I was too a few years ago – it is not easy, but it is much too early to really think about this, it is a long season ahead.
“The rule is if you train really good, if you work really hard, if you improve, if you develop, everything will be good at the end.”
The boss was inevitably asked about the Philippe Coutinho situation, with several questions on the Brazilian’s future and supposed back injury.
There was more positive news on Daniel Sturridge, who should be available for Saturday’s game.
A question on transfers saw Klopp say the club were still looking, but he insisted he would be happy with the squad he has if the transfer window had closed yesterday.
There was also a discussion on new signing Andy Robertson after he was left out of the first two squads of the season.
More: Jurgen Klopp, Press Conference
More from This Is Anfield Fan Comments
Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool are still looking to sign new players this summer, but insists he is happy with the squad he has even if the transfer window closed yesterday.
Few summers have been more dramatic at Anfield, with sagas involving Philippe Coutinho, Virgil van Dijk and Naby Keita dominating the headlines and still ongoing.
As the weeks have passed, concern has grown within the fanbase about a lack of activity, particularly compared to some of their rivals.
With Mohamed Salah the only big-money player to come in so far this summer, failure to add more could be seen as step backwards, following such a productive 2016/17 season.
Speaking on transfers, Klopp said: “The transfer market is difficult worldwide. We are still looking. Of course we think about what we can do.”
Klopp, though, says he is content with the players currently at his disposal.
“If the transfer window would have ended yesterday we already would have a team I would like and can play football with.
“August 31st will be a busy day. If we’re involved in that day I’m not too sure.”
It is always worth taking what Klopp tells reporters with a pinch of salt, but it would be a concern if he is genuinely pleased with his squad.
It looks very lacking in depth as things stand, and with four competitions to play in this season, a few injuries would expose it even further.
At least one new player will surely arrive between now and deadline day, but Liverpool could do with a couple moving to Anfield, namely a centre-back and a midfielder.
More: Jurgen Klopp
More from This Is Anfield Fan Comments
Jürgen Klopp has provided an update on Liverpool's activity in the transfer market.
The boss was asked for the latest on potential player arrivals and departures from Anfield during Thursday's press conference to preview the Reds' Premier League clash with Crystal Palace this weekend.
Klopp responded: “Unfortunately, my English is not good enough to give 500 different answers on the same question! You can obviously see the whole market worldwide is quite difficult. A few teams are still looking and we are looking, but that’s what I do when I’m not actually on the pitch or not thinking about training or not thinking about the next game.
“Of course we think [about] what we can do, but if the transfer window would have ended yesterday, we would already have a team which I like and which we can play football with. Of course, [we have] injuries here and there and that’s not too cool, but still in this moment a good team.
“The transfer window is a very important time, no doubt about this, but it’s also important what we do with the actual team. We will see what happens, I cannot change the answer because I don’t know.
“A few things can happen on both sides, but obviously everything leads to the direction of August 31 and it will, I can imagine, be a busy day, and if we [will be] involved in this busy day I don’t know, but we will see.”
Jürgen Klopp previewed Liverpool's first home game of the 2017-18 season in a press conference at Melwood on Thursday - and you can watch it again completely free of charge on our YouTube channel.
The Reds return to Premier League action as they face Crystal Palace at Anfield on Saturday afternoon looking to build on a midweek Champions League win over Hoffenheim.
During the briefing, Klopp discussed the Reds' current injury situation, the transfer market and the return to home soil after three months.
Watch the press conference in full for free below now...
Jürgen Klopp has confirmed Daniel Sturridge is set to be fit for Saturday’s Anfield clash with Crystal Palace.
The striker returned to full training at Melwood this week and is likely to come into contention to make the squad for the Premier League encounter against the Eagles.
Elsewhere, Philippe Coutinho will miss the game due to a back injury.
Asked by journalists whether the duo would be ready to face Palace, Klopp told his pre-match press conference: “Daniel yes, I would say.
“Yesterday he was part of the complete session and looked really good, but always after injuries you have to wait to see how the player reacts to this intensity.
“Phil is not available; he is not training so far, so there is nothing new. It is always how it is with injured players, there is no real time on when he is back.”
Meanwhile, Klopp revealed there has been “no change” in Nathaniel Clyne’s condition as he continues his rehabilitation programme from a back issue.