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We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.
The 23-year-old featured in West Ham’s pre-season games against Dundee and Northampton Town, but was not in the squad for the emphatic 6-2 win at Celtic or the under-23s’ 2-1 loss at Crawley Town.
Holland wants to play regular first team football and the deal includes an option for West Ham to recall the winger in January. Oxford United manager Karl Robinson is a huge admirer of Holland and he showed glimpses of his talent during his previous loan spell at the League One side during the second half of the 2019-20 season.
He registered two goals in 10 league appearances and impressed in their fourth round FA Cup defeat against Newcastle United. But less than a month later Holland sustained a hamstring injury against Shrewsbury Town which ruled him out for the remainder of the season.
Last season Robinson’s side finished sixth and reached the semi-finals of the play-offs where they lost to Blackpool.
Parrott, still only 19, spent last season on loan at Championship side Millwall and then League One team Ipswich. Having struggled at Millwall but made a positive impression at Ipswich, it’s hoped that another year in League One will help prepare him for top-flight football.
Parrott was given a taste of life at his new club when he came on as a substitute for Tottenham in their 3-1 win at MK Dons on Wednesday night.
With six caps and two goals for the Republic of Ireland senior team to his name already, Parrott is contracted to Spurs until the summer of 2023.
It is understood the 19-year-old is in Glasgow for his medical after agreeing terms to join Steven Gerrard’s side.
The Republic of Ireland youth international spent last season playing at the heart of midfield for United’s under-23s but was informed he would be allowed to move on this summer when his contract expired if an opportunity presented itself.
McCann was deemed unlikely to make the grade at first-team level, and his exit will make room for younger players to come into the group.
The two clubs are understood to have been discussing a compensation package for a number of weeks, but the announcement is expected imminently.
He has been at Old Trafford since 2018 when United signed him from Coventry City. It is expected be will join Rangers B before looking to impress the first-team.
The expectation is that the two clubs will be able to reach an agreement and that Hart will leave Spurs after only a year at the club.
The former England No 1 moved to Tottenham last summer to provide cover for Hugo Lloris, and ended up making 10 appearances, though none in the Premier League.
But after Spurs completed the loan signing of Pierluigi Gollini from Atalanta on Saturday, Hart was informed that he could leave. He had no desire to be third-choice at Tottenham so a departure would suit all parties.
Hart was a popular member of the Spurs dressing room and provided experience and know-how for a young squad. But aged 34 he was never viewed as a long-term successor to Lloris and only joined on a two-year deal.
Celtic have been looking for competition for their No 1 spot this transfer window, with Vasilis Barkas underperforming since his arrival from AEK Athens last summer, and Scott Bain struggling to justify his own claim to the starting spot.
The club hope Hart can challenge for that starting spot and potentially return to the form of his early career, in order to address one of their problem positions.
Should Tottenham be able to find an agreement over Hart then he would follow Erik Lamela and Toby Alderweireld out of the club. The departure of both was confirmed this week as new managing director of football Fabio Paratici tries to thin out the Spurs squad.
The Athletic understands Easah Suliman has decided against a return to the UK and will spend next season on loan at CD Nacional in Portugal, reports Gregg Evans.
The 23-year-old centre-back left Aston Villa for Vitoria Guimaraes last January but has struggled to hold down a regular starting spot.
A number of clubs in both England and Scotland were interested in signing him this summer but Suliman has agreed to drop down a division and spent the season on the island of Madeira.
Villa are keeping a close eye on his career as they will receive 30 per cent of any future transfer fee if he leaves Vitoria.
The England Under-19 European Championship winner still has three years remaining on his contract.
The 29-year-old forward spent last season on loan at Eibar in Spain and has no future at Newcastle, despite training with the first team on Monday following a non-COVID-related illness.
With Muto in the final year of his contract, Newcastle would ideally like to sell the Japan international, but Aris are understood to prefer a loan move and could cover around 40 per cent of his wages, which are in excess of £50,000 a week.
No agreement is yet in place but the Greek Super League outfit are optimistic a deal can be reached, with Newcastle potentially willing to accept a nominal fee in order to move on another high earner.
Florian Lejeune departed for Deportivo Alaves earlier this month, freeing up space in the squad for potential incomings, although Steve Bruce, the head coach, has yet to make a signing of his own.
The Switzerland international has informed the club he wants to pursue a new challenge and sporting director Michael Edwards will grant him his wish if a suitable offer is tabled. Shaqiri is valued at around £12 million.
The 29-year-old made just seven starts for Liverpool in all competitions last season but enhanced his reputation with his performances at the Euros.
Some suitors have been under the impression that he had entered the final year of his contract but The Athletic understands that Liverpool have the option of triggering an extra 12 months so his current deal effectively runs until the summer of 2023. The asking price reflects that.
Italy is Shaqiri’s destination of choice with the player telling Corriere dello Sport: “I told the Liverpool board I feel ready for a new challenge. They accepted my decision and will now consider bids to sell me.
“Who is not in love with the Italian lifestyle? What is really striking is the Italian love for football. It is life in Italy. The fans are incredible. I’ve been following Lazio for a long time. It’s a top club.”
Lazio and Napoli have both been in contact with the player’s representatives. Liverpool have previously fielded interest from Spanish duo Sevilla and Villarreal. They inquired about a potential loan but were informed that Liverpool will only sanction a permanent move.
Liverpool have so far raised more than £30 million in sales from the exits of fringe players Kamil Grabara, Liam Millar, Marko Grujic, Harry Wilson and Taiwo Awoniyi.
Negotiations between the Premier League club and 28-year-old France international over personal terms have reached an advanced stage and United are intensifying talks with their Spanish counterparts.
As conversations continue over a transfer fee, the Old Trafford side will be pushing for a lower figure than the €50 million reported in some quarters.
A deal for Varane would see United recruit one of the game’s leading centre-backs, who has decided against extending a contract that expires in 2022 and therefore Real need to sell now or face losing him for free next summer.
United have already strengthened their squad via the £73m acquisition of England winger Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, while manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has extended his contract until 2024 with an option for a further year.
Crystal Palace look set to continue their eye-catching recruitment drive since installing Patrick Vieira as their new manager, with a deal for Lyon defender Joachim Andersen close to being completed, reports Peter Rutzler.
Following the arrivals of midfielder Michael Olise, goalkeeper Remi Matthews and centre-back Marc Guehi, Palace are on track to secure another impressive acquisition this week in the form of Andersen.
The Denmark international has undergone a medical with the south London club and is expected to sign a five-year contract once the terms of a transfer believed to be worth around €22 million plus €5m in add-ons are finalised.
Andersen spent last season on loan at Fulham and made a strong impression despite their relegation from the Premier League, leading to the likes of Tottenham considering a move for him.
But Palace have acted quickest and capitalised on Lyon’s financial difficulties to agree a price with the French top division side that is below the fee it is believed they were hopeful of achieving.
Andersen started his professional career with FC Twente before joining Sampdoria and then Lyon. He played 31 games for Fulham in 2020-21 and helped his country to the Euro 2020 semi-finals.
While the 18-year-old had been offered a professional contract at Craven Cottage, he has turned it down, instead choosing to join Arsenal.
Last season, Biereth helped fire Fulham’s Under-18s to the Premier League National Final, where they ultimately came up short against Manchester City. He was top scorer in the Under-18s Premier League South — with a record of 21 goals in 21 games — and collected 13 assists along the way.
Arsenal are assembling a collection of young centre-forwards with varying styles. Folarin Balogun has been promoted to the first team, while the academy ranks include Nikolaj Moller, Khayon Edwards and new arrival from Chelsea Amani Richards.
Swedish forward Moller, 19, will spend next season on loan with Viktoria Koln in the third tier of German football, which could open up opportunities for Biereth with Arsenal’s Under-23 side.
Johansen, who joined Fulham in 2016, made a positive impression while on loan at QPR last season and the Championship side have been pushing to retain the Norway international on a permanent basis.
Following the arrival of Marco Silva at Fulham, it seemed that Johansen could have been given another chance at the club as the new manager assessed his options within the squad.
But ultimately, QPR have acquired his services and will be hoping the 30-year-old can continue to perform brightly, having grabbed four goals and two assists in his 21 appearances since joining the club in January.
Chelsea academy graduate Ian Maatsen will join Coventry City next week on a season-long loan, reports Liam Twomey.
Maatsen, 19, spent last season on loan in League One with Charlton Athletic, making 34 appearances and scoring his first senior professional goal in a 1-0 win over Doncaster Rovers in April.
Last month Charlton manager Nigel Adkins confirmed that he would be interested in bringing Maatsen back to The Valley, but both the player and Chelsea favoured a Championship loan to further his development.
Coventry intend to deploy Maatsen as a left wing-back in their system, and it is hoped that manager Mark Robins’ expansive passing style will give the Dutch youth international opportunities to take his game to the next level.
Maatsen was involved in the early days of Chelsea’s preseason training at Cobham, but was not part of the squad that travelled to Republic of Ireland on Tuesday. He will complete his move to Coventry next week.
Chelsea did not seek to extend the contract of Maatsen — who signed a new deal in March 2020 that commits him to the club until at least June 2024 — but he is regarded internally as one of the club’s more promising youngsters.
Maatsen does not turn 20 until March 2022, and will be hoping to return to Chelsea next summer with a second full season of regular football under his belt and his reputation further enhanced.
The club are targeting the 21-year-old as a player for their senior squad just hours after adding another Chelsea player, Lewis Bate, to their Under-23 ranks.
A central midfielder is the club’s top priority after they secured the arrival of £13m left-back Junior Firpo from Barcelona this month.
Leeds have been monitoring Gallagher throughout the summer and are understood to have pitched the transfer to him already with the start of the new Premier League season on the horizon.
Crystal Palace are also seriously interested in him and are vying with Leeds for his signature.
Gallagher is currently training with Chelsea but the Stamford Bridge side are ready to sanction another temporary move in this window after sending him to West Bromwich Albion last season and Swansea City the year before.
His spell at The Hawthorns, where he made 28 league starts, gave him Premier League experience and Leeds consider him a good fit under Marcelo Bielsa.
Chelsea are unwilling to consider permanent bids for Gallagher and are likely to look for him to sign a new contract before he heads out but manager Thomas Tuchel does not see him as part of his plans for the 12 months ahead.
Yesterday, United wrapped up the £1.2m arrival of Bate from Stamford Bridge. While the 18-year-old will begin life at Elland Road in the development squad, Gallagher would link up immediately with Bielsa’s senior squad if Leeds can push a deal through.
The highly-regarded 19-year-old rejected the chance to remain at Stamford Bridge in a bid to boost his chances of playing first-team football.
Simeu will arrive at St Mary’s on a free transfer but Southampton will pay up to £1.5 million if certain clauses are met. A sell-on fee has also been inserted into the contract.
The Athletic is led to believe the south coast side will only start paying for Simeu once he starts playing for the first team.
The Athletic understands that the 24-year-old forward’s name features on a shortlist drawn up of potential attacking targets.
Whether Liverpool reinforce their squad in that area in the current window depends to a large extent on whether Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri leave Anfield. The club are open to offers for both players with Shaqiri attracting interest from Lazio.
Bowen fits the profile for Liverpool in terms of his age, playing style and versatility. He’s viewed as someone with massive potential who would initially provide high calibre back-up and increase competition for places.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp rates him highly and the club will continue to monitor his development even if they don’t ultimately pursue a deal this summer.
Bowen, who started his career at Hereford United, joined West Ham from Hull City for £18 million potentially rising to £25 million with add-ons in January 2020.
He scored eight goals and contributed five assists in 38 league appearances last season. His contract at the London Stadium runs until 2025.
Birmingham City have agreed to take goalkeeper Matija Sarkic on loan for the 2021-22 season after a successful trial period, reports Gregg Evans.
The 23-year-old Wolverhampton Wanderers stopper has impressed since arriving last week and will now challenge for a starting place in the team.
Boss Lee Bowyer had made it clear that he needed a new goalkeeper before the start of the season following Neil Etheridge’s absence with COVID-19.
A return date has not been set for Etheridge, who is out of hospital and back with his family, but will not be rushed back.
Etheridge could be out for a matter of weeks, if not months, and that’s why Sarkic has made the switch from Wolves.
The Montenegro international spent his early years at Aston Villa but couldn’t find a way into the team as he was behind a number of senior goalkeepers.
He joined Wolves last summer and was sent out on loan to League One side Shrewsbury Town.
Although he has been on the bench a number of times for Villa in the Championship, this will be his first real chance of playing in the second-tier now an agreement is in place to join Birmingham.
The move is expected to be confirmed in the next 24 hours.
Liverpool have told Fulham they want £15 million for winger Harry Wilson, reports James Pearce.
The London club, who are looking to bounce back following relegation from the Premier League last season, are keen to sign the Wales international.
Discussions are ongoing with no official bid on the table but Liverpool insist £15 million is a fair price. They point to the fact that Fulham have previously paid that amount for fellow widemen Ivan Cavaleiro and Anthony Knockaert. They view Wilson as comparable in terms of his profile.
Liverpool turned down a bid of around £12 million for Wilson from Burnley last season and believe he’s progressed since then following a successful loan spell at Cardiff City where he scored seven goals and contributed 12 assists.
The 24-year-old accepts the time is right to secure a permanent move away from Anfield as he wants regular game time. As well as Cardiff, he has previously been loaned out to Crewe, Hull City, Derby County and Bournemouth.
Benfica, Brentford and West Bromwich Albion have also shown interest in Wilson this summer.
Wrexham-born Wilson has been on Liverpool’s books since under-nines level. His only senior appearances were against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup during the 2016-17 campaign and against Arsenal in the League Cup last season.
For the latest Liverpool transfer news click here.
Leeds United hope to complete the signing of Chelsea midfielder Lewis Bate before the end of the week after agreeing a fee with the west London club, reports Simon Johnson.
The Athletic has been told that personal terms are being discussed in view of Bate conducting a medical at Leeds on Wednesday. Chelsea have negotiated a sell-on clause as part of the switch, but have not inserted a buy back clause.
There is still the danger of one of the other interested clubs trying to hijack the move at the 11th hour. The Athletic reported on Monday that Leeds were the favourites to secure the 18-year-old’s signature, but faced competition from West Ham, Liverpool, Leicester City and Brighton.
Time is running out for the others to make a bid though and the player has already given a major indication his mind is made up by following a number of Leeds players on Instagram.
Chelsea have been left with no choice to negotiate with clubs over selling the youngster after Bate made it clear he wasn’t going to sign a contract extension.
The west London club opened talks with Bate before the end of last season and made a good offer, but the England Under-19 international rejected it because he is worried about the lack of a pathway to appearances in the first team.
That meant Chelsea had to discuss a sale because he has only one year left on his current deal and they’d only be entitled to a nominal amount in compensation if he left in 2022.
Bate is a very highly rated teenager, who has been compared with another Chelsea prodigy Billy Gilmour. He came close to making a senior debut under former manager Frank Lampard last year when he was named on the bench against Sheffield United and Bayern Munich.
Meanwhile, another academy graduate Ike Ugbo is hoping to complete a permanent transfer to Belgian club Genk FC in the next few days. Ugbo, who scored an impressive 16 goals in 32 appearances while on loan at Cercle Bruges last season, has already agreed a wage package.
The hold-up is being caused by the size of the fee. Chelsea want £5 million for the 22-year-old, but Genk aren’t willing to pay such a high sum for the forward because he has just one year left on his contract at Stamford Bridge.
There is still optimism that a compromise will be reached so it can be finalised by the weekend.
Celtic rejected £10 million bids from Norwich City and Bayer Leverkusen in June for the Norwegian international’s services. Celtic informed interested parties that £15 million would be the fee required to separate them for their player. Last week Celtic rebuffed Brentford’s opening bid, which is believed to have been also £12 million up-front but totalling to £15 million with add-ons valued at roughly £3 million, a lower value than the finally agreed fee.
The Reds recorded their first win of the summer when they met Mainz last week, which followed on from two 1-1 draws with Wacker Innsbruck and Stuttgart, and they’ll now look to add to it.
Another Bundesliga opponent awaits, a team that you may recall facing back in the summer of 2017 – it was a win that day and Klopp will hope for similar again.
A change in scenery has taken the team to Toril where Tivoli Stadion Tirol will host 15,000 fans as the Reds ramp up the intensity.
Here’s how we could see Liverpool lineup against Hertha Berlin on Thursday evening.Team News
The Reds emerged from the clash with Mainz without any fitness concerns and were instead handed a major boost.
After initially ruling Van Dijk out of the clash, Klopp would later reveal that the Dutchman is in line for minutes off the bench in a significant step in his recovery after over nine months on the sidelines.
“He looks really good in training and maybe we can bring [him in], but I need to have some final conversations. He looks ready and we will see,” Klopp said.
Notably, the match is set to see players build toward the 60-minute mark after mass changes at the 30 and 45-minute mark to date.
Goalkeepers: Adrian, Kelleher, Karius, Pitaluga, H.Davies
Defenders: Van Dijk, Konate, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Tsimikas, Robertson, R.Williams, Phillips, Koumetio, N.Williams, Beck, Bradley
Midfielders: Milner, Keita, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jones, Woodburn, Cain, Clarkson, Morton
Forwards: Salah, Mane, Minamino, Origi, Elliott, Jota, Gordon, Musialowski
Not expected to be involved: Gomez, Thiago, ShaqiriLiverpool XI vs. Hertha Berlin
With the training load to increase for first-team regulars, we’re not going to see the mass changes at half-time rather incrementally throughout the second half.
All signs then point to a strong XI from kick-off, which would see Caoimhin Kelleher remain between the sticks behind a back four that could start on opening day.
Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Matip, Tsimikas; Milner, Keita, Jones; Salah, Mane, Jota
In the knowledge that Klopp will field his strongest possible XI to push the team closer to completing a full 90 minutes, there remains a number of possibilities for the latter stages of the clash:
After one goal in each of the friendlies to date, attacking movements have been a focus in training over the last week and it’ll be interesting to see how that translates on the pitch.
Another boost to the team’s individual and collective fitness will be key, as too identifying areas of their game that can be improved heading into the season proper.
On the contrary, it is nearly 20 years after a coroner decided Jeff Astle’s death at 59 was caused by an “industrial injury”. The England and West Bromwich Albion star was a fearsome and fearless header of the ball, but his final years were clouded by dementia.
Astle’s sad story is far from unique but football has been remarkably reluctant to follow other sports in changing its rules to mitigate the threat of head injury.
But, on Wednesday, the bosses of English football teamed up to announce a new set of guidelines for heading in the amateur and professional game.
“We already have the most comprehensive guidelines in the world for youth football and now we are introducing, in partnership with the other football bodies, the most comprehensive adult football guidelines anywhere,” says FA chief executive Mark Bullingham.
Meanwhile, his opposite number at the Premier League, Richard Masters, explains: “This is a long-term piece of work — we will now build on these studies and we remain committed to further research to ensure we have the right approach in place to protect the welfare of all players.”
So, what have they decided, how have they got there and will this make the game safer?
What are the new recommendations?
Professional players should be limited to a maximum of 10 “higher-force” headers in any training week. Higher-force headers are defined as any that follow a pass of more than 35 metres or corners, crosses, goal kicks and free kicks.
The guidance recommends that clubs develop safety profiles for each player that consider age, gender and position, as well as how many and what type of headers they make.
The family of Liverpool supporter Andrew Devine, who was injured in the Hillsborough disaster, have announced his death at age 55.
Devine suffered life-changing injuries in the disaster on April 5, 1989, and a coroner has concluded that his death was due to those injuries and that he – like the other 96 victims – was unlawfully killed.
It makes Devine, who was 22 when he attended the FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest, officially the 97th victim of the disaster.
Devine’s death comes after South Yorkshire police last month admitted to “serious errors and mistakes” that led to the unlawful killing of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
Despite that admission and despite an inquest in 2016 ruling that the victims were unlawfully killed due to gross negligence, nobody has ever been held responsible or charged for the disaster.
Last month a settlement was announced after South Yorkshire Police and West Midlands Police admitted statements were altered in the aftermath of the disaster.
Devine’s death and subsequent ruling from the coroner could see Liverpool FC replace the ’96’ emblem on the neckline of their shirts with ’97’.
Statement from the Devine family:
“It is with great sadness and a sense of immense loss that we can confirm that Andrew Devine passed away yesterday at the premature age of 55.
“Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.
“We welcome the conclusion of the coroner, Mr Andre Rebello, made today at Liverpool Coroner’s Court, that Andrew was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 1989.
“In the intervening years, Andrew has been a much-loved son, brother and uncle. He has been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers, all of whom devoted themselves to him.
“As ever, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hillsborough. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this sad time.”
Statement from Liverpool FC:
“Liverpool Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Devine, who died yesterday at the age of 55.
“A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.
“At an inquest held in Liverpool today, it was ruled that Andrew was unlawfully killed as a result of the disaster, providing a further tragic reminder of the toll that Hillsborough continues to take on all affected by it.
“The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew’s family and his carers.
“It should also be noted that Andrew’s family have appealed for privacy and we would urge that this request is respected.”
To Andrew and the 96, You’ll Never Walk Alone.
The family of Hillsborough survivor Andrew Devine has announced his death at the age of 55.
Liverpool supporter Devine died on Tuesday, more than 32 years after suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989 when he was only 22.
A family statement, which was posted by Liverpool, read: "It is with great sadness and a sense of immense loss that we can confirm that Andrew Devine passed away yesterday at the premature age of 55.
"Our collective devastation is overwhelming but so too is the realisation that we were blessed to have had Andrew with us for 32 years since the Hillsborough tragedy.
"We welcome the conclusion of the coroner, Mr Andre Rebello, made today at Liverpool Coroner's Court, that Andrew was unlawfully killed, making him the 97th fatality of the tragic events that occurred on April 15, 1989.
"In the intervening years, Andrew has been a much-loved son, brother and uncle. He has been supported by his family and a team of dedicated carers, all of whom devoted themselves to him.
"As ever, our thoughts are with all of those affected by Hillsborough. We would ask that our privacy is respected at this sad time."
A further statement from the Premier League club read: "Liverpool Football Club is deeply saddened by the passing of Andrew Devine, who died yesterday at the age of 55.
"A lifelong Liverpool supporter, Andrew continued to attend matches at Anfield when possible despite suffering life-changing injuries at Hillsborough on April 15, 1989. In doing so he defied expectations that he would not survive for six months after the tragedy.
"At an inquest held in Liverpool today, it was ruled that Andrew was unlawfully killed as a result of the disaster, providing a further tragic reminder of the toll that Hillsborough continues to take on all affected by it.
"The thoughts of everyone at the club are with Andrew's family and his carers.
"It should also be noted that Andrew's family have appealed for privacy and we would urge that this request is respected."
Liverpool’s pre-season schedule continues with another Bundesliga outfit, this time in the shape of Hertha Berlin – with a formidable and familiar face set to return.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men already have three friendlies under their belt this summer, with valuable minutes injected throughout the squad and it’s the same again against Hertha.
With less than 17 days until the season opener, the Reds are back on the field of play on Thursday as they add another 90 minutes to the tally having already accumulated 150.
It will act as another valuable test for members of the first team and those looking to break into Klopp’s plans for the upcoming season, not to mention the return of Virgil van Dijk.
So, what will be in store against Hertha?When and where is the friendly?
Liverpool will make the short trip to Tivoli Stadium in Innsbruck, Austria on Thursday, July 29 to face Hertha, with kickoff scheduled for 7.20pm (BST) on LFCTV.
The game will be played in front of 15,000, with tickets having been available to those who are double vaccinated.Who is at the helm of Hertha?
Pal Dardai is at the helm after putting pen to paper in January, in what is his second stint at Hertha having previously led them between 2015 and 2019.
The 45-year-old’s spell in the second half of last season took a little while to get going with just one point from his first five league games, but 17 in the following 11 would see them close out the season in 14th position.
The hope will be that he can replicate his feats in the 2016/17 season that saw the club finish in sixth to secure Europa League football for the first time since 2009/10.
He certainly isn’t without motivation with the club close to his heart having played donned their colours from 1997 to 2011, meaning he has come up against Klopp as both a player and manager.Who are their key players?
Hertha wasted little time in strengthening their squad this summer, notably adding former Man City forward Stevan Jovetic, ex-Spurs man Kevin-Prince Boateng and Suat Serdar.
The trio are all expected to feature but they are to be without two of their key goalscorers from last season in Krzysztof Piatek, through injury, and Matheus Cunha due to Olympic involvement.
Winger Dodi Lukebakio, who scored the joint-second highest goals last season with seven, is to be relied upon, however.
Notably, Dardai’s son 19-year-old son Marton could also get a run out at centre-back after a breakthrough into the first team that amounted to 12 games in 2020/21.Any history with Liverpool?
There have been four pre-season friendlies with the German side throughout the years, the most recent of which you may recall back in the summer of 2017.
Hertha played host on their historic home turf at the Olympiastadion Berlin in what was a celebration that saw both clubs mark their 125th anniversary, aptly under the banner of ‘Celebrating football since 1892’.
The fixture saw Liverpool emerge as 3-0 victors, with Dominic Solanke, Gini Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah all finding the net, with only three of the players named in the starting XI that day still at the club.
The result in 2017 was a notable improvement on the goalless draw in 2008, when Rafa Benitez was at the helm and when Jamie Carragher, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Sami Hyypia were the centre-back options.
In regards to personnel in the transfer department, Marko Grujic spent two seasons on loan with Hertha in 2018/19 and 2019/20, joining Andriy Voronin (2008/09) as the sole double agents.
But Markus Babbel takes the crown for stepping into the deep end having been head coach from July 2010 to December 2011, where he led his Hertha side to promotion back to the Bundesliga.The return of our No. 4
It has been over nine months since Van Dijk last donned the Liverpool shirt, a painstaking wait that has required patience and caution throughout his journey.
But we need not wait any longer as the Dutchman is set to be handed minutes of action off the bench to mark his long-awaited return, the first step of many back to full match fitness.
Klopp said of the prospect: “I hope, I am not sure, that there is the opportunity that Virgil could play a few minutes.
“He looks really good in training and maybe we can bring [him in], but I need to have some final conversations. He looks ready and we will see.”
And on the matchup itself against Hertha Berlin, Klopp added: “I don’t like actually pre-season games when you win it four or five-nil – it can be the first game but they have no real value because it can lead you on the wrong path and all these kind of things.
“Making mistakes is not my favourite thing to do but if you make it then it’s easier to work on it and it’s the best time to work on it and we can sort that until the season starts.”
Xherdan Shaqiri and Thiago Alcantara arrived at Liverpool's Austria pre-season training camp this afternoon.
The pair reconvened with their Reds teammates in Tirol after a break that followed their participation at Euro 2020 with Switzerland and Spain respectively.
Shaqiri and Thiago will now begin preparations for the 2021-22 campaign on Thursday.
Liverpool are now preparing for their third pre-season friendly day, their fourth opponents overall, and it’s still a case of outs, not ins, with transfer work.Xherdan Shaqiri for just €10m?!
When Liverpool signed Xherdan Shaqiri for £13m a few seasons back, it was a bargain – decent player, squad depth, versatile, cheap as chips.
Except, with injuries, age and Covid finances, it now appears the Reds will actually make a loss on him.
He has mostly been mentioned alongside a £15m or so price tag until now, but reports out of Germany suggest he has been told he can leave for only £8.5million, a big drop-off for the Reds’ income hopes.
A move to the Bundesliga has been mentioned too, but until now it’s Lazio who have been most heavily linked with our Swiss winger.Reds rumours of the day
Click the image link above for all the latest pre-season news as we prepare for Hertha Berlin.
Meanwhile, you can see what our last remaining players have been up to before they return to training with the club!Latest transfer chat elsewhere
We will take it.
I see we are making predictions before the transfer window shuts and the teams can properly take shape.
So here is mine…
Liverpool will win the league this season.
I am taking no further questions at this time.
— Stephen Drennan (@babuyagu) July 28, 2021
Tonight’s late fixtures: Porto v Roma if you want some high-profile, Mourinho-derby, pre-season friendly action. Midtjylland vs Celtic if you want the latest installment of “Scottish Premiership’s European despair”.
During a brief moment of downtime during Liverpool’s pre-season training camp, Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip contested a game of Austrian bowling and we decided to film it. We’re sure you won’t want to miss it.
The trio went head-to-head in a game of nine-pin, or kegeln as it is locally known, in the team hotel in Salzburg.
See what happened when Van Dijk, Gomez and Matip challenged each other in our YouTube video below now.
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