A picturesque Grodig bathed in sunshine provided the backdrop for Liverpool in their latest pre-season friendly, one that ended with a single goal and plenty of snapshots.
Jurgen Klopp‘s men travelled from their base in Saalfelden to face off against Mainz in front of 3,500 fans, who were primarily of Reds persuasion.
The matchup acted as the first 90-minute outing ahead of the new season, but as keeping with tradition, it was two different XIs who took to the field in either half.
And Liverpool’s new No. 5 duly impressed on and off the ball, a physical unit with pace and a presence – you couldn’t ask for much more!
But it would be an own goal from Luca Kilian that would hand Liverpool the lead late in the piece, with Owen Beck delivering the crucial ball that forced the mistake.
How great is it to see fans in the stadium, something that will never go unappreciated!
And it was thumbs up and high-fives from Klopp as he watched his side in action.
An interested spectator in Virgil van Dijk watched on. We know it won’t come on Thursday, but, hopefully, it won’t be long until we see him back on the pitch!
Liverpool’s pre-season schedule will continue over the coming week before they meet Hertha Berlin on Thursday evening before returning to Merseyside to play out two friendlies at Anfield.
With Naby Keita catching the eye in Liverpool’s 1-0 friendly win over Mainz on Friday evening, fans are hoping the No. 8 can stay fit heading into the new campaign.
The game was ultimately decided by a late own goal after Klopp made 11 changes at half-time, but much of the focus was on an impressive showing from Keita once again.
It has been a bitter time for the No. 8 since joining Liverpool from RB Leipzig, with Keita clearly a hugely talented player but one who is unable to string together a consistent run of games due to injury.
Often he has stood out in pre-season only to have his momentum halted when the campaign gets underway, and fans are hoping this is not the case again in 2021/22.
I pray Naby Keita stays fit this season, such an unbelievable player would 100% start for us if he didn’t have horrible luck.
— Samuel (@SamueILFC) July 23, 2021
Hate watching Keita play because when he’s not crippled he’s such a baller ?
— sabah (@Sabah07) July 23, 2021
Sometimes, I would rather that Keita wasn't this good because I feel robbed by missing out on seeing him play often. It's been said enough times, but, man, if he could stay fit…
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) July 23, 2021
Keita is probably in the first XI in terms of ability. We've always known that. The problem is we can't get him on the pitch. If that changes then it's a game changer. But I wouldn't count on it.
— Levene (@CalvLyfeson) July 23, 2021
Filthy from Keita
— ??? (@PassLikeThiago) July 23, 2021
Naby Keita the standout in that first half for me. Really hoping that it can be an injury free season for the Guinean and that he will be able to showcase the ability that we all know he is capable of on a regular basis this season.
— Jack Gill (@jacklfcgill) July 23, 2021
Keita is ridiculous omds why does this guy have to be made outta cheerios
— ? (@3Kashaveli) July 23, 2021
I hate how people question Keita’s ability, we’ve seen how good he is, the issue is the injuries, there’s a difference, stop acting like he’s ass
If he can stay fit he’s such a vital part of the team
— ? (@_Riddxck) July 23, 2021
Oh God, please make Naby Keita fully fit next season.
— Magical Mo (@MagicalMo_) July 23, 2021
Whisper it but Naby Keita looks sharp…… #LFCPreSeason
— Jamie Holme (@JamieHolme) July 23, 2021
Dare I say, Keita has looked like the player we thought we were getting…. pic.twitter.com/244swkXhod
— Kenny (@KopAce74) July 23, 2021
Naby Keïta vs Mainz, highlights and key passes pic.twitter.com/ekwN9Ckluk
— Josh (@KloppStyle) July 23, 2021
Time to get invested in Keita again over a preseason game pic.twitter.com/BEVbHowT9m
— Josh? (@_lfcjosh) July 23, 2021
It is a difficult situation for Keita, because when fit he would certainly be challenging for a first-choice spot in Klopp’s midfield, but the regularity of his injury problems makes him hugely unreliable.
The opportunity to get back up to speed with pre-season is vital this summer, particularly as Fabinho, Thiago and Jordan Henderson are all set to return late and could be doubts for the Premier League opener at Norwich.
With Gini Wijnaldum having left to join PSG, Klopp will be looking for another top-class midfielder to rely upon – and in an ideal world, that would be Keita.
Van Dijk and Gomez have been a welcome addition in pre-season training in Austria, taking part in ball work with the rest of the squad after long-term injuries.
But the centre-back duo are yet to feature in friendly action, with Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Rhys Williams, Ben Davies, Nat Phillips and Billy Koumetio all given minutes against Wacker Innsbruck, Stuttgart and Mainz.
Liverpool’s next outing is against Hertha Berlin on Thursday night, and despite there being almost a week until the game, Van Dijk and Gomez will still be out.
Speaking to LFCTV after the Reds’ 1-0 victory over Mainz, Klopp explained why he would “not risk it” as he takes a wider view on their fitness and the campaign ahead.
“Yes, I would still be surprised, unfortunately,” he said, when asked if they would be available next week.
“They look really good, they do everything. They play football, we keep them in training, we do the things we can do. They don’t do too much.
“We have to be patient. We prepare for a full season, not a pre-season game.
“I will not risk it. We have a lot of games coming, pre-season games, but I don’t see them being involved in the next one.”
While it may be disappointing for fans given how long Van Dijk and Gomez have been out and how long they have been back in training, it seems the right decision to keep them out for longer.
Though they will require time to build up sharpness and pre-season friendlies are ideal for that, throwing them back in too soon after major surgeries could force re-injury, which would be catastrophic.
With Konate and Matip impressing as part of the starting side against Mainz, it would be no surprise if they were chosen to start against Norwich on August 14.
A patient waiting game is required when it comes to Van Dijk and Gomez, and hopefully it will pay off eventually.
Liverpool completed their first full 90 minutes of pre-season on Friday and picked up a low-key 1-0 win against Bundesliga side Mainz.Liverpool 1-0 Mainz
Pre-Season Friendly (3), Austria
July 23, 2021
Goals: Killian OG 85′1. Norwich quartet on show?
The back four to start the fixture was possibly the same one we’ll see against Norwich on the opening day of the season – barring any injuries between now and then, of course.
Knowing the Scot he could be fit and ready to go, but Klopp might want a little caution considering how much he played last term.
And, in the centre, look forward to a Matip-Konate partnership.
With the other duo still on the mend and questions over the futures of Williams and Phillips, it’s probable Klopp will pair up Ibou and Joel with regularity in the remaining fixtures.
Worth keeping an eye on which side they each feature, given Konate started left here but has habitually been seen as coming in to play on the right as a long-term Virgil partner.2. Keita back to the top of his LFC cycle
Our No.8 has had a bit of a habit since signing for the Reds: show what he’s capable of, dominate a few games and help the Reds play well, look as though he’s about to make himself a regular starter…and then suffer an injury, leaving him sidelined and having to start over.
Pre-season 2021 sees him arcing toward the top of that cycle, showing his great movement and touch on the turn, hinting at being a game-changer in Red.
Can he finally break the pattern which comes after it? Can he change supporters’ minds, repay Jurgen’s faith and stay fit and available to start?
Chances are, there’s at least one midfield spot up for grabs to start the new season – more showings like this one and he’ll be in the running to claim it.3. Fringe players not staking a claim
On the other hand, and while we have to temper this point with a nod to double sessions, training intensity and the fact absolutely nothing about the 45 minutes they each got matters, there were a few players who failed to shine.
And with them being not just out of the regular starters, but not even among Jurgen’s go-to sub options, this was about as far from a rousing reminder of their talents as was possible.
Divock Origi made one decent sprint down the left, but otherwise was typically lethargic and offered no clever movement off the ball.
His only moment in the box saw him fall to ground far too easily. Gets a pre-assist for the ball bouncing off him to Owen Beck, mind.
Taki Minamino barely got himself involved. Neco Williams was troubled at right-back.
Klopp won’t be rushing to fit them into his plans, even if buyers don’t come knocking.4. The youngsters who thrived
One of the usual positives of pre-season is seeing which youngsters impress; not to overly build them up and expect a Michael Owen-esque breakout campaign from them, but to highlight the talent pushing for involvement.
Here, two or three furthered their claims for summer involvement, with forward Kaide Gordon again hinting at his intelligence in the final third.
Beck got his second assist of the summer from left-back and Leighton Clarkson was heavily involved in midfield, albeit often defensively and looking to close down.
Gordon rolled in a would-be first goal for the seniors with a really cool finish, only for Curtis Jones to be flagged offside in the build-up.5. Ahead of schedule or all on track
Point worth making: usually, the Reds’ second pre-season match is against the likes of Oldham, Fleetwood or Tranmere – a third-tier side, basically, rather than a top-flight Bundesliga team.
As such, with the team not firing on all cylinders yet, there’s little reason to suspect the Reds should be swatting them aside.
The usual pre-season notes also apply: nobody picked up any injuries, a win is a win and next time out we can expect a few players to potentially start upping their minutes.
Hertha Berlin on Thursday is the upcoming test and the signs of sharpness already seen from the likes of Mane, Salah, Tsimikas and Oxlade-Chamberlain in brief-but-enticing flashes might just be a little more consistent by then.
A late own goal gave Liverpool a 1-0 win over Bundesliga side Mainz in their first full pre-season game in Austria.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain missed the best chance of the first half, seeing his effort in the box saved well by Robin Zentner, before Liverpool changed all 11 players at half-time at the Goldberg Stadium in Grodig.
Mainz had chances of their own in a dull second half, as substitute goalkeeper Adrian tipped over Dominik Wanner's brilliant volley direct from a corner, before Luca Kilian failed to get his feet right as he diverted Owen Beck's left-wing cross into the net (87).
Liverpool's next pre-season fixture comes against Hertha Berlin in Austria on Thursday.
First-half team: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Elliott, Mane, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Second-half team: Adrian, Williams, Phillips, Koumetio, Beck, Clarkson, Morton, Gordon, Jones, Minamimo, OrigiHow Liverpool eventually overcame Mainz Image: New signing Ibrahima Konate started for Liverpool
Ibrahima Konate started his first full game for Liverpool in a defensive line alongside Joel Matip, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Kostas Tsimikas.
Bundesliga side Mainz, who are two weeks further in their preparation for the new season, looked energetic in the first half hour, but created little in the way of clear-cut chances to trouble Caoimhin Kelleher's goal.
Liverpool began to turn the screw late in the first half as good work from Harvey Elliott and Mohamed Salah on the right flank created a chance for Sadio Mane, but his poked effort at the near post was turned away by Zentner.
Zentner was tested again moments later as the impressive Naby Keita did well to find Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left of the box, but as he opened his body up looking to slot into the far corner, the Mainz goalkeeper did well to tip behind.
Jurgen Klopp changed all XI players in the second half, giving a rare opportunity to Billy Koumetio, Leighton Clarkson, Kaide Gordon, Owen Beck and Tyler Morton, but like the opening periods of the first half, the game struggled to get going.Image: Sadio Mane in action for Liverpool in friendly vs Mainz
Mainz substitute Tauer had a fine chance to open the scoring, receiving the ball on his chest in the box, but his bizarre finish was weak enough for Liverpool to clear with ease inside the six-yard box.
Wanner's superb volley from a drilled corner forced Adrian to tip over the bar with 10 minutes remaining, before Liverpool got their winner in bizarre fashion.
Beck was played in behind on the left channel by Divock Origi, and his dangerous cross was turned into his own net by defender Kilian, who could not get his feet right with Gordon behind him.
Mainz nearly levelled a minute before time through youngster Timothe Rupil, but his free-kick was held well by Adrian.Klopp: Far from perfect, but that's OK Image: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said his side were far from perfect against Mainz
Jurgen Klopp on LFC TV:
"I am happy about a lot of situations I saw. First half I saw some really good football, we passed the ball quite quickly against a good organised side, a good defending side. It was far away from being perfect, but it is absolutely OK.
"Organisation-wise it's not even close to where we have to be, but how is that? When you are tired you try to bring the best organisation possible on the pitch, it's never about 100 per cent. I think the boys did that today, and so I am happy
"Nobody injured, which is important, everybody came through, so fine."
Will Virgil van Dijk or Joe Gomez feature against Hertha Berlin? "It would still be a surprise, unfortunately. They look really good. But look, they do everything, they play football, we do the things we can do, they don't do too much, we just have to be patient.
"We prepare for a full season, not a pre-season game. I will not risk it for a game here. We have a lot of games still coming, but I don't see them being involved for the next one."Analysis: All eyes on Konate, but Keita and Gordon impress Image: Kaide Gordon impressed for Liverpool in Austria
Sky Sports' Gerard Brand
"Liverpool were never going to run rings around a side two weeks further in their preparation for the new season, and the old adage "performances don't matter in pre-season" is necessary here.
"This was a really dull affair for large parts, lacking in flow and rhythm, but there were a handful of things Jurgen Klopp will be delighted with.
"Naby Keita, who needs to reignite his Liverpool career, was the brightest player in the first half, showing brilliant skill and close control on several occasions to get out of cul-de-sacs and create. Harvey Elliott, too, impressed, and was singled out by Klopp for praise.
"On his proper debut, all eyes were also on Ibrahima Konate, and this was a 6/10 performance from the 22-year-old. A sloppy concession of possession, followed by a brilliant recovery to win the ball back, just about summed up his 45 minutes.
"The second half brought Liverpool's average age down considerably, and though Owen Beck will get the plaudits for 'setting up' the own goal winner, 16-year-old Kaide Gordon impressed most.
"Gordon chased everything, nearly promoting a howler from the Mainz goalkeeper as he pursued a back pass, looked pacey and even produced a quite superb, bold dummy to create a chance for Divock Origi late on.
"It's difficult to draw too many conclusions from two lots of 45 minutes, but Klopp's glass was half full rather than half empty."What's next?
Liverpool face Hertha Berlin on Thursday July 29 at 7.20pm at the Tivoli Stadion Tirol in Innsbruck, Austria.New series: Football's Cult Heroes 1:00 Football's Cult Heroes is a new podcast series exploring the stories of players that carried their clubs on their backs - on and off the pitch. Follow on Spotify.
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First up is Robbie Fowler - The boy from Toxteth who became 'God', featuring interviews with Jason McAteer, John Barnes, Emile Heskey and more.
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Liverpool beat FSV Mainz 05 1-0 in Friday’s pre-season friendly in Austria.
A late own goal by Luca Kilian, who inadvertently diverted Owen Beck’s cross past his goalkeeper, saw the Reds claim victory in the first 90-minute game of their summer programme.
A first-half team featuring the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, James Milner, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah was replaced by a more youthful XI captained by Divock Origi for the second period as Jürgen Klopp sought to provide his squad with match minutes.
Liverpool enjoyed the majority of the early possession in front of 3,500 fans at Grodig’s Untersberg-Arena and a low, cross-field pass fizzed into Salah by Alexander-Arnold fashioned an opening for the No.11, but his delivery to Mane was cut out by Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner.
Caoimhin Kelleher comfortably gathered the game’s first shot on target soon after, before Mane’s instinctive effort forced Zentner into a fine reaction save following neat link-up down the right between Salah and Harvey Elliott.
Zentner was again called into action when central forward Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, slipped in by a weighted pass from Naby Keita, opened out his body and looked to bend a finish into the far bottom corner with his right foot.
An entirely different XI took to the pitch for the second half, after a couple of minutes of which Leandro Barreiro drilled a shot wide from the edge of the area.
Curtis Jones dragged an attempt off target at the other end, with Kaide Gordon later seeing a low drive parried away before Adrian displayed superb reflexes to tip Dominik Wanner’s powerful volley over the bar.
And Liverpool would go on to take the win, thanks to Kilian’s mistake.
The Reds’ next pre-season friendly sees them take on Hertha BSC in Innsbruck on Thursday.
A very pre-season feel match saw Liverpool eventually record a 1-0 win against German side Mainz in Austria on Friday night.Liverpool 1-0 Mainz 05
Pre-Season Friendly, Untersberg-Arena, Grodig, Austria
Friday, 23 July 2021
Killian (OG) 86′ (assist: Beck)
Liverpool’s second pre-season game of the summer – their first over a full 90 minutes – saw the strongest possible XI named, with Harvey Elliott continuing in midfield and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the No.9.
The game also marked the first of the summer with supporters in attendance, with 3,500 in the picturesque setting in the mountains of Austria.
It was an extremely ‘pre-season feel’ to the match, with very very few clear chances or major talking points.
The best chance of the half fell for Oxlade-Chamberlain, but he curled his shot wide of the far post – not exactly the best audition for his supposed new role as a centre-forward.
Naby Keita was the most lively and impressive player… just don’t say he’s like a new signing (again)!
The only actual new signing of the summer so far, Ibrahima Konate, did catch the eye on occasion too, certainly showing his pace in making recovery runs.
Half time: Liverpool 0-0 Mainz
Again, there was little of note and few talking points, with Liverpool’s front three of Gordon, Divock Origi and Taki Minamo barely threatening the Mainz defence.
Until a late goal for the Reds, the ‘highlight’ of the half was a good save from Adrian from a volley off a corner.
But there was a goal to note when young left-back Beck did well down the left and fired in a cross that was turned into his own net by defender Luca Killian.
It was a good test for so early in pre-season, with these early games usually against a much lower standard of opposition than a Bundesliga side like Mainz.
Another 45 minutes ‘in the tank’ for many players as they work their way to full fitness and now almost a week until the next friendly – when Jota, Andy Robertson and, hopefully, Van Dijk and Gomez will be involved.
Liverpool first half: Kelleher; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Matip, Tsimikas; Milner, Keita, Elliott; Mane, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool second half: Adrian; N.Williams, Phillips, Koumetio, Beck; Clarkson, Jones, Morton (Cain 79′); Gordon, Minamino, Origi
Subs not used: Karius, H. Davies, Bradley, Jota
Next Match: Hertha Berlin – Thursday, 29 August, 7.20pm (BST)
Ibrahima Konate starts for Liverpool in this evening’s friendly with FSV Mainz 05 in Austria.
The defender lines up against the Bundesliga side alongside Joel Matip, while there are also starts for Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane.
Diogo Jota is named on the bench, with the Reds set to make 11 changes at half-time.
Ben Davies is not involved in this evening’s fixture. The defender has returned to the UK due to a personal matter and will rejoin the squad at an appropriate time.
Liverpool: Kelleher, Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Matip, Tsimikas, Milner, Keita, Elliott, Mane, Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Subs: Adrian, Karius, H. Davies, Jones, Minamino, Jota, Origi, Phillips, Gordon, Beck, Cain, Clarkson, N. Williams, Morton, Bradley, Koumetio.
[unable to retrieve full-text content]Visit our Match Centre now for live updates and interactive content as Liverpool face FSV Mainz 05 in a pre-season friendly in Austria.
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Liverpool vs Mainz. Friendly Match.
5:15pm, Friday 23rd July 2021.
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We won’t bring you gossip or rumours, just what is really happening and why.
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.
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.
Liverpool are interested in moving for in-demand AC Milan midfielder Franck Kessie this summer, according to reports.
Kessie is set to enter the final 12 months of his contract and there have been question marks raised over whether his long-term future remains at the San Siro.
And the uncertainty has placed a number of clubs on red alert, with La Gazzetta dello Sport in Italy claiming that Liverpool are eyeing up the talented 24-year-old.
Full story: MailOnline
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