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Liverpool's Brewster in hospital

Sat, 13/01/2018 - 02:10
By Press Association

Last Updated: 12/01/18 11:50pm

Rhian Brewster's actions were cut short against Man City on Friday nightRhian Brewster's actions were cut short against Man City on Friday night Rhian Brewster's actions were cut short against Man City on Friday night

Liverpool forward Rhian Brewster was taken to hospital on Friday night after suffering an injury in an U23 game with Manchester City.

The 17-year-old hurt his leg when he landed awkwardly after challenging for a header in first-half stoppage time, the Merseyside club said.

Liverpool U23 manager Neil Critchley told the club's website after the 3-2 defeat: "It's not looking good. He fell awkwardly and it's down towards the bottom near his ankle.

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"He will be going to hospital. I don't want to speculate too much but he's in a lot of pain and hopefully it's not as bad as it looks, but we fear the worst a little bit at the moment."

Brewster, who won the Golden Boot in England's Under-17 World Cup success in October, has yet to make his senior debut for the Reds.

In December, Brewster was also in the headlines after his club officially complained to UEFA over alleged racist abuse aimed at the teenager in the Youth League clash with Spartak Moscow.

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Salah fit for Man City showdown

Fri, 12/01/2018 - 16:40
By Mark Crellin

Last Updated: 12/01/18 2:21pm

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has confirmed top scorer Mohamed Salah will be fit for Sunday's Premier League showdown with leaders Manchester City.

The Egypt forward missed Liverpool's last two games with a groin injury but Klopp says he is back to full health again for the game at Anfield.

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"If nothing happens in this moment, Mo is back," Klopp said. "He is training completely normal.

"That is of course very important for us."

Liverpool v Man City essential reading

Liverpool host Premier League leaders Manchester City in this weekend's big Nissan Super Sunday fixture at Anfield

Klopp is excited about Sunday's game, which presents his team with a chance to hand City a first Premier League defeat of the season and also gain revenge for a 5-0 loss at the Etihad back in September.

"It is a big game, 100 per cent," said Klopp. "We played there a few months ago, probably one of the stranger games in my life.

"We were really good in the game. Slightly better side, slightly better chances, open game - both teams not fantastically defending but both on the front foot.

A Sadio Mane red card proved a turning point in this season's first Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester CityA Sadio Mane red card proved a turning point in this season's first Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester City A Sadio Mane red card proved a turning point in this season's first Premier League game between Liverpool and Manchester City

"Nice game and then we had a red card [Sadio Mane]. That obviously changed the game and maybe for Man City the season.

"They did not do too bad before that but, after that, it was like 'ah, we are really good!'

"They are playing a fantastic season. Our season is not too bad but, in a game like this, you need to show that you can cause them problems, more problems than other teams can.

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"It is Anfield, that is another thing. I am really looking forward to the game to be honest."

Big money signing Virgil van Dijk could make his Premier League debut for Liverpool against City.

The £75m arrival from Southampton scored a late winner on his debut against Everton in the FA Cup last week but Klopp says that, despite making such a fine start, the new man is not certain to start at Anfield.

Virgil van Dijk could make his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool on SundayVirgil van Dijk could make his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool on Sunday Virgil van Dijk could make his first Premier League appearance for Liverpool on Sunday

"That one game showed it is a doable job to adapt him to the rest of the team," said Klopp. "It was quite impressive, that was a really good game.

"City is a completely different game and I didn't make a decision so far if he is ready for that. Long term for sure, short term I don't know.

"But the good thing is all the other three boys are in really good shape, so I should sleep OK!"

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Liverpool v Man City essential reading

Fri, 12/01/2018 - 14:50

Last Updated: 13/01/18 9:59pm

Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola go head to head on SundayJurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola go head to head on Sunday Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola go head to head on Sunday

Liverpool host Premier League leaders Manchester City in this weekend's big Nissan Super Sunday fixture at Anfield.

It is Liverpool's first game since the £146m departure of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona, but will they mark it by ending Manchester City's unbeaten start to the season?

From how Liverpool can beat City, to who each side should look to sign in the January transfer window, we round up the best of our big match preview content.

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How can Liverpool beat City?

Liverpool were on the front foot against Manchester City in September before Sadio Mane's sending off changed the game - but how did they do it and can it be done again? We examine the stats on to see how best to beat Pep Guardiola's side.

The Van Dijk effect

Liverpool's £75m signing Virgil van Dijk is set to start in Sunday's game. According to Sky Sports pundit Jamie Redknapp, the former Southampton defender guarantees Liverpool's place in the top four this season.

"Everyone is vying for second place, but I think personally that by bringing in Van Dijk, you pretty much have cemented the top four with that one signing," he said. "I do think he is going to make that big a difference."

'Van Dijk guarantees top four'

Read the full story as Jamie Redknapp gives his verdict on the Virgil van Dijk signing

Thierry Henry's verdict

According to Thierry Henry, Liverpool could be the side to end Manchester City's unbeaten run.

Henry also gave his verdict on Coutinho's departure. "You still have Firmino, Salah, Mane - I mean, this is not a bad front three," he said. "You would obviously prefer to have that front with Coutinho as a No 10.

"Oxlade-Chamberlain is there, Lallana is back, but obviously you are going to miss Coutinho. The amount of goals he has scored from outside the box is just ridiculous. You have to move on though and Liverpool will always be Liverpool."

Read Thierry's full verdict here.

Take a look at some of the best goals scored in games between Liverpool and Manchester City from the Premier League era Take a look at some of the best goals scored in games between Liverpool and Manchester City from the Premier League era Merson's prediction

I think Liverpool could be the team that finally beat Manchester City. I know Philippe Coutinho is not there anymore but they've still got the firepower to beat them, with Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane. City haven't won at Anfield since 2003, although you've got to remember what City were like back then, they're not the team they are now that's for sure. But I fancy Liverpool - I didn't think I'd ever say that!

PAUL PREDICTS: 2-1 (10/1 with Sky Bet)

The key battle

Who will come out on top between Van Dijk and Sergio Aguero? We look at the stats behind the key battle at Anfield.

City's shocking Anfield record

Does Manchester City's record at Anfield provide hope for Liverpool? City have lost 14 of their 20 meetings at Liverpool during the modern top-flight era, snatching their sole victory with a 2-1 win in May 2003 - when current City winger Leroy Sane was just seven years old.

Find out more about the stats behind the fixture and take a look at the head-to-head record.

Sterling scoring streak explained

One man who could make the difference for Manchester City is Raheem Sterling. The England international has been in outstanding form for Guardiola's side this season but what's behind his scoring streak?

Sterling's scoring streak explained

The stats which reveal why Raheem Sterling can't stop scoring this season

City v Invincibles combined XI

How many of Arsenal's Invincibles would make it into the current Manchester City side? Pick your XI using our interactive team selector.

The Sanchez saga

The Alexis Sanchez transfer saga is hanging over the fixture, with Manchester United now rivaling City to sign the Arsenal forward. According to Phil Neville, signing him from under City's noses would be an "unbelievable coup".

Is Alexis Sanchez on his way to Manchester City?Is Alexis Sanchez on his way to Manchester City? Is Alexis Sanchez on his way to Manchester City? Who should Liverpool sign?

Which of these reported transfer targets would you like to see at Anfield?

Who should Man City sign?

Have your say on who Guardiola should bring to the Etihad Stadium.

Watch Liverpool v Manchester City live on Sky Sports Premier League HD from 3.30pm on Sunday

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Ox: Coutinho loss won't affect us

Fri, 12/01/2018 - 02:30

Last Updated: 11/01/18 11:35pm

Liverpool can cope without Philippe Coutinho, says Alex Oxlade-ChamberlainLiverpool can cope without Philippe Coutinho, says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool can cope without Philippe Coutinho, says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain says he has given no thought to Philippe Coutinho’s departure from Liverpool, insisting it is "business as usual" at Anfield.

Coutinho completed a transfer to Barcelona on Monday in a deal which saw the Brazilian become the second most expensive player in world football.

But Oxlade-Chamberlain is confident the three remaining members of Liverpool's Fab Four - Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino - can help fill Coutinho's void without too much disruption.

Coutinho joined Barcelona in a deal worth up to £146m Coutinho joined Barcelona in a deal worth up to £146m Coutinho joined Barcelona in a deal worth up to £146m

Liverpool's first chance to prove that is at home to all-conquering Premier League leaders Manchester City, live on Sky Sports Premier League, on Sunday.

"I haven't really even thought about Phil leaving," Oxlade-Chamberlain said.

Oxlade-Chamberlain says it is business as usual following Coutinho's departure Oxlade-Chamberlain says it is business as usual following Coutinho's departure Oxlade-Chamberlain says it is business as usual following Coutinho's departure

"You realise it happens but you can't start thinking 'What are we going to do now that Phil is not here?'

"It can't be that at all. It's business as usual.

"When Phil wasn't in the team we still played great football and we have still amazing players who can score goals - the likes of Mo [Salah], Sadio, Roberto.

Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 24 goals between them this seasonRoberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 24 goals between them this season Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have 24 goals between them this season

"The fact is he has gone now and we have to think 'What have we got that is going to get the job done?'.

"I have every faith in the boys that we just move on now. I don't think it should affect us at all. When a big player leaves, a big player leaves. You're at a big club like Liverpool, another big player will come in the future.

"I wish Phil all the very best but the only thing I'm concentrating on is Liverpool and winning as many games as we can - starting with Man City on Sunday."

Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in 19 Premier League starts for LiverpoolMohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in 19 Premier League starts for Liverpool Mohamed Salah has scored 17 goals in 19 Premier League starts for Liverpool

Coutinho's departure provides an opportunity for Oxlade-Chamberlain and other members of the squad including fit-again Adam Lallana to secure more regular football in the second half of the season.

"Of course it's an opportunity for me, just as it is for all the rest of the boys who want to play there," Oxlade-Chamberlain added.

"It is our job to keep the wheels moving and momentum going.

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"I am the type of person who relishes the chance to stand up and perform under pressure, I have had to do that my whole career.

"I was at a big club previously and being at big one now, you know you are always going to have to perform under pressure."

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'Van Dijk guarantees Reds top four'

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:40
Jamie Redknapp

Football Expert & Columnist

Last Updated: 11/01/18 10:48pm

Jamie Redknapp thinks highly of new Liverpool signing Virgil van Dijk Jamie Redknapp thinks highly of new Liverpool signing Virgil van Dijk

Virgil van Dijk's arrival at Anfield all but guarantees Liverpool a top-four finish in the Premier League this season, according to Jamie Redknapp.

Liverpool spent £75m to sign the Southampton centre-back, with the Netherlands international completing his drawn-out move to Merseyside on the first day of the January transfer window.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) splashed out a world-record £75m to sign Van Dijk from SouthamptonLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) splashed out a world-record £75m to sign Van Dijk from Southampton Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) splashed out a world-record £75m to sign Van Dijk from Southampton

However, Redknapp thinks the fee - a world record for a defender - will prove money well spent, especially if, in his opinion, it improves Liverpool's defence and helps them qualify for next season's Champions League.

"They have brought in a defender and if you look at where Liverpool's problems have been over the last few years, it has been defensively," the former Liverpool captain told Sky Sports.

By bringing in Van Dijk, you pretty much have cemented the top four with that one signing.

Jamie Redknapp

"So the fact that they have got that money and brought in Van Dijk, who I think is going to be a huge success - I have said it from day one, he is the sort of player that they need.

"It gives them a defensive base they have not had. They need a leader and I have been saying it for a while.

"Defensively they have never had anyone - [Ragnar] Klavan, [Joel] Matip, [Dejan] Lovren - none of them are that standout centre-back that you look at and who is going to lead from the back, going to be a good talker."

Watch a preview of Sunday's Premier League fixtures including Bournemouth v Arsenal and Liverpool v Man City. Watch a preview of Sunday's Premier League fixtures including Bournemouth v Arsenal and Liverpool v Man City.

Van Dijk, 26, made his Liverpool debut in Friday's FA Cup third-round tie with Everton, scoring a dramatic late winner at Anfield and demonstrating another string to the player's bow in Redknapp's eyes.

"You are going to get goals, which you have seen already, he can take free-kicks, can score goals from that area as well," said the Sky Sports pundit.

Van Dijk celebrates after scoring a late winner against Everton in the FA CupVan Dijk celebrates after scoring a late winner against Everton in the FA Cup Van Dijk celebrates after scoring a late winner against Everton in the FA Cup

"I think the most important thing is he defends properly and that is where Liverpool have let themselves down. They have so much of the ball and it is just those silly moments and slip-ups that have cost them these last few years."

To what degree Van Dijk can make Liverpool more parsimonious at the back will be seen this weekend when runaway leaders Man City visit Anfield.

Burnley 1-2 Liverpool Burnley 1-2 Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp's side, who were thrashed 5-0 the last time the two met at the Etihad in September, will be looking to become the first team to beat free-scoring City in the league this season.

Redknapp is adamant the player's presence at the back can help the Reds keep hold of fourth in the table - they currently lead fifth-placed Tottenham by three points - between now and the end of the campaign.

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"Everyone is vying for second place, but I think personally that by bringing in Van Dijk, you pretty much have cemented the top four with that one signing," said Redknapp. "I do think he is going to make that big a difference.

"With [Philippe] Coutinho (leaving), there is an argument that might not have got you into the top four. As good as he is, defensively they have had a problem for a long time now and I think Van Dijk pretty much guarantees you top four."

Watch Liverpool v Manchester City live on Sky Sports Premier League from 3.30pm on Sunday

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Hasenhüttl: Keita staying put

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 17:00
By Sky Sports News

Last Updated: 11/01/18 2:07pm

Naby Keita will remain with RB Leipzig for the rest of the season, according to coach Ralph HasenhüttlNaby Keita will remain with RB Leipzig for the rest of the season, according to coach Ralph Hasenhüttl Naby Keita will remain with RB Leipzig for the rest of the season, according to coach Ralph Hasenhüttl

RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl has played down suggestions midfielder Naby Keita could join Liverpool this month.

A deal has already been agreed to take Keita to Anfield in the summer, but recent reports have claimed Liverpool are keen to bring the move forward following the £146m sale of Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

The Guinea international, who scored eight goals in 31 appearances last season, has struggled to find his best form this term and has been sent off three times.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast where Ross Barkley's move to Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho's Liverpool future were among the topics discussed.

But Hasenhüttl says he is keen to keep Keita at the club until the end of the season and believes the 22-year-old will want to finish the campaign strongly.

"The current situation is that nothing changed. We do not have a reason to sell Keita any time before the end of the season. That's it," Hasenhüttl said.

"He will play at the weekend against Schalke 04 and hopefully he does well. That's the only thing I really care about."

Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool to join Barcelona earlier this weekPhilippe Coutinho left Liverpool to join Barcelona earlier this week Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool to join Barcelona earlier this week

Hasenhüttl added: "I think that Naby wants to finish the season in a good way in Leipzig. He wants to leave a good impression.

"He made many good games for the club - in my opinion I think that he will put everything into the rest of the season.

"He probably wants to do some self-promotion before he leaves. He does not want to leave without showing all his qualities since he had some weak games in the first part of the season."

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Premier League goals & reaction

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 09:32

THE FEELING'S MUTUAL, JOSE

It's still going, folks...

Antonio Conte says the feeling of "contempt" with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is mutual.

The two Premier League bosses have traded barbs since the New Year after Mourinho's suggestion that he did not feel the need to behave like "a clown" during games touched a nerve with Conte.

That sparked a war of words between the pair, where Mourinho appeared to reference a ban Conte served for failing to report match-fixing - he was later exonerated - and the Italian called the United boss a "little man" and a "fake".

Mourinho called an end to the feud on Friday when he said he had "hurt" Conte and he feels "contempt" towards him.

And Conte has since responded - view his quotes here

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Salah and Sturridge back in training

Wed, 10/01/2018 - 23:10

Last Updated: 10/01/18 8:56pm

Mohamed Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool this seasonMohamed Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool this season Mohamed Salah has scored 23 goals for Liverpool this season

Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge have returned to Liverpool training ahead of their Sky Live clash with Man City at Anfield on Sunday.

Salah, who has missed the last two matches with a groin injury, took a full part in training on Wednesday at Melwood.

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The Egyptian has 23 goals for Liverpool this season after his summer transfer from AS Roma.

Forward Sturridge also took part in the session after a month sidelined with illness and a hamstring problem.

The former City striker has not featured since the Champions League victory over Spartak Moscow at the start of December.

Sunday's encounter with City at Anfield, live on Sky Sports Premier League, will be fourth-placed Liverpool's first match since the departure of Brazilian midfielder Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona this weekPhilippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona this week Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona this week

Coutinho signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with Barca on Monday as a transfer that could be worth up to £142m to Liverpool was finalised.

Even without Coutinho, a visit to Anfield will be a stern test for Pep Guardiola's side who are unbeaten in their last 33 matches domestically.

Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League home games against City (W10 D4, since a 1-2 loss in May 2003), winning the last four in a row.

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Khedira: I would sign Can

Wed, 10/01/2018 - 18:04
By Dev Trehan

Last Updated: 10/01/18 4:25pm

Sami Khedira has urged Juventus to do all they can to bring Liverpool midfielder Emre Can to the club in the summer Sami Khedira has urged Juventus to do all they can to bring Liverpool midfielder Emre Can to the club in the summer

Sami Khedira has urged Juventus to do all they can to bring Liverpool midfielder Emre Can to the club in the summer.

Can joined Liverpool from Bayer Leverkusen in the summer of 2014 but is now inside the last six months of his contract, and has been tracked by Juventus since last summer.

World Cup winner Khedira, who joined Juventus on a free transfer from Real Madrid in 2015, says if it was up to him international team-mate Can would be joining him in Turin this summer.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk

Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez and Lucas Moura were among the names discussed on the latest episode of Transfer Talk

"I know Emre very well," Can told Sky In Italy.

"First of all Emre is a very good player. He is a young player, he can improve of course, he is powerful and is talented but of course he has to learn.

"And if there is a possibility that Juventus can sign this player you have to use this chance because I think he is a free agent in the summer period.

"So, if I am a manager, of course I would try and sign him."

Sami Khedira and Can on international duty with GermanySami Khedira and Can on international duty with Germany Sami Khedira and Can on international duty with Germany

Sky in Germany last week reported Liverpool remain locked in talks with Can to extend his stay on Merseyside, adding the midfielder will not be allowed to leave in the January transfer window.

But according to reports in Italy, Can has already reached an agreement in principle to join Juventus in the summer.

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has already left to join Barcelona in a deal worth up to £146m, but the Reds have already agreed a deal to sign RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita on July 1.

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Inter interested in Sturridge loan

Wed, 10/01/2018 - 15:40
By Aaron Fowler

Last Updated: 10/01/18 12:45pm

Inter are reportedly interested in a loan move for Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and Tony Gale thinks such a move could be good for the forward Inter are reportedly interested in a loan move for Liverpool's Daniel Sturridge and Tony Gale thinks such a move could be good for the forward

Inter Milan are interested in signing Daniel Sturridge during the January transfer window, according to Sky in Italy.

It is understood the Serie A club would favour a loan move and are targeting players who need to play regularly ahead of the World Cup.

The Nerazzurri are also reportedly interested in signing Germany international, Andre Schurrle from Borussia Dortmund.

Sturridge has made just 14 appearances this season for Liverpool scoring three goals.

However, the Reds striker has struggled to establish himself in Jurgen Klopp's starting line-up having only started five games during the campaign.

Inter Milan's Argentine forward Mauro Icardi has scored 18 league goals in Serie A so far this seasonInter Milan's Argentine forward Mauro Icardi has scored 18 league goals in Serie A so far this season Inter Milan's Argentine forward Mauro Icardi has scored 18 league goals in Serie A so far this season

The 28-year-old will be hopeful regular football will help his chances of being selected in England's squad for the World Cup in Russia.

Other reports have linked Southampton, Newcastle and West Ham with a move for Sturridge.

A move to Inter could see Sturridge play alongside one of Europe's most in-form strikers, Mauro Iardi who has scored 18 goals in Serie A this season.

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Conte calm after losing out on Van Dijk

Wed, 10/01/2018 - 03:00
By Mark Ashenden

Last Updated: 10/01/18 12:06am

Virgil van Dijk opted for Liverpool in a £75m move from SouthamptonVirgil van Dijk opted for Liverpool in a £75m move from Southampton Virgil van Dijk opted for Liverpool in a £75m move from Southampton

Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte remained unfazed and in reflective mood when asked about the club's failed attempts at signing defender Virgil van Dijk.

The 26-year-old's £75m switch from Southampton to Liverpool was agreed on December 27, with the Dutchman finally sealing his switch to Anfield at the start of the January transfer window.

Conte, who insisted his club would attempt to continue strengthening their squad in the current transfer window, admitted Chelsea worked hard to acquire Van Dijk.

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Asked if he was disappointed on missing out on the centre-half, Conte said: "This is football. This is life. For sure he was our target but as you know this is football.

"We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets. The transfer market is not simple for any club."

Antonio Conte does not regret his ongoing feud with Jose Mourinho Antonio Conte does not regret his ongoing feud with Jose Mourinho

The agreed fee for Van Dijk was a world-record sum for a defender, topping Manchester City's deal to sign Kyle Walker in July.

Van Dijk was keen on a move last summer and handed in a transfer request at St Mary's, but Liverpool ended their pursuit when the Saints complained they had made an illegal approach for the centre-back.

On sealing his move on January 1, Van Dijk said: "With the history at the club and everything around it, it is just a perfect, perfect match for me."

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'Reds must fulfil Klopp's ambitions'

Tue, 09/01/2018 - 12:00

Last Updated: 09/01/18 2:37pm

Jurgen Klopp could leave for one of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea if Liverpool do not match his ambition, says the Reds' former managing director Christian Purslow Jurgen Klopp could leave for one of the Manchester clubs or Chelsea if Liverpool do not match his ambition, says the Reds' former managing director Christian Purslow

Liverpool could lose manager Jurgen Klopp to one of their rivals if they do not match the German's ambitions, says the club's former managing director Christian Purslow.

Liverpool sold playmaker Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £146m over the weekend and Purslow feels the Reds must now use the proceeds from the Brazil international's sale to strengthen their squad.

If Liverpool do keep offloading their best players and do not bring in high-quality replacements, though, Purslow has warned his former club that they may risk losing their manager to one of their rivals.

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"They [United] are shopping at Harrods - I do not know why he is making excuses by the way - Liverpool need to start shopping at Harrods rather than just selling the good ones," said Purslow, who was MD at Anfield between 2009 and 2010.

"And I really believe Jurgen Klopp is absolutely A-list, he is the next manager for one of those bigger clubs if Liverpool do not fulfil his ambitions."

Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a £146m dealPhilippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a £146m deal Philippe Coutinho left Liverpool for Barcelona in a £146m deal

The two Manchester clubs and champions Chelsea have all spent big on player recruitment in recent times, so much so that there is now a divide between that trio and Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, according to Purslow.

"It is not a Big Six - it is a three and a three. It feels to me like City, United and Chelsea are breaking away from Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham for pure economic reasons," Purslow told The Debate.

"United are what Jose was on about, you are talking Paul Pogba, the most desired footballer on the planet went there last summer.

"The most productive centre-forward in the Premier League, Romelu Lukaku, went there last summer. Henrikh Mkhitaryan, probably the most admired creative midfield player in Germany, went there."

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Coutinho: The beauty of Liverpool

Tue, 09/01/2018 - 10:40
By Richard Cooke

Last Updated: 09/01/18 12:16pm

Philippe Coutinho says he will always cherish Liverpool in his heartPhilippe Coutinho says he will always cherish Liverpool in his heart Philippe Coutinho says he will always cherish Liverpool in his heart

Philippe Coutinho has posted an emotional farewell message to Liverpool in which he talks about the "beauty of the club and its fans".

The Brazilian completed his £146m move to Barcelona on Monday, signing a five-and-a-half year deal.

Just hours after the formalities were finalised, Coutinho took to his Instagram account to thank everyone at Liverpool for making his time at Anfield a "dream".

Since the moment I arrived in Liverpool , me and my family have been made to feel so welcome and have made so many friends. On the pitch and off the pitch, we have experienced the beauty of this club and its fans. In turn, I hope I have delivered memories and moments that have brought happiness to the Liverpool supporters. Moving to Liverpool, I knew the club’s greatness and history but what I did learn during my time was the unique heart and soul of the place. It has its own personality and character. I leave Liverpool because Barcelona is a dream for me. Liverpool was a dream that I was fortunate enough to realise and I have given five years of my life to it. A career on the pitch only lasts for so long and to play for Barcelona as well as Liverpool is something I want to experience and enjoy while I am blessed enough to be able to do so. I hope the supporters understand that choosing to experience something new is not about diminishing their importance to me or the club’s importance. Nothing will ever diminish that in my heart. I wish Jürgen and the team nothing but joy and success for the rest of this season and beyond. This is an amazing team and they are getting better and better all the time. There are too many people I want to thank, but I cannot name everyone individually. To all the amazing club staff who have been part of my life in Liverpool - I will miss you. To the owners, whom have tried so hard to bring success, and to the football recruitment staff for showing faith in me to bring me here and rewarding me during that journey, and to my incredible teammates, past and present, who have helped me grow and improve as a player and a person, I would like to say thank you to you all. Anything I have achieved here would not have been possible without you. And finally, to the most important people of Liverpool - the Liverpool supporters. I can never thank you enough for what you have given me during this time and no matter where I go in the world, for the rest of my life, I will always cherish Liverpool in my heart. You, the club and the city will always be a part of me. You’ll Never Walk Alone. Philippe.

A post shared by Philippe Coutinho (@phil.coutinho) on Jan 8, 2018 at 2:25pm PST

He wrote: "Since the moment I arrived in Liverpool, me and my family have been made to feel so welcome and have made so many friends.

"On the pitch and off the pitch, we have experienced the beauty of this club and its fans. In turn, I hope I have delivered memories and moments that have brought happiness to the Liverpool supporters.

Coutinho: Liverpool did all they could

Philippe Coutinho confirmed Liverpool did everything in their power to keep him at Anfield, but says his move to Barcelona is a "dream come true"

"Moving to Liverpool, I knew the club's greatness and history but what I did learn during my time was the unique heart and soul of the place. It has its own personality and character.

"I leave Liverpool because Barcelona is a dream for me. Liverpool was a dream that I was fortunate enough to realise and I have given five years of my life to it.

Philippe Coutinho has thanked Liverpool for his time at the club, and regrets they did not win trophies Philippe Coutinho has thanked Liverpool for his time at the club, and regrets they did not win trophies

"A career on the pitch only lasts for so long and to play for Barcelona as well as Liverpool is something I want to experience and enjoy while I am blessed enough to be able to do so.

"I hope the supporters understand that choosing to experience something new is not about diminishing their importance to me or the club's importance. Nothing will ever diminish that in my heart.

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"I wish Jurgen and the team nothing but joy and success for the rest of this season and beyond. This is an amazing team and they are getting better and better all the time.

With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt

"There are too many people I want to thank, but I cannot name everyone individually.

"To all the amazing club staff who have been part of my life in Liverpool - I will miss you.

Philippe Coutinho will not be able to play for three weeks due to a thigh injury, but the new Barcelona recruit managed a few keepy-uppies for his watching fans Philippe Coutinho will not be able to play for three weeks due to a thigh injury, but the new Barcelona recruit managed a few keepy-uppies for his watching fans

"To the owners, whom have tried so hard to bring success, and to the football recruitment staff for showing faith in me to bring me here and rewarding me during that journey, and to my incredible teammates, past and present, who have helped me grow and improve as a player and a person, I would like to say thank you to you all.

"Anything I have achieved here would not have been possible without you.

Where will Coutinho fit at Barcelona?

As Philippe Coutinho agrees a £146m transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona, Guillem Balague explains where he will fit into Ernesto Valverde's team

"And finally, to the most important people of Liverpool - the Liverpool supporters. I can never thank you enough for what you have given me during this time and no matter where I go in the world, for the rest of my life, I will always cherish Liverpool in my heart. You, the club and the city will always be a part of me.

"You'll Never Walk Alone."

Coutinho will have to wait around three weeks to make his debut after sustaining a thigh injury and he will not be able to play in the Champions League this season having already played for Liverpool in the current campaign.

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How should Reds use Coutinho money?

Tue, 09/01/2018 - 02:08

Last Updated: 08/01/18 11:18pm

Henry Winter, Danny Murphy and Christian Purslow discuss how Liverpool should reinvest the £146m gained from Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona Henry Winter, Danny Murphy and Christian Purslow discuss how Liverpool should reinvest the £146m gained from Philippe Coutinho’s move to Barcelona

Alexis Sanchez, Marco Verratti and Jan Oblak were three such players mentioned on The Debate when Liverpool's reinvestment of the Philippe Coutinho money was discussed.

Coutinho completed his £146m move to Barcelona on Monday, putting pen to paper on a five-and-a-half-year deal at the Nou Camp after months of speculation.

The focus on The Debate turned to how Liverpool should spend the £146m windfall, with former Reds midfielder Danny Murphy stressing the importance of signing a goalkeeper to replace Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius.

Murphy also suggested that Liverpool should go in for Arsenal forward Sanchez, who sees his contract run out at the Emirates this summer.

Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side

"Are Liverpool trying to win the league? Or are they trying to slowly but surely grow and become a consistent top-four club? I don't know the answer to that, but you must have a spine of quality - at the moment they've got one," Murphy said.

"I'm putting it out there, I don't know if he'd go because I've got no inside information, but if you've got that much money, and you don't want to spend fortunes on £50m, £60m, £70m players, just go and give Sanchez whatever he wants, say, 'Come and be our leader'."

Murphy added that Liverpool should also pursue a central midfielder, even with Naby Keita set to join from RB Leipzig in the summer.

However, The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter said that the presence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who signed for £40m from Arsenal in August, means Jurgen Klopp could see no need to strengthen his central midfield.

"When Oxlade-Chamberlain moved, I wonder whether Klopp saw him as a central midfielder," Winter said.

Henry Winter says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could quell Liverpool's need for a central midfielderHenry Winter says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could quell Liverpool's need for a central midfielder Henry Winter says Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could quell Liverpool's need for a central midfielder

"Klopp has suggested he can play there, and I think he can do that. He has that energy, and though he is not in the (Steven) Gerrard or (Graeme) Souness league, we have seen signs of his development under Klopp, and I can see him maybe having a chance to play in that central midfield role so they wouldn't necessarily have to go and spend the money outside."

For the former managing director of Liverpool, Christian Purslow, the answer was simple.

"Go and buy Marco Verratti from PSG," said Purslow, who stressed Liverpool's need to buy players capable of winning them the league.

"Who has won the league in the last two years? Leicester and Chelsea. What was the common denominator? N'Golo Kante. Would he have made Liverpool better? Indisputably. He is a world-class player, I just think Liverpool have to aim high. I don't want fine, I want brilliant, because they just sold brilliant. 'Fine' gets you fourth, fifth, sixth."

'Go and buy Marco Verratti' was the suggestion of former Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow'Go and buy Marco Verratti' was the suggestion of former Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow 'Go and buy Marco Verratti' was the suggestion of former Liverpool managing director, Christian Purslow

The Debate panel also discussed Liverpool's need for a goalkeeper, and though Winter highlighted the "outstanding" Jan Oblak at Atletico Madrid, he added that the top-class shot-stoppers are tough to acquire.

"Oblak is an outstanding goalkeeper," Winter said. "You look at some of the major goalkeepers and they look pretty settled at their clubs, which makes it pretty difficult. Maybe there are one or two young goalkeepers that Klopp has been having a look at."

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Coutinho: Liverpool did all they could

Mon, 08/01/2018 - 18:50

Last Updated: 08/01/18 11:32pm

Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side

Philippe Coutinho confirmed Liverpool did everything in their power to keep him at Anfield, but says his move to Barcelona is a "dream come true".

The Brazil international signed a five-and-a-half-year deal with Barcelona on Monday after completing his £146m move from Liverpool.

Liverpool rejected repeated bids from Barcelona in August for Coutinho, but the clubs reached an agreement this weekend.

With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt. With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt.

"I just want to thank the club for its patience and its effort," Coutinho said. "I'm very happy, this is a dream come true for me and I hope to live up to the expectations."

Coutinho is also grateful to Liverpool for allowing him to realise his dream of playing for Barca.

"They understood that it was what I wanted," Coutinho said. "They did all they could to try to keep me, but in the end they understood that it was my dream, and the dream of my family, to come here.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

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"I just would like to thank all the fans, all the staff and all the players for the years I lived there.

"For sure, I gave everything I could. Unfortunately we could not win but I lived [in Liverpool] for five years and my family was very happy there. So I just would like to thank them and wish them all the best."

Guillem Balague discusses Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona, Real Madrid's pursuit of a new striker and a potential move for Athletic's goalkeeper Kepa Guillem Balague discusses Philippe Coutinho's move to Barcelona, Real Madrid's pursuit of a new striker and a potential move for Athletic's goalkeeper Kepa

Coutinho cannot play for Barcelona in the Champions League for the rest of the season because he has already played for Liverpool in the competition this campaign, and will have to wait around three weeks to make his debut after sustaining a thigh injury.

"I won't be able to play some matches now, but it's a five-year contract, so I'll have plenty of time to help the club in the future," he said. "Sometimes you don't get another opportunity like this, to join Barcelona, so I didn't think twice."

The move to Catalonia will see Coutinho reunite with former Liverpool team-mate Luis Suarez and he revealed the Uruguayan helped convince him to leave Anfield for Barcelona.

Philippe Coutinho will not be able to play for three weeks due to a thigh injury, but the new Barcelona recruit managed a few keepy-uppies for his watching fans Philippe Coutinho will not be able to play for three weeks due to a thigh injury, but the new Barcelona recruit managed a few keepy-uppies for his watching fans

"We almost won the Premier League together at Liverpool, it was a great time," Coutinho said.

"We are good friends and he wrote me a lot of messages telling me about the city and the club. It just made me want to come here even more."

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Barcelona has now reinvested the £198m (€222m) windfall it received from PSG following Neymar's transfer after also buying Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund in the summer.

Coutinho will be the latest in a long line of Brazilians to light up the Nou Camp but he is keen to avoid comparisons with his predecessors.

When asked about Neymar, Coutinho said: "He is a great player, but we have different characteristics. I'm here to try to gain my space in the team."

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Coutinho seals £146m Barca move

Mon, 08/01/2018 - 15:10
By James Dale

Last Updated: 08/01/18 8:15pm

Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side. Sky Sports News reflects on a busy day's activity in Barcelona as Philippe Coutinho completed his protracted big-money move from Liverpool to the Catalan side.

Philippe Coutinho has completed his move from Liverpool to Barcelona for a fee understood to be £146m.

The Brazil international underwent a two-part medical early on Monday, which revealed he had a thigh injury which will delay his debut by three weeks.

Coutinho then headed to the Nou Camp where he joined Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu to sign a contract until summer 2023.

The 25-year-old's Barcelona contract includes a 400m Euros (£354.6m) buyout clause.

Sky Sports News understands Inter Milan did not have a significant sell-on clause in the deal that saw Coutinho move to Liverpool for £8.5m in 2013.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk podcast

Listen to the latest Transfer Talk podcast

Coutinho said: "I want to thank the president and all those who have made possible the signing.

"I am very happy, it is a dream come true and I hope to meet all expectations in the field."

How Liverpool spent Suarez money

As Liverpool prepare to reinvest the money received for Philippe Coutinho, we look back at how they spent Luis Suarez's transfer fee.

Coutinho was the subject of three failed bids from Barcelona in the summer, the largest of which was worth £113m, and he handed in a transfer request in an attempt to force a move but was unsuccessful.

Bartomeu said: "We've been working for months on this. But one of the important aspects was that he [Coutinho] wanted to come here. He made an effort, he was patient and that was a determining factor in bringing him here.

Philippe Coutinho has thanked Liverpool for his time at the club, and regrets they did not win trophies. Philippe Coutinho has thanked Liverpool for his time at the club, and regrets they did not win trophies.

"Everybody knows him as a player, we know about his professional career, but what I can say is that it wasn't easy to bring him here. He wanted to be here and he's part of this new project with [Ernesto] Valverde.

"I want to thank Liverpool, one of Europe's biggest clubs, for allowing him to leave."

Coutinho has already played for Liverpool in this season's Champions League, and will therefore be ineligible to play for Barcelona in the competition during the current campaign.

Sky Sports takes a look back at some of Coutinho's best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt Sky Sports takes a look back at some of Coutinho's best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt

Liverpool, meanwhile, will not be able to move Naby Keita's transfer from RB Leipzig forward, according to Sky in Germany.

The transfer has already been agreed for the summer at 75m euros (£66.4m) but the club are not willing to let him go in January, even for an improved fee.

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Merseyside Police probe racist tweets

Mon, 08/01/2018 - 01:40

Last Updated: 07/01/18 10:38pm

Liverpool and Everton are working with Merseyside Police after reports of racist tweets following Friday's FA Cup matchLiverpool and Everton are working with Merseyside Police after reports of racist tweets following Friday's FA Cup match Liverpool and Everton are working with Merseyside Police after reports of racist tweets following Friday's FA Cup match

Merseyside Police are investigating racist comments posted on social media following the incident between Liverpool's Roberto Firmino and Everton's Mason Holgate in Friday’s FA Cup tie.

The pair were involved in a heated exchange when Firmino reacted to being pushed into the stands by Holgate, and the two players had to be forcibly separated by referee Bobby Madley and their team-mates.

The Football Association confirmed on Saturday it will make enquiries into an allegation made to Madley that arose from the incident between the players.

Merseyside Police confirmed on their official Twitter account on Sunday that they are investigating racist comments made on social media on the day of the match and they are liaising with the two clubs.

Referee Robert Madley intervenes as Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino clashReferee Robert Madley intervenes as Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino clash Referee Robert Madley intervenes as Mason Holgate and Roberto Firmino clash

"We can confirm we are aware of racist comments posted by a number of individuals on Twitter on January 5, 2018, and will be investigating this," Merseyside Police said.

Deputy chief constable Carl Foulkes added: "We are working with Liverpool FC and Everton FC and hate crime will not be tolerated."

Sky sources understand that Madley will have included the flashpoint between Firmino and Holgate in his match report to the FA and Liverpool have said they will assist in any way they can should further investigation be required.

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'Coutinho bought to replace Iniesta'

Sun, 07/01/2018 - 14:30
Guillem Balague

Spanish Football Expert & Columnist @GuillemBalague

Last Updated: 07/01/18 3:06pm

Barcelona are hoping to develop Philippe Coutinho into Andres Iniesta's long-term successor, according to Guillem Balague Barcelona are hoping to develop Philippe Coutinho into Andres Iniesta's long-term successor, according to Guillem Balague

Barcelona view Philippe Coutinho as a potential long-term replacement for Andres Iniesta but will play the midfielder further forward while he adapts to La Liga, according to Guillem Balague.

Coutinho is close to completing a January move to Barcelona after the Catalan giants agreed a £146m deal with Liverpool for the Brazil international on Saturday.

The 25-year-old is set to sign a five-and-a-half-year contract at the Nou Camp and Balague believes Coutinho has been brought to the club to replace Iniesta, 33, who has been linked with a move to the Chinese Super League at the end of the current campaign.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk Podcast

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"Iniesta is getting old. It has been suggested that this is his last season at Barcelona with huge offers on the table from China," said Balague.

"Barcelona need that type of quality in midfield. Coutinho is not Iniesta yet, in fact they seem him as more of a forward at the moment, but he can develop the skills needed.

The latest on Philippe Coutinho's £146m move from Liverpool to Barcelona The latest on Philippe Coutinho's £146m move from Liverpool to Barcelona

"At the beginning Coutinho won't have many defensive obligations without the ball but he'll have to learn those because they see him, in the medium term, as a midfielder.

"They think that for him to do so, he will have to understand the positional game of Barcelona, to do a bigger shift without the ball.

"At the moment what they need straight away is a replacement for Neymar, which they did not get [in the summer]."

Coutinho is set to become the second most expensive player in historyCoutinho is set to become the second most expensive player in history Coutinho is set to become the second most expensive player in history

Balague believes the transfer, the second biggest in history behind Neymar's summer move to PSG, will be completed on Monday.

"They are preparing everything for tomorrow. The medical will be passed tomorrow, then there will be a presentation at the Nou Camp," he said.

"Barcelona will have to explain why in the summer they were saying 'If we have to spend 150 million on players, well we will have to all just go home and resign'.

Why Shaun Custis thinks Liverpool have sacrificed their chances of winning the Champions League this season Why Shaun Custis thinks Liverpool have sacrificed their chances of winning the Champions League this season

"Well they've done that now, 145 million euros on [Ousmane] Dembele in the summer and now 160 [million euros on Coutinho], so they know the difficulties of maintain the level of expenditure that the likes of PSG and Manchester City are doing.

"It is very difficult for Barcelona to keep it up, but to do so they need the likes of Coutinho to arrive."

With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt With Philippe Coutinho heading for Barcelona, we take a look back at some of his best Premier League goals in a Liverpool shirt

Sky sources understand Liverpool are not interested in signing either Riyad Mahrez or Thomas Lemar in January and Balague believes the Reds will look to wait until the summer before they enter the transfer market.

"What we are hearing is that they have no intention of signing either Lemar of Mahrez. They are not after either of them," said Balague.

Phil Thompson questions what Philippe Coutinho will gain from moving to Barcelona in January Phil Thompson questions what Philippe Coutinho will gain from moving to Barcelona in January

"They seem to have identified that Liverpool are strong enough at the moment, as they are.

"If you look the percentage of victories without Coutinho is actually higher than with Coutinho, so they think that squad is strong enough this season for the targets which is of course top four and to do very well in Europe.

"If you have all this money coming in and then go to the market, you go as a weak buyer - you will get quoted figures that are not the right ones, perhaps they are keeping the money for the summer."

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Liverpool not in for Lemar in January

Sun, 07/01/2018 - 13:00
By Sky Sports News

Last Updated: 07/01/18 4:09pm

Thomas Lemar will not be replacing Philippe Coutinho in JanuaryThomas Lemar will not be replacing Philippe Coutinho in January Thomas Lemar will not be replacing Philippe Coutinho in January

Liverpool's decision to allow Philippe Coutinho to join Barcelona will not bring forward any possible move for Thomas Lemar, Sky Sports News understands.

The Monaco forward has regularly been linked with a move to the Premier League, with rivals Arsenal also understood to have strong interest in the 22-year-old.

LISTEN: Transfer Talk Podcast

Listen as the Transfer Talk Podcast discuss Ross Barkley's move to Chelsea and Philippe Coutinho's Barcelona switch.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger denied making a January move for Lemar as recently as last week.

Monaco have always been steadfast in their desire to keep hold of Lemar, at least in January, with their vice-president Vadim Vasilyev telling Sky Sports News as far back as October that no deal would be done at least until the next summer window.

"January, in football, never say never, but this is not what we're thinking of, this is really not in our plans," Vasilyev told Sky Sports News chief news reporter Bryan Swanson.

The latest on Philippe Coutinho's £146m move from Liverpool to Barcelona The latest on Philippe Coutinho's £146m move from Liverpool to Barcelona

"Definitely next summer will be something to look at, although you know in football there are no guarantees. We had some players who were supposed to leave this summer but didn't leave because of X, Y, Z. I think it would be fair to say Thomas will have a fair chance to an exit next year."

That line was reiterated by Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim on Friday when he said the club was "not in the habit of making big sales in the winter."

Naby Keita will arrive at Anfield in the summer but no earlierNaby Keita will arrive at Anfield in the summer but no earlier Naby Keita will arrive at Anfield in the summer but no earlier

Sky Sports News also understands Sporting Lisbon winger Gelson Martins is not being lined up as a January replacement for Coutinho after reports in Portugal linking him with a move to Anfield.

Leicester winger Riyad Mahrez is also not a target for Jurgen Klopp, while the Coutinho transfer will make no difference to Liverpool's deal to sign Naby Keita.

RB Leipzig agreed to sell the midfielder to Liverpool in August but the Bundesliga club's stance remains firm that the deal will not be brought forward and Keita will not make his move to England until the summer.

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Liverpool not interested in Mahrez

Sun, 07/01/2018 - 02:30
By Rob Dorsett

Last Updated: 06/01/18 11:38pm

Liverpool have no interest in signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City, according to Sky sourcesLiverpool have no interest in signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City, according to Sky sources Liverpool have no interest in signing Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City, according to Sky sources

Liverpool are not interested in signing Riyad Mahrez as a replacement for Philippe Coutinho, according to Sky sources.

Reports had previously suggested that the Algerian winger was close to joining Liverpool in a deal worth around £50m after the Reds agreed to sell Coutinho to Barcelona on Saturday.

However, Sky sources understand there has been no contact between Liverpool and Mahrez's club Leicester City.

Although Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is in the market for a creative forward, similar to Coutinho, he is not now expected to swoop for Mahrez who was a key figure when the Foxes shocked the football world in 2016 by winning the Premier League.

Philippe Coutinho is leaving Liverpool for BarcelonaPhilippe Coutinho is leaving Liverpool for Barcelona Philippe Coutinho is leaving Liverpool for Barcelona

It is also believed that Leicester would want much more than £50m for their player.

The Anfield club have already spent £75m in signing defender Virgil van Dijk from Southampton.

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