Archive for the ‘News’Category

Klopp: Liverpool must make Coutinho and Can want to stay

Jurgen Klopp hopes Liverpool can do enough to keep Philippe Coutinho, but insisted whether there was already an agreement in place for the attacker was unimportant.

Coutinho, 25, was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona in the off-season despite being contracted until 2022.

The Brazil international ended up staying at Anfield, with suggestions the star attacker would make the move at the end of the campaign.

However, Klopp said he was unsure, adding that it was insignificant so early in the season.

“I’ve no clue. We will see. We don’t talk about things like this. Can you imagine what it would be like if I said ‘yes we have an agreement’?” he said, via The Telegraph.

“In this moment, the 100 per cent truth is that nobody thinks about this. We don’t talk about it, why should we?

“In both cases it would not make sense – no, there is no agreement, yes, there is an agreement. It is not important in the moment.

“We have other moments when we have to talk about these things but not in October.”

Another player Liverpool may lose at season’s end is Emre Can, with the midfielder coming out of contract.

Klopp said it was up to his club to ensure the likes of Coutinho and Can wanted to stay.

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Coutinho 23/10 Anytime goalscorer v Spurs

“What I can say, in general as a club, and how I understand it, we have to still create a situation where players want to be part of it with all they have,” he said.

“In this moment, we have this. Nobody thinks about January, nobody thinks about June or July.”

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10 2017

Coutinho move to Barcelona unlikely in January

Barcelona are unlikely to sign Philippe Coutinho in the January transfer window, despite claims by the Catalans’ chief executive that a deal could be done, Goal understands.

Coutinho 12/5 to score v Spurs

The Blaugrana bid for Coutinho three times last summer, but all three offers (the last of which was for around €130 million) were turned down by the Reds, with club owners Fenway Sports Group having insisted their player is not for sale.

Coutinho was keen on a move to Barca and was led to believe that is was a case of now or never as the Catalan club sought to replace Neymar with both he and Ousmane Dembele, who did arrive at Camp Nou from Borussia Dortmund for an initial €105m.

“We are ready to buy Coutinho in the winter market, or any player the technical staff request,” Barca chief executive Oscar Grau said last week. 

Coutinho stats

“But it is important to adjust ourselves, so if there are to be arrivals, there must be exits as well. We must forget about the price paid for Neymar last summer. After taxes we received about €188m in income and a direct financial impact on the club’s treasury of €144m.”

Barca will look to offload Arda Turan and probably Paco Alcacer as well, although the Catalans are unlikely to receive big fees for either player. Andre Gomes is also attracting interest, but he has had opportunities under coach Ernesto Valverde and may yet stay.

“I don’t think Coutinho should leave, but I think he will go to Barcelona,” former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey said this week. “Any player in the Premier League can change their mind when they know Barcelona or Real Madrid want them. When those clubs show interest, players begin to make movements to leave.”

And ex-Liverpool defender Dominic Matteo said: “He seems to be a level ahead of even the [Roberto] Firmino’s and the [Sadio] Mane’s, he is one of those players that could easily go into a Barcelona or a Real Madrid as he is that clever and he has got such a good football brain, something that us ex-footballers dreamed of having, he is one step ahead.”

Philippe Coutinho Gini Wijnaldum Liverpool

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

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Coutinho was seen by Barca as a player who could feature in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, or alternatively in a midfield role to provide cover and give rest to Andres Iniesta.

However, the Spain midfielder has just signed a new “lifetime” contract at Barca and has already played 10 games for the Catalan club in 2017-18, as well as featuring for the national team.

Liverpool’s tough stance and Barca’s need to raise cash for the transfer means a lot would need to happen for Coutinho to leave Anfield in the winter anyway, and a more likely option now is for the two teams to agree on a deal for the next summer window.

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10 2017

Fantasy Football: Salah and Dzeko lead the Goal Champions League Team of the Week

Round three of Champions League action is in the books and now everyone has played every team in their group once. Liverpool were this week’s big winners with their dominant 7-0 win against Maribor, a performance which placed four of their players in our Goal Team of the Week. You should definitely consider adding as many Liverpool players to your team as possible with the reverse match at Anfield coming up next.

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GK: Alphonse Areola – PSG – 1 Game, 6 Saves, 1 Clean Sheet = 10 Points

DF: Taulant Xhaka – Basel – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 1 Clean Sheet = 17 Points

Typically Taulant is the lesser known of the Xhaka brothers but, as the only one in the Champions League, is the only important one for this format. He contributed towards both of Basel’s goals in their 2-0 win against CSKA moving them up into second in Group A. Xhaka is not top five in either goals or assists in the Swiss Super League so this is likely just a one off, but what a one off it was!

DF: Mats Hummels – Bayern Munich – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points

DF: Trent Alexander-Arnold – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goal, 1 Clean Sheet = 14 Points

Mohamed Salah

MF: Mohamed Salah – Liverpool – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 17 Points

Salah is having a ridiculous season both domestically and in Europe, sitting in a top three spot in both for goals by midfielders. This performance obviously came against a lesser opponent but they will turn around and do it again in their next Champions League match as well, so the Egypt international should be considered a wise investment.

MF: Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool – 1 Game, 1 Goals, 2 Assists = 14 Points

MF: Eden Hazard – Chelsea – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points

MF: Bernard – Shakhtar Donetsk – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 14 Points

Once a highly sought after prospect, Bernard has been quietly working away out in Ukraine for the past few seasons. He had the highest key passes rate (per 90 mins) in his domestic league last season and should, in theory, be picking up more assists in both competitions. The next match against Feyenoord should be a great chance for Bernard to show what he can do as the Dutch side sit last in Group F conceding an average of three goals per match.

Quincy Promes Spartak Moscow

FWD: Quincy Promes – Spartak Moscow – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 2 Assists = 18 Points

FWD: Roberto Firmino – Liverpool – 1 Game, 2 Goals, 1 Assist = 15 Points

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FWD: Edin Dzeko – Roma – 1 Game, 2 Goals = 12 Points

The former Manchester City man had a terrific season last year for Roma, leading Serie A in goals with 29. He’s continued that form into this campaign sitting top five in Italy, and has now scored three times in his last two Champions League matches. The two he netted against Chelsea were terrific and he’ll be hoping to repeat the feat against the reigning Premier League champions next time out.

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10 2017

‘Liverpool buy stars like Coutinho, not sell them’ – Lucas backs club stance against Barcelona

Liverpool’s blocking of Barcelona’s advances in a protracted Philippe Coutinho chase came as no surprise to former Reds star Lucas Leiva.

Those at Anfield spent much of the summer knocking back offers from Camp Nou for their Brazilian playmaker.

Coutinho 23/10 to score v Man Utd

Having tied Coutinto to fresh terms in January, Liverpool refused to waver in their stance that the 25-year-old was going nowhere.

Lucas, who left Merseyside for Lazio during the last transfer window, believes the Reds were right to snub Barca as a club of their stature should be buying the world’s best talent, not selling it.

The 30-year-old midfielder, who spent 10 years at Anfield, told Goal: “Liverpool is not a seller, Liverpool is a buyer. That’s basically it. 

“There are companies that supply, there are companies that buy. Liverpool are not a team that sells their stars easily. 

“It’s obvious that every club ends up selling some great players, but at Liverpool that’s not so natural.”

While Liverpool stubbornly refused to part with Coutinho, they were prepared to let Lucas head for Italy.

Lucas Leiva Liverpool buyer not seller

He departed having made 346 appearances for the club and admits that he received several other offers before taking the tough decision to open a new chapter in his career.

“I did not leave earlier because there was no agreement between the three parties involved, Liverpool, the club concerned and myself,” added a man with 24 caps for Brazil.

“I had opportunities to go to Turkey, others even to Italy, but my relationship with Liverpool was always very strong, so everything was always done by mutual agreement, there was never a fight or impasse.

“Now, with the possibility of Lazio, the conversation lasted only five minutes. It was my time to leave, it was good for everyone. Liverpool understood and realised that I deserved a new challenge.”

Lucas endured a testing opening to his time in England, but recovered to leave as a cult hero.

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On his standing at Anfield, the versatile star added: “I do not know if I am an idol, it’s very complicated. 

“If you talk to any fan of Liverpool, you will hear different opinions regarding Lucas the player, but Lucas the man will always be analysed in the same way, everyone will say that I gave my best for the shirt. The image left behind was very positive.”

Lucas has helped Lazio to make a positive start to the 2017-18 campaign, with the Rome-based club currently fourth in Serie A ahead of a return to domestic action on Saturday with a trip to defending champions Juventus.

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10 2017

Dean Saunders would pick Sadio Mane over Philippe Coutinho

Former Liverpool striker Dean Saunders has claimed that he would pick Sadio Mane over Philippe Coutinho if he had the choice to buy one of the two.

Coutinho was heavily linked with a big-money move to Barcelona in the summer, but the Reds reportedly turned down three bids, despite the player submitting a transfer request.

Barca chief executive Oscar Grau has claimed that the club are “ready” to move again for the Brazilian in the January transfer window, but Saunders has suggested that Mane is more valuable to Liverpool.

Sadio Mane and Phil Coutinho celebrate

The Senegal international has become a key player in Jurgen Klopp’s team since moving to Anfield from Southampton in 2016.

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“If you ask me who I want, Coutinho or Mane, I’d pick Mane, for whatever team,” Saunders told talkSPORT. “If you could only have one or the other [I’d take Mane].

“He’s that good and [his injury is] a massive blow for Liverpool because he’s the pace across the top of the pitch. He’s the man who runs in behind defences and he makes Liverpool a different proposition.”

Mane, who has scored 16 goals and created eight assists in the Premier League since his switch to Anfield, will be on the sidelines for six weeks due to a hamstring injury that he suffered on international duty at the weekend

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10 2017

‘Coutinho is a level above Liverpool’s other players’

Philippe Coutinho is a level above the rest of Liverpool’s squad, according to former Reds defender Dominic Matteo.

Having handed in a transfer request amid interest from Barcelona over the summer, Coutinho endured a slow start to the campaign.

But after scoring stunning goals against Leicester City and Newcaste, the Brazil international is hitting top form ahead of Saturday’s clash with rivals Manchester United.

And despite the performances of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah so far this campaign, Matteo feels Coutinho remains a step ahead of the rest.

“He seems to be a level ahead of even the [Roberto] Firmino’s and the Mane’s, he is one of those players that could easily go into a Barcelona or a Real Madrid as he is that clever and he has got such a good football brain, something that us ex-footballers dreamed of having, he is one step ahead.” he told betsafe.com.

“In the Newcastle game, even though we didn’t win, there were flashes in that, the great goal and some of the balls he was putting through.

“He is instrumental, he is that little bit of stardust that a lot of teams don’t have, he is a top draw player and hopefully he is winning the Liverpool fans back over with his goals and his performances and we can keep hold of him as he is our best player.”

With Mane having been ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury, Coutinho could be joined in the Liverpool starting XI by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the England midfielder in line to make his first Premier League start since arriving at Anfield.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

And Matteo believes Oxlade-Chamberlain must show his experience and take some responsibility if he is to establish himself in Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up.

“I think Oxlade-Chamberlain’s good enough, we’ve only seen bits and pieces of him so far. He needs a run of games, like certain players around the Liverpool set-up, they all need runs of games.

“He has got a lot of experience, he played a lot of games for Arsenal as a young player and I think he will be a good player for the squad, whether he will start for Liverpool I am not too sure. When we signed him I was thinking where was going to play?

“I think Jurgen Klopp is thinking that we have got the Champions League, which he wants to do well in. He (Klopp) wants to do well in the league as well and we have got the cups.

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“He is thinking that he is going to have to utilise his squad each week and I think that’s what he’s done, maybe a little too much but we have a decent sized squad.

“As a player, these are the games that you want to be starting and if he does start on the weekend this is the game he needs to stand up and be counted. To show Liverpool fans that he is here and he means business.”

Read the full betsafe.com interview with Dominic Matteo & Gary Pallister, including why pressure is building on Klopp is under pressure at Anfield.

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10 2017

VIDEO: Neymar & Coutinho v Dani Alves & Gabriel Jesus: Ultimate Brazil foot tennis

Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Dani Alves and Gabriel Jesus have taken in a spot of foot tennis while away on international duty with Brazil.

Star turns from Ligue 1 and the Premier League decided to take a break from training to showcase their skills on a Teqball table.

Brazilian legend Ronaldinho helped to launch the sport back in 2016, with his fellow countrymen clearly fans.

With squad pride on the line as the current Selecao squad bring the curtain down on their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar teamed up with Liverpool playmaker Coutinho to battle with club colleague Alves and Manchester City striker Jesus.

On this occasion, Coutinho let his side down as he conceded a point by dropping a shot beyond the edge of the table.

All four men on show, though, will be hoping to make a telling contribution on Wednesday when Brazil take on Chile.

Brazil 3/4 v Chile

Tite’s side are already assured of their place at next summer’s showpiece in Russia, as they are to progress as table-toppers in the CONMEBOL section.

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10 2017

Ronaldo, Messi and Coutinho make the cut, but no Liverpool defenders in Can’s Ultimate XI

Emre Can has found spots for Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Philippe Coutinho in his Ultimate XI, but no Liverpool defenders make the cut.

The Germany international has pieced together a side made up of team-mates past and present, as well as a couple of star turns he has faced to lead the line.

Liverpool 19/20 to score first v Man Utd

The 23-year-old has been fortunate to play alongside and against some of the finest players in the business over the course of his career.

Having graduated out of the academy ranks at Bayern Munich, Can worked with some of the top talent in his homeland.

He moved to Anfield in 2014, while making his debut for World Cup champions Germany in September 2015.

Emre Can Liverpool Ultimate XI

With Liverpool enduring their share of defensive struggles this season, Can finds no space for any of those within Jurgen Klopp’s ranks within his back four.

He leans heavily on those at Bayern to keep the back door bolted, with Manuel Neuer considered to be the “best in the world” between the sticks.

Philipp Lahm, Jerome Boateng, David Alaba also represent the German champions, alongside Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos.

Bayern pair Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben provide considerable threat from the flanks, with two experienced wingers “so difficult to defend”.

In the middle of the park, Can has current colleague Philippe Coutinho, telling Liverpool’s YouTube channel of the Brazilian: “I have never seen a talented player like him. Everything on the ball is just amazing. It’s very difficult to play against him – he can score goals, is a very good shooter and can do everything with the ball.”

Philippe Coutinho Liverpool

Coutinho is paired with Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, a figure Can holds in the highest regard.

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He added on the ex-England international: “We don’t need to say too much about him, everybody knows how good he was. I was a lucky guy to share the same pitch as him. Off the pitch, he was the leader and he helped me a lot when I came to Liverpool.”

Unsurprisingly, Can then has eternal rivals Ronaldo and Messi leading the line, with the Real Madrid and Barcelona superstars considered to be “unbelievable talents”.

Can said of the duo: “I have played against them. They are different to other players because of how many goals there score. They break records and are unbelievable. My generation is very happy to be around at the same time as them.”

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10 2017

Willian or Coutinho – or both? Time running for Brazil boss Tite to make final tweaks

The Selecao go into October’s qualifiers with just two more squads to be selected – and with plenty of fine-tuning to be done ahead of Russia 2018

With just two more chances to summon squads ahead announcing his final group for World Cup 2018, Brazil coach Tite has little room left for error.

This month’s qualifiers against Bolivia and Chile will be the final competitive matches in which he can assess the group hoping to seal the Selecao’s sixth world title.

After racing to nine wins and a draw in his 10 competitive tests on the job, and sealing qualification for Russia with four games to spare, time is now the biggest obstacle facing Tite.


READ MORE: 
Casemiro to captain Brazil | Brazil to meet Japan on BGT | Arthur: Brazil’s new plan B


And he still has some big decisions to make.

One of them is to choose between Willian and Philippe Coutinho. Since Tite’s arrival, Liverpool star Coutinho is the only player to work his way into the coach’s starting XI. Chelsea’s Willian, however, is fighting desperately to regain his place and impressed last month after Coutinho joined the squad short of match practice.

Tite is also trialing ways in which to field them both, dropping Coutinho from wide right to a deep role in the centre of midfield, where he has operated with some success for his club.

Willian Philippe Coutinho Brazil Haiti Copa Ameria 06092016

The experiment didn’t quite go to plan when the Brasil Global Tour hit Melbourne in June, but there were more encouraging signs last month when Coutinho impressed in the role against Ecuador, if not in the follow-up versus Colombia.

Given that there is still no clear reserve for first-choice creative hub Renato Augusto, fielding both Coutinho and Willian currently appears to be little more than an alternative to his preferred system. It may be something he utilises against weaker teams, but the lack of defensive strength offered by Coutinho makes it unlikely scenario against some of world football’s big hitters in Russia.

Indeed, the biggest questions facing the coach are all alternates, with seemingly only reserve places up for grabs in his squad. A deputy to Dani Alves is yet to be identified, meaning Tite will be keen to get a close look at Danilo this month after the Manchester City full-back joined the squad for the first time under the current boss.

GettyImages-836770380 danilo

He is back in form since finding an escape route from Real Madrid this past summer, and his versatility may yet be crucial in earning a place in TIte’s final 23. 

Diego Tardelli will also be out to impress in October. Finding a like-for-like backup to No.9 Gabriel Jesus is still high on Tite’s priority list, with reserve forward Roberto Firmino offering a very different type of central striker.

Pacey, China-based Tardelli impressed under former coach Dunga before being cast aside following his switch to Asian football.

Tardelli Paulinho I Brasil I 02 10 17

The mental strength of his squad overall is something else Tite will be keen assess this month, particularly how they react to the altitude of La Paz, and their ability to avoid cards in their final match with Chile so as not to pick up any suspensions for the World Cup.

The Selecao host Chile in Sao Paulo and that too will be a keen barometer by which the coach can analyse his players emotional state, with a part atmosphere set for a match that could yet decide whether or not great rivals Argentina join them in Russia.

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10 2017

Wijnaldum: Liverpool stars would’ve been happy for Coutinho to get dream Barca move

Liverpool’s players were torn over the Philippe Coutinho summer transfer saga, Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted.

The Brazilian forward made no secret of his desire to head to Barcelona once interest was shown, with the 25-year-old going as far as handing in a transfer request.

Sturridge 7/2 FGS with dabblebet

He was, however, to be blocked from leaving Anfield, with Liverpool snubbing several big-money offers.

“On one side we would have been happy for him if he could have gone as he really wanted to make the move, but on the other side as team-mates you want him to stay because you know with Phil because we’ll be better, the Netherlands international told the Liverpool Echo.

“There were two thoughts in your head. You can see it from both sides. Someone was going to be disappointed at the end of the transfer window and it was Phil.”

Wijnaldum concedes it was a tricky time for everyone involved, with the Reds wanting the best for a top talent but also eager to ensure that he was not allowed to slip the net.

“It was difficult,” he said. “Phil is a really good person and we understood why he wanted to make the move.

“He’s someone who has always given everything for Liverpool. He has done a great job fighting for Liverpool.”

Georginio Wijnaldum Phillpe Coutinho difficult

Having been forced to stay put, Coutinho has set about putting his Barca disappointment to the back of his mind.

He was eased back into the Reds fold by Jurgen Klopp and has slowly recaptured his confidence and form.

Two goals have been netted in his last two outings, against Leicester and Spartak Moscow, with Wijnaldum quick to highlight the value of his match-winning qualities.

He added: “He’s an important player who can win games for us and make the team better.

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“It was normal that the club tried so hard to keep him.

“You never know what will happen in the future. But Phil is a good person and no matter how long he’s here, I know he will always give everything for Liverpool. We’re so happy that he stayed.”

While Barca could rekindle their interest in January, for now, the focus for Liverpool and Coutinho is a Premier League clash with Newcastle on Sunday, which sees them reunited with former boss Rafa Benitez.

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