Barcelona plan to meet Coutinho agent


Barcelona are planning a meeting with the agent of Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho.

That’s the latest news coming out of Spain, with Mundo Deportivo claiming that the Spanish giants remain determined to broker a deal for the Brazil international.

Liverpool rejected three bids for the twenty-five year old in the Summer and insisted that he was not for sale and refused to enter any negotiations over an exit.

Coutinho handed in a transfer request in order to try and force through a move to the Camp Nou, but the club stood firm and told him that he would not be able to make an exit.

Barcelona have continued to pursue the former Inter Milan player since the transfer window closed and are expected to try and sign him in the new year when the transfer window opens.

Liverpool are likely to again reject any approach for the player most consider to be the best in Jurgen Klopp’s squad – especially if the team remain involved in the Champions League at that point.

Coutinho is likely to push for the move again next Summer after being denied the chance to make a childhood dream come true, but his attitude since returning to the squad cannot be questioned.

It doesn’t appear that will stop Barcelona from pursuing him through the media and his agents.

Hargreaves backs Klopp to reject Bayern


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will resist any approach from Bayern Munich, according to Owen Hargreaves.

The ex-England international spent part of his playing career with the German giants and knows them well thanks to the time spent he was with them.

And he has backed former Borussia Dortmund boss Klopp to spurn any offers from the Bundesliga champions to quit Anfield and take over the reigns at the Allianz Arena.

“That was a conversation point back when, Klopp and Bayern Munich.” he told The Express.

“I just look at Klopp and Liverpool and the fan base – they’re a match made it heaven. They really are.

“He’s built something, it’s growing there. It takes time as it took time with Dortmund.”

“The thing is the Premier League is so much more competitive than the Bundesliga. Liverpool attacking wise are up there with anyone,” he said.

“But with Klopp give him time and with money he can try to address these problems.

“With Van Dijk and Keita this summer, he knows as well. I hope they stay together.

“It’s a special relationship there and they seem to suit each other.” he finished.

Bayern have appointed former manager Jupp Heynckes as a caretaker until the end of the season.

Milner won’t be sold in January


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp does not plan to let James Milner leave the club in January.

That’s according to an article in the Telegraph by Chris Bascombe, who says that the former England international remains part of Klopp’s plans for the remainder of the campaign.

Milner has been handed just two starts in the Premier League so far this season and looks likely to be returned to the bench for the trip to face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley this weekend.

The ex-Manchester City man arrived at Anfield on a free transfer in the Summer of 2015 when his contract expired at The Etihad and he was a regular in his first two seasons.

But the vice-captain has struggled to get as much game time so far this campaign and could decide to assess his options when the transfer window opens in the new year.

There was plenty of interest in the thirty-one year old during the Summer transfer window with other Premier League sides looking to encourage him to call it quits at Anfield.

2015/16 champions Leicester City were very keen to persuade Milner to push for a move away from Liverpool after he spent last season covering the left-back spot in Klopp’s side.

Milner reportedly asked not to be considered for that position this season and has found himself used mainly as a utility man off the bench over the past couple of months.

Spaniard Alberto Moreno has been reinstated to the starting XI after it seemed that the former Sevilla man was certain to be sold in the Summer and he faces competition from Andrew Robertson, who arrived from relegated Hull City.

Milner played a key role in the 7-0 victory over Maribor in the Champions League this week and will be hoping he has done enough to convince Klopp to keep him in the side to face Spurs.

It does look likely that he will be allowed to move on at the end of the season, however, as he is on high wages for a peripheral player. Naby Keita will arrive from RB Leipzig also, which will push Milner further down the pecking order.

Kewell backs Houllier decision


Former Liverpool winger Harry Kewell has claimed that Gerard Houllier was right to call off a move for Cristiano Ronaldo in order to sign him instead.

The Australian moved to Anfield from Leeds United in the Summer of 2003 after Houllier opted against the Portugal international due to his high wage demands.

And Kewell has backed his former boss and stated his belief that the Frenchman made the right call in signing him rather than the Real Madrid superstar.

“I mean back when I signed for Liverpool, I think I was the number one person to go round in that year.” he told AS Diario.

“I think he made the right decision.

“In hindsight yes, you could turn around and say a lot of things, there’s a lot of great players that have gone elsewhere that have never been signed.

“I think recently the biggest one was Raul. He got let go by Atletico Madrid and then look where he went to.” he finished.

It’s unlikely that many Liverpool supporters will agree with Kewell, despite him going on to be a part of the 2005 Champions League winning squad.

Houllier recently spoke about his decision not to pursue a deal to bring Ronaldo in from Sporting Lisbon that Summer.

“I saw him in the Toulon Under-21 tournament and we went for him,” he told the Echo.

“But we had a wage scale and we weren’t paying the sort of salary he wanted.

“Then Manchester United played a friendly against Sporting Lisbon and all their boys said to Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘You have to sign him’.

“Maybe we would have won the title with Ronaldo, but we had Harry Kewell, who was outstanding at the time and was very hungry but got a bad injury.” he finished.

Mane set for early return?


Liverpool winger Sadio Mane could be set to make an early return from injury.

The Senegal international was ruled out after picking up a hamstring issue during the last international break recently – but he could be on the verge of a surprise comeback sooner than expected.

His national manager, former Birmingham City midfielder Aliou Cisse, has called the ex-Southampton attacker up to his squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against South Africa – and he is convinced that Mane will be ready to play.

“In my mind there’s no doubt he will be with us for the double header against South Africa and that he will be 100% fit.” he said.

“Until now, he has just been doing some individual training – running in straight lines – but from next week, he is going to train harder and start working with the ball.” he added.

This may well come as news to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp – who is unable to prevent Mane from traveling to be part of his national squad if he deems himself fit enough.

Previous reports have claimed that Mane would be missing for six weeks and would be absent for as many as nine fixtures for the club.

Barcelona plot Woodburn move


Barcelona are planning to make a move to sign Liverpool youngster Ben Woodburn.

That’s the latest claim being made by the Spanish media as newspaper Don Balon report that the Catalan giants are looking to take the teenager to the Camp Nou next year.

The Wales international has been linked several times with a switch to Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid and it now seems that the Camp Nou club have set their sights on luring him away from Anfield.

Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has been a long-term target for the La Liga leaders and it now appears that they are looking to snap up another member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

Woodburn has been used sparingly by the German boss as he develops the teenager into a first-team player and it is highly unlikely that the former Borussia Dortmund manager would entertain the idea of letting him move on.

The report claims that Barcelona have made contact with Woodburn’s representatives in order to try and move ahead of rivals Real Madrid in the race to lure him away from Anfield.

Liverpool will treat any bids for Woodburn the same as Barcelona’s three failed offers for Coutinho in the Summer.

No central role for Oxlade-Chamberlain


Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has warned Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain that he won’t be given a central role any time soon.

The England international, who opened his account for the club in the 7-0 win against Maribor in the Champions League this week, moved to Anfield with the desire to play in a central midfield position.

But his new boss has told him that he will need to be patient and is going to continue training as a winger for the time being.

“Without training and playing in the middle of the park it doesn’t make sense.” Klopp said.

“At this moment he is training only on the wing so it is clear, when he does start it can never be without training as a No 8 first.

“It is not good for him, and it is not good for us, and at the moment when he is training he trains on the wing.

“At the moment it is clear but I know once again it is a long-term thing, it is not fixed for the next five years.” he finished.

Oxlade-Chamberlain was mainly playing as a wing-back for Arsenal before moving to Liverpool.

Everton interested in Ings deal


Everton are one of the clubs interested in signing Liverpool striker Danny Ings in January.

That’s according to an “exclusive” report by TeamTalk, who claim that the former Burnley forward could be made available on loan in the new year.

Other Premier League clubs are also closely monitoring Ings as they consider their options for the second half of the campaign.

Newcastle United, Southampton, Watford and Crystal Palace are all keen to sign Ings when the Winter transfer window opens at the end of the year.

Ings has had incredibly bad luck with injuries since arriving at Anfield in the Summer of 2015 and is continuing his rehabilitation as part of the under-23 side.

He has managed to play just seventeen minutes of first-team football so far this season after coming off the bench in the League Cup defeat against Leicester City.

Manager Jurgen Klopp may allow Ings to continue his progress with a temporary switch elsewhere, but it is unlikely to be at Goodison Park.

Several Championship clubs are also set to make offers for his services.

Lovren points finger at Lukaku


Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has accused Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku of kicking him in the face.

The Belgian international appeared to flick his foot out at Lovren after a challenge during Saturday’s 0-0 stalemate at Anfield.

But the Football Association have decided to take no action against the former Everton forward after viewing the footage.

And Lovren is not in agreement with that assessment and has admitted that he felt Lukaku did it purpose after a frustrating afternoon.

“I made a tackle and I felt he was over me and could have moved away.” he said.

“My honest view is that he did it on purpose.

“It is not my decision. He seemed nervous during the game and maybe that’s why.

“Normally if you did it, you apologise. It happened and it’s over. Nobody can change it.” he finished.

Maliciously maligned – Emile Heskey


(Some) football fans seem to actually not know that much about football. When it comes to forwards, their main purpose is to score goals, surely? When evaluating a striker, the simple-minded football supporter will simply divine the number of goals scored by a player by the number of games played, and the smaller the result, the worse the player.

Take Emile Heskey (who recently gave an exclusive interview to the fan-generated analysis site for example. Seven goals in sixty-two England appearances – rubbish! Even during his Anfield career Heskey only scored forty times in one hundred and fifty games, a goals-per-game ratio of around one goal every four games. That’s as far from phenomenal as you can get unless you’re El Hadji Diouf.

Yet, when Liverpool snapped up Heskey for £11 million from Leicester City the then Leicester manager Martin O’Neill was heart-broken, even going as far as to say that big Emile was “irreplaceable”. As one of the most successful managers in recent English football history, it’s hard to dismiss O’Neill’s reaction, even though Heskey’s scoring record had been the afore-mentioned one in every four games at Filbert Street too.

Gerard Houllier was as delighted with Heskey’s capture as O’Neill was despondent. “You take a player because he is a talent and because you think he will work out well for the team,” said the Liverpool boss at the time. “I think at his age he is not the finished product. Like every player here he will want to progress and improve. You take players not for the number of goals they score but for the role they can play for the team.”

Heskey was slow to establish himself at Anfield, but quickly endeared himself to the crowd with a series of whole-hearted appearances. He was big, strong and had pace, was excellent in the air and when in top form could be unplayable. With Gary McAllister’s probing passes finding Heskey with pin-point accuracy, big Emile was as vital to the 2000-01 Liverpool side as every other player. He ended the season with twenty-two goals from fifty-six games, a far cry from the ‘one goal every four games’ ratio.

Liverpool were driven by the little man/big man combination of Heskey and Michael Owen up front, so much so that this combination saw Robbie Fowler leave Anfield for Leeds United. It’s no coincidence that the razor-sharp finisher Owen enjoyed his most prolific years for both club and country when combined with Heskey, and of course no one can forget that epic night in Munich when England defeated Germany 5-1, with all the goals coming from Liverpool players (Owen 3, Heskey and Steven Gerrard).

Both Owen and Heskey left Liverpool in 2004 and Anfield has not seen such a successful striking partnership (aside from perhaps Luiz Suarez and anybody) since. Heskey may not have been the most frequent scorer in Liverpool or England history, but combine him with a natural target-finder and there was no more perfect foil. Uneducated football fans really need to understand the game a little better before they pass scathing judgement.