There is still a long way to go and a lot of football to be played before the summer transfer window, but there is already a lot of talk involving clubs and players from all over the country.
Liverpool returned to winning ways last night, defeating Everton in the latest Premier League Merseyside Derby at Anfield thanks to goals from Mo Salah and Cody Gakpo. Off the field, however, there are still a number of issues to resolve, with recent reports indicating that the club will offload one of their first-team players due to a significant drop in form this season, while another player is set to hold contract talks over a potential new deal. The following are the most recent Liverpool transfer news headlines from Tuesday, February 14:
Liverpool to ‘cash in’ on defender after ‘performances have fallen off a cliff’
According to TeamTalk, who cites multiple other sources, including Goal and Football Insider, Liverpool will ‘cash in’ on Joel Matip during the summer transfer window. According to the report, the Cameroonian’s performances have ‘fallen off a cliff this season,’ and a bid of just £15 million could be enough to see him leave Anfield as he enters the final year of his contract.
The 31-year-old has made 16 appearances for Liverpool this season, including starting last night’s 2-0 win over Merseyside rivals Everton. The former Schalke player also scored in the 89th minute of their Champions League group stage match against Ajax in September, his only goal of the season.
Klopp plans to ‘hold talks’ with veteran Liverpool midfielder
According to Italian journalist and transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp intends to ‘hold talks’ with James Milner about his future at Anfield. According to reports, no decision has been made on the 37-year-contract, old’s which expires this summer, but a discussion will take place at the end of the season.
“Nothing has been decided on James Milner’s future,” Romano stated. “Milner will meet with Klopp at the end of the season to discuss his future. He’s on his way to his contract’s agent, but it’s too early to tell what happens next, whether it’s a new deal, a move elsewhere, or even retirement.”
Out of faith with Bellingham, Liverpool determine to sign with ‘Saka 2.0′
Liverpool’s new sporting director may have a minor Mohamed Salah ‘problem’ to address for Jürgen Klopp, and he may be able to do so with a simple fix.
There are still many questions that need to be answered in Liverpool. The club’s future is currently uncertain. Much remains to be resolved, whether on the Premier League table and over qualification for the coveted Champions League, or in the boardroom over the appointment of the club’s new sporting director. There’s also the question of ownership in relation to FSG’s long-term plans for Anfield, which naturally raises some eyebrows.
All of this will become clear in due course, and there is no doubt that those in authority are working hard to find answers that will make Jürgen Klopp’s job easier.
Nonetheless, changes to the club’s roster have flown under the radar in the midst of everything else that has been going on. The midfield and, to a lesser extent, the defense have been the primary areas of focus; however, there is another ‘problem’ area that whoever is hired as Liverpool’s new sporting director must address.
Mohamed Salah has been expected to shoulder a significant burden for Liverpool for several years. As the club’s sole right winger, especially since Sadio Mané’s departure, Mohamed Salah has been expected to play every week, with little time off to rest in between. His body has been able to withstand that tll impressively, and he has continued to perform at the exceedingly high standards he has set for himself. His body has been able to withstand the тoll. Even in a season like this one, when it is expected that he will sтruggle for success, he has contributed 25 goals in 32 appearances across all competitions.
Despite Salah’s impressive run of form, there is still cause for concern about the Egyptian’s aging, as he turns 31 this year. If he hasn’t already, he will be entering his twilight years very soon, and Liverpool will need to consider taking some of the load off his shoulders sooner or later in order to maximize his longevity at the highest level of competition. If he hasn’t already entered his twilight years, he will do so soon.
This issue can be solved by bringing in a reserve player who can compete with Mohamed Salah for the right flank position while also filling in for Salah when he isn’t in peak physical condition or needs a break. Something Jurgen Klopp cannot afford to do at the moment because, aside from Mohamed Salah, he does not have enough players capable of playing on that side of the wing at a similar or near-similar level.
The club’s new sporting director will be in charge of finding the ideal player, not just for the right price, but also for the right fit. Because it appears that Liverpool will spend the majority of their money this summer on midfielders and possibly a defender, there won’t be much money left over for an additional defensive addition.
But there is one player on the right wing who has caught the eye and who might be available for the right price. This player has a strong chance of replacing Salah in the team, first as a backup and then as his heir in the future. On the right wing, this player has been catching the eye.
Zakaria Aboukhlal, a 22-year-old forward, made a name for himself at the World Cup. However, he has not only impressed for the Moroccan national team; his club side Toulouse has also drawn attention to him. In total, he has contributed to the scoring of 13 goals in 25 games, with seven of those goals coming in the nine games following the World Cup.
This represents a sizable return for him. The way the game was played, however, is arguably the most stunning aspect of the game. On the field, he is fearless and enjoys challenging other players. He is the type of dynamic player that Klopp requires in a gegenpress system because he is capable of accelerating with speed when given the space in front of him, as well as having the technique and touch to defeat players when they are pressed against the wall.
When it comes to positioning, he also has the awareness and intelligence to receive the ball in dangerous areas, which is most likely one of the main reasons he has been able to contribute with a significant number of goals and assists recently.
Transfermarkt has him valued at $3.75 million (£3 million/€3.5 million), and Liverpool has a link that could help them negotiate a fair price for the exciting winger. Despite his hoт form, he may not appear to be an obvious choice for a ‘cheap’ transfer target. However, he is only worth those sums.
RedBird Capital also has a minority stake in Liverpool, implying that there is already a business partnership and interest for RedBird that could make them more willing to sell a prized asset for a more “favorable” price in favor of Liverpool. Toulouse is owned by RedBird Capital, which also has a stake in Liverpool.
As a result, Aboukhlal is unquestionably a player who should be closely monitored for the rest of the season.
Huge Klopp call brings triple Liverpool reward
In the win over Everton on Monday, Mohamed Salah thought Liverpool looked like its “old” self, and manager Jürgen Klopp’s bold move was essential to the change.
Shortly before the 20-minute mark in Monday night’s Merseyside Derby clɑsh between Liverpool and Everton, Reds skipper Jordan Henderson mounted a charge.
Visiting goalkeeper Jordan Pickford was in possession of the ball on the Everton right but Henderson closed down his fellow Sunderland alumnus so quickly that he was forced into putting the ball out of play.
It was a moment that epitomized Liverpool’s renewed battling spirit and intensity on the night, and earned uproarious approval from the Anfield crowd.
Prior to Monday’s game, Henderson had been named on the bench for four successive matches — his longest such run in Jürgen Klopp’s tenure. The 18-year-old academy graduate Stefan Bajčetić was preferred, alongside Thiago and the fit-again Naby Keïta.
But with Thiago suffering a hip injury, Klopp reshuffled his midfield for the visit of Everton, dropping Keïta to the bench, moving Bajčetić into his compatriot’s position and restoring Fabinho and Henderson to the side.
The skipper rewarded the coach’s confidence with one of his best performances so far this season. Henderson was far closer than he has been for a significant portion of the campaign, but still not being at his utmost best.
Klopp was delighted with his contribution to the victory on both sides of the ball.
“Hendo was a one-man pressing machine,” he told Sky Sports afterwards, “and football-wise [on the] right side [we were] really good together.”
Henderson was in fɑct much more energized here, although he had earlier given in to the team’s general exhaustion.
Additionally, Mohamed Salah appeared to gain from the reunion of the seasoned trio of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, and Salah on that flank. Finally, his supply line was reestablished as he shifted from being marooned on the periphery to a central position.
It was feared that Liverpool would be overwhelmed in midfield by the athleticism and duel-winning capabilities of Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Idrissa Gueye, but Henderson more than held his own in the bɑttle.
And the 32-year-old may have made an intangible contribution to the result too through a meeting at the AXA Training Centre.
“Henderson and [vice-captain James] Milner were speaking last week about enjoying our football as we’ve been together for six years and we have new players that are playing really good,” Salah reveɑled after the match (via Sky Sports).
The Egyptian felt that the team resembled ‘old Liverpool’ in the derby, but stressed that the process had started ‘last week’, spearheaded by Henderson and Milner.
His role in the victory, then, was threefold, encompassing attacking combinations, defensive contribution and leadership.
Before the game, Klopp rallied to Henderson’s defence, questioning the focus on individuals amid the team’s wider collapse and insisting that ‘Hendo is not our problem, never was and never will be’ (via This is Anfield).
However, he would have been secretly hoping for a response when he decided to drop an off-the-pace Henderson.
It was a big decision to leave out one of the players he has relied on the most during his time at Anfield, but based on Monday’s performance, it might have worked.
This should be seen as smart management from Klopp in a season where he has made a laundry list of mistakes, some of which were related to an excessive amount of loyalty.
It remains to be seen if Henderson can build on his performance and once more claim the right-sided number eight position as his own.