Hello and welcome to the Liverpool ECHO’s Tuesday blog for all your very latest Liverpool news, rumours and transfer gossip as the top story today is that the Reds are keeping tabs on Juventus star Federico Chiesa.
That is according to reports in Italy which have suggested that he could be on the radar. The Italian side have been rocked by a 15-point deduction which thrust their season into doubt.
The ECHO will provide breaking stories, reaction and comment to all the big talking points from Anfield as well as keeping tabs on transfer market gossip from around the world.
Liverpool-linked midfielder Moises Caicedo has also swapped agents. He has moved to Futbol Division as Jurgen Klopp’s side, Chelsea and Arsenal all reportedly monitor his movement.
Meanwhile, the free-spending west Londoners are also said to be targeting another approach for Enzo Fernandez. The Benfica midfielder saw his future in the Portuguese league come under the spotlight following a stellar World Cup.
Graham Potter’s side wedged their way to the front but a move never materialised, however another approach is said to be readied.
Get involved and send your thoughts to @LivEchoLFC.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our free Liverpool FC newsletter, our YouTube channel and listen to our Blood Red Podcast, with all your favourite ECHO regulars including Paul Gorst, Ian Doyle, Joe Rimmer, Sean Bradbury, Theo Squires, Richard Garnett, Mark Wakefield, Tom Cavilla, Charlotte Coates and Keifer MacDonald.
Former Liverpool player Glen Johnson is concerned by the form of Mohamed Salah and has been alarmed by what he sees as a lack of energy from the Egyptian.
Prolific marksmen Salah has only one goal in his last six outings and ex-Anfield right-back Johnson thinks the recent overall team performances have effected the winger’s confidence.
Speaking to Lord Ping, Johnson said: “Mo Salah’s form can boil down to a number of things – particularly confidence. It’s hard to put your finger on it. Obviously strikers need goals, which have dried up for Mo as of late.
“I don’t think it’s just Salah. As a winger, your other teammates have to work hard to get you the ball. So when you get the ball in certain areas, you have to be direct and positive.
“During the fixture when Mo and Harvey Elliott got in positions they just kept coming backwards. It’s almost like they didn’t have the energy to drive the defenders back. So it looks like more than confidence.
“The team isn’t performing well. The ball is not getting to certain areas of the pitch fast enough. When they do get it to him, he’s not doing enough. It goes both ways, obviously the team is struggling because the individuals aren’t performing. It’s a mixture.”
Liverpool’s Jude Bellingham chase has been described as ‘hot’ by German Sky Sports reporter Florian Plettenberg.
The Borussia Dortmund midfielder remains one of the most sought-after players in European football with the Reds, Real Madrid and Manchester City all thought to be jostling for his services.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Plettenberg said: “BVB are chanceless at this stage to keep him but he has a contract without a release clause so the price tag is very, very high. Dortmund want between €100m-€150m.”
Plettenberg said that Jurgen Klopp is “pushing, pushing, pushing” to get his man but had not yet spoken to Bellingham himself. However, he also claimed that the likes of Julian Ward had already had conversations.
Plettenberg added: “Liverpool and Bellingham is hot but they have to make clear right now who is paying the money.”
Liverpool’s valuation has risen by as much as £535m over the past two years according to analysts from US sports business website Sportico.
Reds owners Fenway Sports Group are currently in the process of sourcing fresh investment into the club through a partial sale, although they would be willing to listen to offers of a full sale. The latter is understood to not be principal owner John W. Henry’s preference at this time.
The valuation of the club is something that has been a hot topic, with the Reds, acquired in 2010 by FSG for just over £300m, in play with a valuation north of $4bn. Sources with knowledge of the deal in the US told the ECHO last month that only offers above and beyond $4bn would spark any kind of high level talks.
No formal talks have been held as yet, while there has been no bid received for the football club or concrete interest that has warranted serious discussions. That could change in the coming weeks, however, with interest likely to be put to FSG through Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, the investment banks facilitating the search, with US private equity and institutional investors likely to show their hand in some form. Interest from the MENA region could also be presented, although nothing has materialised as yet.
FSG know the value of Liverpool as an asset and if a partial sale is to be their preferred option when the final decision is taken, a higher price would mean a far greater influx of capital, some of which will be redeployed to aid the regeneration of the team to ensure a competitive future that allows for the continued growth of the club.
Liverpool and Jurgen Klopp will continue their defence of the FA Cup this weekend as they make the long journey south to Brighton, having booked their place in the fourth round the hard way.
The Reds needed a replay against Wolves after being held to a 2-2 draw at Anfield, before Harvey Elliott’s goal at Molineux proved enough to see them through. Hoping to join them in the fourth round will be Accrington Stanley manager John Coleman.
The Kirkby-born boss will again lock horns with Luke Garrard of Boreham Wood tonight, a side that enjoyed a giant-killing run last season which ended against Everton at Goodison Park.
Klopp has begrudged the format of the competition since arriving in England from Germany, including the use of replays.
Typically, the Reds used the FA Cup to field some of their fringe players in the early rounds and the friction reached boiling point when Liverpool had a fourth round replay against Shrewsbury Town in 2020.
Coleman’s side will embark on a replay of their own, albeit in home comforts when the National League side travels to the Wham Stadium on Tuesday. He describes replays as a “double-edged sword”.
He exclusively told the ECHO: “It’s a double-edged sword really, it allows teams to go somewhere, try and get a result or get a result at home then go get a big payday for the smaller teams playing the bigger teams.
“Also, if they went straight to penalties after 90 minutes I think you’d see a lot more shocks.”
Empoli teenager Tommaso Baldanzi has made a thrilling start to his career in Serie A and there’s a good reason why Liverpool might want to take a closer look at him.
The 19-year-old has score four times in his first eight league starts for the Italian club, including the only goal in a superb 1-0 win against Inter Milan last weekend.
The attacking midfielder could be a cheaper alternative to Jude Bellingham, but although he has committed his immediate future to Empoli, he has made no secret about his admiration for Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.
Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Baldanzi said: “I didn’t expect to start so strong in my first year in Serie A. I’m happy because it was a really good start. But now there’s a second part, where we have to continue to do well, both for Empoli and for myself.
“I would like one day to be coached by Klopp. He’s a very strong coach on a world level, but I’m not thinking about it now. I have to keep working and improving, then we’ll see what happens.
“It will remain a dream because we are at too high a level. It’s already nice to play and grow in my home.”
One to watch out for…
Liverpool’s interest in World Cup-winner Enzo Fernandez is seemingly not dead in the water, accoring to a fresh report from Portugal.
Iberian outlet Record claim that that situation for the Benfica star is starting to hot up and have kept the Reds in the picture. Chelsea remain the favourites to land the Argentina international and could make a bid for Fernandez this week. But the Eagles will take some convincing to part with a player who they only signed last summer and if the West London club fail in their January efforts that could leave the door open for the Reds.
Record claim that Liverpool remain ‘on alert’ for the 22-year-old and if Chelsea do not activate his £103million release clause, the Reds could come to the table themselves at the end of the season.
It seems that Real Madrid are not short on ideas when it comes to trying to lure Liverpool target Jude Bellingham to the Bernabéu.
According to Sky Sports Germany, Los Blancos have been looking at ways to reduce the fee they would need to pay for the Borussia Dortmund teenager and one of their reported solutions is to offer the German club €100million plus rising star Eduardo Camavinga.
Camavinga has been frustrated by his lack of playing time with Madrid this season and Sky Sports journalist Marc Behrenbeck belives there could be something in the suggestion. He said: “We did some research and can confirm that this idea at least existed, but we cannot say whether BVB is already aware of this idea.”
It is not clear whether 20-year-old Camavinga would be open to leaving Madrid however and Sky Sports Germany ruled out any chance of a deal being done in January.
Liverpool’s pressing has been roundly and rightly criticised this season, but the condemnation has almost entirely focussed upon the defensive aspect of closing down opponents. The effectiveness has also lessened from an attacking standpoint, though, rendering Jurgen Klopp’s ‘favourite playmaker’ far less potent.
Opta have a metric called high turnovers, which is when a team wins the ball to start a possession sequence within 40m of the opposition goal. In the 2020/21 Premier League, the Reds generated 67 shots from them, 1.76 per game and the second most in the division.
They then rose to the top of the standings last season with 1.87 per match, yet prior to their 0-0 draw with Chelsea, Liverpool had recorded 18 in their 18 matches in 2022/23, one of the lowest totals in the top flight. By these standards, their efforts against Graham Potter’s side were a significant step in the right direction.
In terms of total high turnovers, the Reds didn’t deliver a wildly more effective performance. Against their season long average of 9.4 per game, Liverpool won possession 12 times in the final 40m on Saturday. However, three of them led to shots, their joint-second best total of the campaign (behind the five they produced in the 1-0 win over West Ham).
The most interesting aspect of this is that the newest member of the squad, Cody Gakpo, had the goal attempt each time. The first was the most encouraging from his perspective as he won the ball himself.
Steven Gerrard has backed Football For Change’s initiative to provide funding for young people from disadvantaged communities on Merseyside.
Gerrard said: “This is an incredible initiative and has helped so many young people on Merseyside already. This funding is going to change more lives and give experiences that some kids would never had have. I’m proud to support it.”
Young people and organisations who support young people build better futures through education, employment and sport can now qualify for grants of up to £10,000 after Football For Change announced its first round of 2023 funding.
Launched in 2021 by footballers Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Cody, Toni Duggan and Jamie Carragher and business leaders including the CEO of Ardonagh Retail Ian Donaldson and public relations leader Dan Hughes, Football For Change brings together sports stars and business leaders to help NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people get into education or find employment opportunities, as well as helping others from social and economically communities who face barriers achieving their full potential.
Football For Change has already sent 40 disadvantaged young people from Liverpool to the United States of America for a month-long sports and education retreat and has helped to finance the building of a new education hub in Bootle. It has helped young people into jobs by partnering with Local Solutions and has also helped homeless youngsters back into work and accommodation in Glasgow.
Now, the fund, managed by the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside, is encouraging young people and community projects in the North West who support young people to apply for grants. Funding will primarily focus on projects that provide life-changing opportunities in education and social mobility initiatives in education, employment and sport and will target those who have experienced poverty and economic challenges.
Applications can be made via the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside at http://www.cfmerseyside.org.uk until 20 February 2023.
“Football For Change is investing in young people who have experienced tough starts in life. This fund is about giving them the tools to build better futures whether that be by providing opportunities in education, employment, training or sport. It is already making a huge difference and I cannot wait to see just how much this round of funding helps others.”
Football For Change has the backing of football superstars including Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Lioness Beth Mead. Sir Rod Stewart is patron of the initiative and it has had major support from business leaders including founding sponsor Swinton Insurance. The CEO of Ardonagh Retail, which incorporates Swinton Insurance, is co-chair of the initiative.
“With the current cost of living challenges, initiatives like Football For Change, which provide investment for young NEET people, are needed now more than ever. This vital funding will give access to life-changing opportunities to those in some of our toughest communities. I’d encourage everyone to apply, and I can’t wait to see the projects we’ll be funding to help young people reach their potential and build better futures.”
Well done to all involved!
Liverpool have been linked with a move for Marco Asensio from Real Madrid with the forwards contract coming to an end soon, but MARCA now report that the European champions have offered the attacker a new deal.
The report suggests both parties are happy with the length of the new deal, but the Spain international wants more money.
Steven Gerrard was named as a surprise candidate to be named the new manager of Poland, but they have opted against the former Liverpool skipper.
The Polish National team have chosen former Portugal boss Fernando Santos as their new man on the hot seat after he was relieved of his duties following their disappointing World Cup campaign.
There will be financial implications for Dortmund if they fail to finish in the top four in the Bundesliga.
Former Dortmund and Bayern Munich striker, Michael Rummenigge, spoke to wettbasis about Bellingham: “They (Borussia Dortmund) have to finish fourth, if you don’t finish fourth in the Bundesliga they have a huge problem financially and you have a huge image problem.”
“Borussia Dortmund has the second best squad in the league, with Leipzig, you can argue about that.”
“Bayern has the best squad, but Dortmund has a mature structure, including with the fan base.”
Liverpool have previously been linked with a move for Inter Milan defender Skriniar with his contract coming to an end in June.
PSG manager Galtier told BeIN Sports: “I can’t tell you if Milan Škriniar will join in January, in the summer… he’s a player we have been following for long time. We thought he was close to join us last summer.”
Liverpool and Real Madrid both remain heavily linked with making a move for Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham in the summer, but latest reports from MARCA state that the Spanish giants may struggle.
The renowned Spanish media outlet have claimed that Real Madrid, Liverpool and Manchester City are fighting to secure the signing of the England international.
It is being reported that an offer of more than £96m will be needed to take Bellingham away from Dortmund.
Former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson told Lord Ping that he is a ‘big fan’ of Darwin Nunez. The Reds striker has been under the spotlight since a big money move from Benfica in the summer, but Liverpool fans are well aware of the talents he possesses.
“I’m a fan of Darwin Nunez. Some players need more time than others to settle in. I think he’s got all the attributes to be successful in the Premier League. He’s quick, he’s strong and aggressive. He’s passionate. He is also decent with both feet as well so I think he will be a very good player for Liverpool.”
Luis Suarez may have won just the one trophy during his time with Liverpool, but he will go down as a player many Reds will believe is the best they have seen at Anfield.
His performances during the 2013/14 may go down as the best individual campaign by a player after he was so close to dragging Liverpool to the Premier League title despite only having half of a good side.
The striker netted 82 goals in 133 games before sealing a dream move to Barcelona, where he went on to win everything in club football.
Calvin Ramsay is yet to make his Premier League debut for Liverpool since moving from Aberdeen in the summer. The right-back has struggled with injury problems since his transfer, but is looking to put that behind him.
Sky Sports Germany reporter Florian Plettenberg has poured cold water on Liverpool’s links with Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenbery after his agent was spotted at Anfield on Saturday.
Plettenberg took to social media to say: “It’s decided and no doubt: He has to stay at Bayern! No transfer in January. Within the club they still believe in him. A loan to Liverpool or to another club is NO topic.”
That’s that then.
Renowned transfer insider Fabrizio Romano has told House of Champions that Jurgen Klopp is calling almost everyday to ask about updates on the situation of Jude Bellingham after the Reds made him their top transfer target for the summer.
Liverpool have struggled massively this season due to not signing a midfielder in the summer, but Klopp wants Bellingham and the youngster wasn’t available then. Summer 2023 is a different story, but there is plenty of interest from the likes of Real Madrid and Man City also.
In heartbraking circumstances, ex-Liverpool hero Sadio Mane missed the World Cup with Senegal after needing to undergo surgery on his leg following an injury picked up on the penultimate game before jetting out to Qatar.
Mane worked so hard to help Senegal reach Qatar and then wasn’t able to be there himself. The fomer Liverpool man has now returned to running outside with Bayern Munich following the surgery.
Reds fans will always want Mane to do well after the success he brought to the club.
Ryan Gravenberch’s agent, Rafaela Pimenta, was spotted at Anfield for Liverpool’s match with Chelsea on Saturday as rumours intensify about a potential January move.
The Reds are in dire need of a new midfielder and Gravenberch hasn’t set the world alight since his move to Bayern Munich in the summer.
The 20-year-old has started just 10 matches for the German side this season and he could provide a key boost to Liverpool as they go in search of Champions League football.
Liverpool and Chelsea target Moises Caicedo has spoken to Brighton’s official website about the transfer rumours surrounding him.
“I am focussed on Brighton. I am here, I’m playing every day. Things from outside don’t trouble me, nor does it take that focus away because I’m focussed only on here. I handle [the speculation] well…
“You hear rumours here and there, but I only try to be focused on the club where I am now, the club which opened the doors for me to be playing every week.”
Chelsea have seen a £55m bid rejected while Liverpool remain interested.
Up next for Liverpool is a trip to Brighton in the FA Cup fourth round at 1:30pm on Sunday lunchtime. The Reds were at the Seagulls’ home just a couple of weeks ago and it ended in a 3-0 loss with a terrible performance.
This presents a good opportunity for Liverpool to start to put things right after that awful showing.
Everyone has been wondering how Chelsea have been getting around Financial Fair Play with the millions of pounds they have spent since Tom Boehly took over at Stamford Bridge. By offering eight year contracts, it allos them to spread the cost of huge transfer fees across those years.
UEFA have now set a limit of five years in which a transfer fee can be paid, as per The Times.
Have UEFA acted too late?