Potential Liverpool transfer target makes financial sense, as Klopp confirms transfer business

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Welcome to our Liverpool.com media watch piece. Maybe not the first, we’ve definitely done transfer round-ups before, and European round-ups, so I guess in some ways it’s not that new at all. Anyway, we thought we would enter the world of football in a broad and roundabout manner for you and have some fun with some of the stories and captions doing the daily rounds.

Transfer natter

Are you ready for today’s spurious transfer link? First up, Jurgen Klopp confirmed in his pre-West Ham press conference that Liverpool would indeed try to sign a centre-back in the closing hours of the January window. “We will try,” Klopp said of adding a defender.

The ‘who’ and the ‘how’ followed next. Immediately identified by the online commentariat: New York Redbulls and American international defender Aaron Long.

The MLS season is currently suspended, and Long is said to be available on a short-term deal. Prior to Liverpool’s ‘reported’ interest, Long was set to move to Reading with the Championship club working on a loan deal with an option to buy.

Here is the lowdown on Long:

Does he have a mullet? Yes.

Is he a decent centre-back? Also yes.

Does he fit Jurgen Klopp’s system? No. He is a header and clearance type defender, not the ball-playing kind.

Does he have experience at the highest level? Yes and no. He has only played club football in the MLS but he is currently team USA’s captain – so he has international experience.

Does he have a mullet? Again, yes. He has a mullet.

That’s Nuts!

There are moments when you’re envious of footballers. They get to pull on the shirt, they score the goals, they lift the trophies. And then there are moments when it all feels a little claustrophobic: the pressure, the abuse, the lack of anonymity. And then there are moments like this:

“When I arrived at Real Madrid, I lost 12 kilos immediately,” Antonio Cassano said in a conversation with former Italy teammates including Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro recently.

Interesting. Worrying. Too much pressure?

“Then I gained them back,” Cassano said. “Nutella was one of the club sponsors and each month they would give us five kilograms of the product.”

I’ve never been more jealous.

All Abroad

An interesting piece from StatsBomb looking at how English players are performing abroad. As Liverpool’s homegrown quote continues to be squeezed, there are a number of names to keep an eye on for this summer – particularly with James Milner drawing to the end of his Liverpool career.

Thanks VAR nothing


Liverpool transfer news: Reds turn to MLS star Aaron Long in search for defensive cover

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Liverpool are considering a loan move for New York Red Bulls defender Aaron Long as they look to shore up their defence, say reports.

Injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip have left Jurgen Klopp short on options at centre-back, with midfielder Jordan Henderson deputising recently.

ESPN reports that a short-term loan move for USA international Long is a solution the Anfield club are looking into.

Major League Soccer is currently in its off-season and the 28-year-old has also been linked with the a move to Championship side Reading.

Long, who was named MLS Defender of the Year in 2018, has won 18 caps for the USA and made more than 100 MLS appearances.

Klopp admitted after Thursday’s 3-1 win over Tottenham that he would welcome a new signing on the right terms.

“If you have a centre-half available at a reasonable price, and one with the quality we need, then send me a message,” he told BT Sport.

“We thought about it and we think the whole time but it’s about doing the right thing. We need to find the right player. It’s incredible what’s happening in the defensive line.”

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Premier League rules mean Liverpool transfer spells bad news for one player

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For the second time this season, Liverpool face the very real possibility of having too many players for their Premier League and Champions League squads.

With top-flight sides only allowed to name 17 non-home-grown players in their squads, the Reds found themselves in a position where they had 18 such players at the start of the 2020/21 season.

Marko Grujic was the unfortunate man to miss out, with the Serbian shipped off on loan to FC Porto for the season.

But now, just three months on, Jurgen Klopp could find himself in the same situation once again.

Liverpool currently have 24 players named in their Premier League squad, having left off Virgil van Dijk after he suffered a serious knee injury back in October.

But with the Dutchman making good progress in his recovery, he would need to be re-registered for the second half of the season if the Reds are confident he will return in time to play some part in the remaining months of the campaign.

However, with Joel Matip and Fabinho joining Van Dijk and Joe Gomez on the sidelines, Klopp confirmed at his West Ham pre-match press conference on Friday that Liverpool will look to sign a new centre-back before the 11pm deadline on Monday 1 February.

Unless the Reds sign an Under-21s player, a current member of their squad would then need to depart or be left ineligible for half a season to make room for the new recruit.

If Liverpool sign a homegrown player, the decision is easy as they would just leave out Under-23s striker Joe Hardy.

But having been linked to the likes of Aaron Long and Shkodran Mustafi, and reportedly contacting Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ representatives before he joined Olympiacos, an overseas addition appears far more likely.

So which Liverpool players could find their place in Klopp’s squad for the second half of the season under-threat, assuming Van Dijk is fit to return before the end of the campaign and registered as a result?

One obvious answer is Adrian . The Spaniard has dropped to third in the Reds’ goalkeeper pecking order behind Caoimhin Kelleher and is out of contract at the end of the season.

Having not been included in a matchday squad since Liverpool’s 7-0 victory at Crystal Palace, when Klopp named two shot-stoppers in reserve, he is not going to come close to playing for the Reds while Alisson and Kelleher remain injury-free.

However, with the Brazilian having missed six games through injury this season, and 15 matches through injury and suspension last year, it would be a gamble to leave the senior back-up out and rely on the likes of youngsters Marcelo Pitaluga and Vitezslav Jaros as further reserve options.

Should Klopp not wish to make such a gamble, he would have a difficult decision to make regarding one of his outfield options.

Summer signing Kostas Tsimikas is yet to his Premier League debut and has been limited to just four appearances because of injury.

With Andy Robertson the undisputed first-choice left-back and James Milner a capable reserve, the Greek could be one option to miss out.

At the other end of the pitch, Takumi Minamino has been an unused substitute in five of Liverpool’s last six Premier League matches, featuring for just six minutes since scoring against Crystal Palace last month.

The Japan international has appeared to have fallen down the pecking order, and didn’t even get off the bench for the Reds’ FA Cup defeat to Manchester United earlier this month.

If Klopp isn’t utilising him, with plenty of other attacking options at his hand, the forward is another at-risk contender.

Which player do you think Jurgen Klopp should leave out of his Premier League 25-man squad? Let us know in the comments section below…

Meanwhile, Naby Keita and Joel Matip ’s ongoing injury issues could see either of the duo left out depending on when they are fit to return.

Elsewhere, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri ’s long-term futures look likely to lie away from Anfield with the duo continually linked with Anfield exits, though a summer departure seems unlikely at this time.

Of course, Liverpool still need to successfully sign a centre-back for such a scenario to play out.

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But finding the right player to come in is not the only tough decision Klopp has to overcome before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Liverpool’s non home-grown players: Alisson, Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Gini Wijnaldum, Thiago Alcantara, Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah, Adrian, Takumi Minamino, Diogo Jota, Kostas Tsimikas, Xherdan Shaqiri, Andy Robertson, Divock Origi, Joel Matip.