The Hard Tackle takes a look at the key news stories surrounding Premier League giants Liverpool from the day.
Liverpool have a key encounter on Wednesday, as they will look to overturn a one-goal deficit when they host Southampton at Anfield for a place in the EFL Cup final next month. Ahead of the crunch clash against the Saints, here’s a roundup of everything happening in and around Anfield.
Klopp: Matip Not The Complete Solution To Defensive Woes
Jurgen Klopp has said that Joel Matip’s return to the first team setup is a relief, but he seemed to be more focused on his side’s defensive problems during his pre-match press conference. The Liverpool boss claimed the centre-back’s return to the team won’t completely solve the Reds’ defensive worries.
As reported by ESPN, Klopp told the reporters, “Of course, it’s good because he is a really good player, but he was injured for six weeks. The other players had to play nearly all the time, that’s more the problem in this time — not that Joel cannot play all of the time. It is not about one player or something. It’s clear what we’ve done wrong and we really have to do better.”
Matip was forced to sit out recent Liverpool games, in particular the crunch clash against fierce rivals Manchester United, as there was confusion surrounding his eligibility for the Reds following his withdrawal from the Cameroon squad for the Africa Cup of Nations.
The centre-back was confirmed to be eligible to represent Liverpool last week as FIFA dropped all charges against the club and the player, and Matip can now be selected by Klopp for the visit of Southampton on Wednesday.
Liverpool’s terms for Coutinho Contract Renewal
Liverpool are reportedly ready to offer a new contract to their talisman Philippe Coutinho. However, while the club is preparing a deal with improved wages, they will only put the new offer on the table for Coutinho on their terms.
Liverpool are refusing to insert any kind of release clause into the new deal. Coutinho currently earns £100,000 per week, as per reports and the new deal is set to eclipse the wages earned by the Reds’ two highest paid players – Daniel Sturridge and James Milner – who earn £120,000 per week.
The Brazil international still has three-and-a-half years too run on his current contract with Liverpool, as it ends in June 2020. However, the club has recognised Coutinho’s development as one of the very best in the Premier League and are keen to tie him down to a new deal soon.
Tom Heaton Being Monitored?
Moving on to some transfer news now, and Liverpool are among the clubs that are reportedly eyeing a move for the in-form Burnley goalkeeper Tom Heaton, with Manchester City and Everton making it a three-way tussle to land the England international.
Heaton has been one of the most consistent performers in the Premier League this season, and he has led Burnley with aplomb. The 30-year-old has provided solidity between the sticks with his quick reflexes have bailed the Clarets out many-a-time all through the campaign.
Looks like the impact he has created for Burnley hasn’t gone unnoticed among their fellow Premier League clubs, with Liverpool set to be rivalled by Manchester City and Everton to sign Heaton. Surely enough, with the struggles of Simon Mignolet and Loris Karius notwithstanding, Heaton would definitely be an upgrade in goal for the Reds.
Liverpool Not Interested In Signing Jese Rodriguez
Liverpool are not one of the clubs that are interested in signing PSG forward Jese Rodriguez, as per the reputed Sky Sports transfer guru Guillem Balague, who tweeted that there are other clubs that are interested in the Spaniard, with Middlesbrough looking to sign Jese on loan.
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) January 23, 2017
Jese has not managed to make any sort of mark ever since the move from Real Madrid to PSG this past summer, with several reports stating that Unai Emery is disgruntled by the youngster’s attitude, with the 23-year-old refusing to make any effort to learn French.
There are certain qualities that Jurgen Klopp is known to demand from his players, and with professionalism being one of them, it is easy to understand why Liverpool are in fact not one of the clubs that would want to sign Jese.
Pulisic Agrees Contract Extension With Borussia Dortmund
Christian Pulisic, who has been heavily linked with a move to Liverpool in recent months, has put the rumours linking him with a switch to Anfield to bed by signing a contract extension with current club Borussia Dortmund.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) January 23, 2017
Borussia Dortmund have confirmed that the highly rated American attacker Christian Pulisic has extended his stay at the Westfalenstadion, after the 18-year-old signed a new contract with Die Schwarzgelben that runs until 2020.
Pulisic was visibly excited after signing the extension as he said, “I still have a lot to learn. I feel Dortmund offers the best conditions to do that. I have the chance to play in front of over 80,000 fans. We have the best supporters in the world – it does not get any better than that!”
Pulisic has firmly established himself as part of Thomas Tuchel’s plans for the Borussia Dortmund first team, which can be evidenced by the fact that he has featured in all of his side’s Champions League ties, other than notching up 13 Bundesliga appearances so far this season.