Klopp dismisses Götze claims

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According to recent reports, Liverpool are closing in on a £20 million move to Merseyside, but Jürgen Klopp dismisses the claims, writes Sam May.

The 23-year old, attacking midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to the Reds, since the arrival of Klopp in October.

It seems a move is likely, although no deal is complete until the player has signed on the dotted line. This could all slot into place though, as Götze’s prospects at Bayern Munich don’t look great, his relationship with, and understanding of Klopp, and the desire to resurrect his career could all point to one thing – that signature on an LFC contract.

Klopp said in his recent press conference:

“It shouldn’t surprise you that we don’t talk about any names,” he said. “We can talk about [Joel] Matip and [Marko] Grujic, because these are fixed deals.

“The problem is, you don’t know these players- ah wait, you know Matip!

“Seriously, I never comment on any rumours. I’m happy for Mario that he played such a good game [for Germany v Italy] after being out for a long time with an injury. In addition to that, there is nothing more to say.”

The Daily Express’ Paul Joyce, has previously said: Götze is “ready to move to Liverpool,” after privately indicating “he wants to play again for Klopp.”

The fact he is available for between £15-£20 million is a real bonus and seen as a bargain buy. Klopp clearly has a blueprint for the Reds, which he is keeping close to his chest. However, the pursuit of Götze is maybe giving a little bit of that blue print strategy away.

Kop boss Klopp, is driven, focussed and committed to bring the glory days back to Anfield and in his playing staff, he expects exactly the same. There are many more twists and potential changes of personal, both in and out before he has the blueprint set.

The 2014 World Cup winner would join 19-year old midfielder Marko Grujic and 24-year old, central defender Joel Matip on Merseyside this summer.

His arrival would see Liverpool line-up with Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in a very strong and skillful spearhead.

Unlike some recent reports, which have suggested that Milner and Lallana will drop down the pecking order, 26-year old Lallana being versatile, could easily shift to the left side of midfield.

Meanwhile, The Times Merseyside Football Correspondent, Tony Barrett previously said in a recent column:

“Mario Götze is ready to sever his ties with Bayern Munich at the end of this season having set his heart on a summer move to Liverpool where he would be reunited with Jürgen Klopp, who managed him at Borussia Dortmund,” Barrett claimed.

“In what would be a significant statement of intent by Klopp as he looks to re-establish Liverpool among European football’s elite, the Merseyside club are hopeful of signing the German World Cup winner. Götze is expected to cost around £20 million as he is due to enter the final year of his contract in June.”

Described as one of the best attacking talents Germany has ever had by Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer, his career statistics back it up. Making 221 appearances to date, he has scored 65 goals and contributed to 66 assists, one in 1.68 games on average.

His creativity, but movement off the ball is a key part of his game. If Liverpool do manage to lure the natural and talented player, it would mark a new era. The Reds’ haven’t managed to pull in big names apart from Alonso, Mascherano, Torres and Suarez. The fact they don’t have Champions League football next year, suggests Klopp is a huge magnet who can attract top players regardless.

Memmingen playmaker, Götze, who can operate as a number 10 or second striker, has four Bundesliga titles to his name and a Champions League runners-up medal. He will know doubt want to add to this in a Liverpool shirt.

Moon shines bright for Maritzburg and sets sights on Merseyside

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Maritzburg United striker, Ryan Moon claims it would be a “dream”, should he move to Liverpool in the future, writes Sam May.

In a recent interview with Sam May at SABC Sport (South African Broadcast Corporation), Moon stated to join the team he has supported since being a boy, would be his ultimate ambition.

The 19-year old South African striker, has followed in the footsteps of brother Bryce and father Patrick, and joined the ABSA Premiership side Maritzburg United, aged 17.

Brother Bryce, 29, has played in Europe, making 32 appearances for Irish side Coleraine, and featured for Greek sides, Panathinaikos and PAOK.

Club Chairman Farook Kadodia, who had signed Ryan’s father, Patrick Moon, back in 1979, previously added: “Ryan has immense potential and he will surprise a lot of people. There was a lot of excitement about Bryce, but they will be even more excitement about Ryan.“

It’s recently been suggested that Klopp is looking to strengthen his striking options in the summer, which also suggests, there will be leavers. This intern offers opportunities and maybe Moon could be the shining star.

Match Report: Germany 2-3 England, Germans blow two-goal lead as England snatch last gasp win in Berlin

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2014 World Cup winners Germany kicked off their Euro 2016 preparations with a 3-2 defeat against England at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on Saturday evening, as both teams paid tribute to those involved in the Brussels attacks and the recently deceased Dutch legend Johan Cruyff. Before the national anthems, current Arsenal midfielder Mesut Özil  was awarded with the German footballer of the year award for 2015.

Toni Kroos gave the homeside the lead with a speculative effort on 43 minutes. Mario Gomez made it 2-0, but goals from Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy and Eric Dier sealed the impressive victory in the last half an hour for England, to stun Joachim Low’s team.

The visitors started the game the brightest but Germany had the best chances in the opening stages when Mario Gomez headed wide of the post and Stoke City’s young GK Jack Butland got down well to save Mats Hummels having a stab at goal.

Germany did have the ball in the net on 26 minutes when Sami Khedira’s through ball found the feet of Gomez whose low strike to the right of Butland was incorrectly ruled out for offside – a lucky escape for Roy Hodgson’s side.

On 37 minutes England had the chance to take the lead. Harry Kane found Danny Welbeck whose delayed shot was blocked, before Adam Lallana excitedly smashed the ball high and wide over Manuel Neuer’s cross bar from 18 yards as the Three Lions continued to press.

The homeside took the lead before halftime, when Toni Kroos fired a low left foot shot past the hobbling Butland and into the England net. The distraught England shot stopper, who’d suffered a knock earlier, was stretchered off and replaced by Fraser Forster of Southampton.

Germany introduced 20-year old Bayer Leverkusen defender Jonathan Tah, making his international debut, for star backliner Mats Hummels at the start of the second half. Marco Reus delivered a wickedly dipping freekick, which was almost touched on by the on-rushing Gomez and Muller. Shortly after, Dele Alli stung the palms of Manuel Neuer with a vicious drive from 23 yards as England went in search of an equaliser.

A mistake by Emre Can almost gifted England an equaliser, only for Jordan Henderson’s side foot shot to deflect away for a corner by Jonas Hector.

Mario Gomez, the 30 year-old who has re-engerized his career this season at Beşiktaş, doubled Germany’s advantage two minutes later after ghosting between Chris Smalling and Gary Cahill and firing a bullet header into the net.

England pulled a goal back a few minutes later though. A half-cleared England corner looked like nothing was on for the men in red. Harry Kane tricked the German defence with a Cruyff turn and a sharp shot from 15 yards, which found the bottom corner. England were back in the match. André Schürrle replaced Reus on 63 minutes to win his 50th cap.

On 67 minutes, a great interchange between Kane and Alli almost resulted in an England equaliser as Alli’s low left footed effort was saved by the legs of Neuer.

A fast break from England found Clyne with some space on the right, and his hard cross was expertly flicked into the net by super sub Vardy.

England had a golden chance to win, but the excellent Alli fluffed his lines, side footing over an empty net from eight yards, a goal gaping chance, but then came Dier.

In the first minute of added time, a low cross from Henderson resulted in an England corner. Taking the corner himself, the 25-year old found the head of debutant Dier, whose smashing header found the back of the German net, leaving Neuer with no chance – England had won it and remain unbeaten in Berlin.

Germany: Neuer, Can, Rudiger, Hummels (Tah 45), Hector, Kroos, Khedira (Captain), Muller (Podolski 76), Ozil, Reus (Schurrle 63), Gomez (Gotze 79)

England: Butland (Forster 43), Rose, Cahill (Captain), Smalling, Clyne, Henderson, Dier, Lallana (Barkley 70), Alli, Welbeck (Vardy 70), Kane.

 

Meet the next “Manuel Neuer” – Timon Wellenreuther

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Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, Max Meyer and Leroy Sane, these are some of the young talent Schalke have purchased or brought through their famous youth academy over the years. Schalke have a star in the making, dubbed the next “Manuel Neuer”, Timon Wellenreuther. He is one of the best young goalkeepers in football and is tipped for a big future ahead of him.

At 6ft 1 ins, the 20-year old, athletic shot stopper was born in Karlsruhe three and half hours from Gelsenkirchen. Wellenreuther’s father, Ingo, is a politician and the chairman of Karlsruher SC. The youngster started his career in the ranks of SC Bulach at the age of eight, before moving to KSC from FC Astoria Walldorf at the age of fifteen, where he featured for the Under 17 and 19 teams.

Signing for the Royal Blues on a free transfer from his Karlsruhe in 2013, he featured for the Under 19 team. Putting pen to paper on a new contract in 2014, which would keep him at the Veltins Arena until 2017, made him the 13th player to sign a new deal from the Under 19 team.

Due to injuries to Ralf Fährmann and Fabian Giefer in 2015, he started the Champions League Round of 16 first leg match against Real Madrid on February 18 that year. Former Schalke manager Roberto Di Matteo analysed his performances and said Wellenreuther would only get better if given the chance to showcase his talent in front of a packed Bernabeu capacity. A year later though, he found chances limited, becoming fourth choice behind the likes of Ralf Fährmann, Fabian Giefer and Christian Wetklo.

He opted to join RCD Mallorca in July 2015 to gain regular first team action. Making 24 appearances, he has been very impressive between the sticks in the Segunda Division this season. So far the keeper has only conceded 25 goals, keeping a total of 8 clean sheets. Despite the loan player’s good performances, RCD are currently struggling at the bottom of the table, simply because they find it hard to score this season.

He is a risk taker. Confident. As with most German goalkeeper’s, Wellenreuther likes to use the ball at his feet, command his area and clear the ball away from the danger area. His aerial ability is something to note and he is good with set pieces. His attentiveness and concentration is sharp too.

After the end of the season the 20-year-old is set to return to Schalke. It remains to be seen if he’ll be given his chance there, or if he has to move to another team to make his breakthrough at a higher level than second tier football.

Top 10 players who could depart Liverpool this summer

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With Kolo Toure and Jerome Sinclair all but certain to leave Anfield in the summer, Sam May takes a look at other potential players who could be heading through the Anfield exit door.

Christian Benteke

The 25-year old Belgium international has failed to live up to his £32.5 million price tag since joining from Aston Villa in the summer. Having had the chance to put the game out of sight against Southampton, he dragged the ball across the face of the goal, a miss that proved costly. Despite gaining confidence from his penalty at Crystal Palace, it is clear he doesn’t fit Liverpool’s style. The fans have been left frustrated by his recent displays and a move could be ideal for all parties. Having seen limited game time; a move could be the right choice for the player as he looks to recapture his form. Behind Sturridge and Origi, Benteke has previously been linked with a move to Tottenham as back up to Harry Kane, but whether this could happen in the summer is unknown.

Jordan Henderson

It would be seen as surprise to most Liverpool fans should he leave Anfield. It seems since taking over the armband from Reds’ legend Steven Gerrard, Henderson hasn’t been the player, fans would have been hoping for. Pressure of trying to live up to the expectations it seems. His performances have dipped and been disappointing of late. Liverpool need a leader in the middle of midfield, somebody who can take control, and be a game changer. With his relentless energy, being tenacity in the tackle and growing leadership skills, he’s a player who seems well equipped to perform in Klopp’s setup – just not as a captain. Recently linked with a £25 million move to Tottenham, it seems Liverpool could be persuaded to cash in on the 25 year-old in the summer. Klopp will see the qualities the England international adds to the team, although he will be acutely aware that if this is a side that is going to challenge for the top honours, many areas of the XI, including central midfield, need upgrading.

Martin Škrtel

Perhaps not the most popular man since his display against Southampton with many fans calling for the 31-year old to be axed. In the first half, the chase for Champions League football was on… then came on Martin Skrtel. By the end of the match, it was totally different. It wasn’t just the fact they had shipped two goals it was the fact the Reds’ lost the game. It was a nightmare return and 45 minutes for the defender a day to forget. Despite this, we shouldn’t take away the fact; he has been one of the most solid defenders since arriving eight years ago from Zenit St. Petersburg, it’s a season too far. Having made his debut back in 2008 in the FA Cup against Havant and Waterlooville, the Slovakian defender has made over 300 appearances for the club. It seems time is running out for Skrtel. With the arrival of Joel Matip in the summer and another potential centre back, there could be no place for the long serving centre back. Tah? Süle? Subotic? These are just a couple of names Liverpool could target as his replacement.

 Alberto Moreno

Spaniard Moreno has failed to live up to expectations since sealing a £12 million move from Sevilla in 2014. Scoring his first goal in the 3-0 victory over Tottenham that year – Liverpool fans thought they had a consistent and found a quality left back since John Arne Risse. Moreno does have something to offer, but he hasn’t lived to up what is required to make the grade at Anfield. He has blistering pace but commits needless fouls. Liverpool have recently been likened with many-left backs – but should Klopp sign 1. FC Köln Jonas Hector in the summer as his replacement? He would definitely be the perfect addition or rival Moreno for the left-back starting birth. He does however offer a balance to the equally forward-thinking Nathaniel Clyne on the opposite flank, and fits into Klopp’s style of play. No Liverpool player finds a team-mate with more deliveries into the box than Moreno, excluding corners. Should he be sold in the summer?

Jose Enrique

Almost a certainty to leave. Liverpool will look to offload the 30-year old Spaniard who is earning £65,000 a week. Recently, turning down a move to former club Newcastle it is not known where could move to in the summer. He has gone from being essential, to sporadic and has a mixed spell on Merseyside. With his contract expiring in June it’s not known whether he will find another club who will pay him the same wage. Jurgen Klopp had told Enrique that he wasn’t in his plans, but player himself decided to stay and try and fight for his place. Having signed in 2011 for £6 million by former manager and club legend Kenny Dalglish, he now finds himself a regular in the Under 21s, and behind Alberto Moreno and Brad Smith.

Adam Bogdan

Seen at the time as a good move, Bogdan has made some high profile and costly errors since arriving on Merseyside. Most noticeably against Exeter and Watford, he has found himself behind current number one, Simon Mignolet and Danny Ward. Having failed to take his chance when given, it’s seems the 26-year old Hungarian stopper is surplus to requirements and will look for a new club when the window re-opens. Many goalkeepers have been linked with the Reds’ including: Timo Horn, Loris Karius, Bernd Leno and Marc-Andre ter Stegen, so it seems there isn’t a place for Bogdan.

Mario Balotelli

Having recently been linked with a move to West Ham, it seems Liverpool could look to offload misfit, Mario Balotelli. The 25-year old, endured a tough time on Merseyside after joining the club from AC Milan in 2014. Having been shipped out on-loan by former manager Brendan Rodgers, who brought him in, he still hasn’t hit the ground running in Serie A, making just 10 appearances, scoring three goals. His agent Mino Raiola recently stated that Klopp could revive his Liverpool, but whether that will happen is unclear.

João Carlos Teixeira

The 23-year old Portuguese attacking midfielder has recently been linked with a £12 million move to Fiorentina. Joining the Reds’ from Sporting Lisbon in 2012, he has had limited game time on Merseyside, becoming a fringe player. Having had spells with Brentford and Brighton on-loan, he was brought back to Liverpool hoping to revitalise his Anfield career. Many Liverpool fans hope he will be handed a deal in the summer, when his current contract runs-out. He has a lot to offer and needs to be given more of a chance it seems. Should Klopp keep him at Anfield?

Luis Alberto

Alberto made just nine appearances, since swapping Sevilla for Liverpool in 2013 in a £6.3 million deal. Brought in by Brendan Rodgers, he struggled to adapt to Premier League football and was shipped out on-loan to Malaga and Deportivo La Coruña, where he remains. He will return to pre-season training in the summer but could be moved on following the squad re-shuffle which is set to take place. Klopp will look to strengthen his midfield, and Alberto doesn’t fit the German’s style, a move seems very likely.

Andre Wisdom

It seems a move away from Anfield is very likely. The 22-year old defender who is currently on-loan at Norwich City joined the Reds’ in 2008 from Bradford City. There is no place in the squad for Wisdom and a permanent move to the Canaries could be possible in summer. Making 22 appearances before moving out on-loan, he will look to find a new club this summer, as Klopp looks to strength his side ahead of the new campaign.

 

The rise of Vincent Janssen

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Becoming one of the hottest prospects in the Eredivise this season, Sam May takes a look at AZ Alkmaar’s sensation, Vincent Janssen.

Being joint top scorer in the league with Luuk De Jong on 19 goals, the 21-year old has already been dubbed the new “Ruud van Nistelrooy”, during comparisons with the former Manchester United striker. Improving game by game, he is only to going to get better. Making 42 appearances to date, he has an impressive 24 goals to his name and six assists.

It seems despite the Netherlands failure to qualify for Euro 2016, there is light at the end of the tunnel after all. With Robin Van Persie being left out of by Dutch boss Danny Blind – its time for Janssen to take centre stage and showcase what he can do. When the Netherlands face England on March 29, he will be the one to watch in the Dutch camp.

The former Feyenoord youth player, helped his old team to clinch the title back in May 2013 in a 4-0 victory over current team AZ. Penalty area predator Janssen, was the standout performer in the win – claiming a hat-trick. The freekick specialist also netted a fine curling effort after his side claimed a 4-2 win over his former youth team back in January this year. A late header against Roda was another standout goal to note.

The fact his team has leapfrogged from 12th in the table to 3rd suggests confidence is high and continuing to grow, with his team scoring an impressive 23 goals in 2016. As with all young players, they can suffer low confidence very easily. Janssen has played a huge part in his team’s rise: a brace against Cambuur, the winner for KNVB Beker over amateurs of HHC and more.

Having been released by former club Feyenoord in 2013, he joined Almere City where he scored 29 goals in 69 appearances. This alerted many scouts from Germany and Belgium, who had watched the youngster, but Janssen chose AZ. Stating that would be the best place to develop, he could have easily gone off the scene when been released.

It’s his key passing and finishing which has made him become one of the best players in the Eredivise. Having already alerted scouts, it seems clubs will be fighting out for his signature in the summer. Teams such as Ajax, Manchester United, Liverpool and Southampton could all been keen on a move and Janssen would fit the bill at any of those giants. His contract runs until 2019, but will Alkmaar be able to hold onto him this summer? Don’t take your eyes of AZ Alkmaar. Fast, flowing, dynamic football is key – they have it all. Janssen’s rise makes them more interesting.

Golden Götze – Why swapping Munich for Merseyside would be the best option

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From winning the World Cup with Germany, to claiming four Bundesliga titles with Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, why swapping the Allianz Arena for Anfield would be a great move for all parties, writes Sam May.

Jurgen Klopp is keen on a re-union with Mario Götze, as the German boss looks to bolster his squad in the summer ahead of the new campaign.

Honoured as “one of the best talents Germany has ever had”, by Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer, the glowing midfield magician – would write a new chapter for the Reds, should he swap the Bundesliga for the Barclays Premier League.

A step in the right direction going forward should we say. The World Cup wizard, who scored the winning goal in the final in Brazil back in 2014 after beating Argentina, has suffered a frustrating time in Bavaria of late.

Born in Memmingen, the 23-year old playmaker is seen as future Ballon d’Or winner. The fact is, his style would be a key part in what Klopp is trying to create at Liverpool. Under his former manager Klopp, the young, creative attacking midfielder played a huge part in Dortmund’s previous title successes and was a linchpin in the middle of the midfield. Unpicking locks under pressure against crowded defenses is a specialty element to his game.

After breaking in to the side at Dortmund he showed why German football has found a rare and immense talent. His flare, technical awareness, composure on the ball was evident to those in the Yellow Wall.

His €37 million transfer to Bayern Munich in 2013 was a surprising one. Becoming Guardiola’s first signing; he became German Football’s most expensive transfer, until Mesut Özil joined Arsenal. Klopp claimed Götze wanted to work under the stewardship of tactician Guardiola, using that as the reason for his departure. His career at the Bundesliga champions has never really took off. Spaniard Guardiola hasn’t gambled or given him the chance he would have wanted.

The fact is, he needs to be playing week in week out to look sharp and avoid looking sluggish on the pitch. He needs an arm around him, which Klopp will give him. It would also help him to get back to his best – a reunion with his former mentor? Being a versatile player he can play on either the left or right wing, attacking midfield role as well as the false nine position. His blistering pace, dribbling skills, tenacious tackling and play making capabilities has seen him become one of the best young players in world football. He has made just 12 appearances in this campaign, netting four times and making two assists. Despite his glowing CV at such a young age – the “German Messi” is determined to continue his development.

So just were would he fit in at Liverpool?

Klopp’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation would be the perfect option for Götze. The Reds’ could continue to use shining star Roberto Firmino as a lone front man. He has made 37 appearances in all competitions to date, scoring nine goals and made nine assists. Some of Liverpool’s best displays have come when the 23-year old Brazilian has played at the tip of the attack. He impressed in the 4-1 win over Manchester City and is improving game by game. Moving Firmino would mean Götze would sit next to Coutinho. As the jury is still out on Benteke, moving Firmino could be a shrewd move. As Götze can play on the flanks, he can get between the lines of the fullbacks and get forward – this would also help Sturridge. James Milner, the two Brazilians and Jordan Ibe are options but Milner, Coutinho and Firmino like playing through the middle, so he could fit in there.

At 23, and the scorer of a World Cup winning goal, his confidence would rub off on the rest of the red men. Could Klopp secure his services?