Why the Reds should sign Charlie Taylor

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As the clock ticks down to tomorrow night’s transfer deadline, Sam May believes Liverpool should make a last ditch attempt to sign Leeds left-back Charlie Taylor.

Taylor, 22, is one the brightest players in the Championship and has developed into one of the best English left-back in recent years. He received the Leeds United Player of the Year Award for 2015-16.

The Reds would be getting a hard working, and pacy full back who would have enough experience to challenge the inconsistent Alberto Moreno. He also has an eye for goal and contributes assists, meaning the Reds would be getting an all round consistent performer.

His best quality, however, is his stamina and his desire to win the ball everywhere on the pitch.

Taylor would fill the challenging void left by Brad Smith who joined Bournemouth for £6 million and James Milner who has struggled to adapt to his new un-favoured position.

With 12 months left on his Whites contract, manager Garry Monk could look to cash in on the Yorkshireman to avoid loosing the player who made his debut at 17, on a free next year.

Klopp could develop Taylor’s game, and the young defender could follow in the footsteps of West Ham’s Aaron Creswell and Bournemouth’s Tyrone Mings, who have swapped the Championship for Premier League football in the recent past.

West Brom, Stoke, Middlesborough, Burnley and Bournemouth are all interested in his services, but Jürgen Klopp should act fast to secure the services of the highly rated left back.

Five players who could leave Anfield

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As the transfer window is a week away from closing, Sam takes a look at five players who could leave Liverpool, as Klopp puts his final stamp on his squad.

So who could leave?

1. Mario Balotelli

The Reds are finding it difficult to offload their troubled striker whose £90,000 a week contract expires at the end of the season. Surplus to requirements, the 26-year-old, who is training on his own, has been linked with a number of clubs. Besiktas, Sassuolo and Ajax have all shown an interest but it seems Everton and Manchester United are also in the wings if the deal is “knockdown”.

Klopp is keen to offload Balotelli but will hoping Liverpool can receive a fee close to the £16 million they paid for him back in 2014 when he swapped AC Milan for the Merseyside giants. Probable outcome –new loan move.

Interested Clubs: Besiktas, Sassuolo, Ajax, Nice, Everton and Manchester United.

 

2. Luis Alberto

Alberto, 23, has found life on Merseyside tough following his arrival from boyhood club Sevilla in 2013 for £6.8 million. The attacking midfielder, who has spent the past two seasons on-loan at Málaga and Deportivo La Coruña is available in a cut-price deal. Moving to Deportivo, he linked up with manager Víctor Sánchez, who was previously in Sevilla’s coaching staff.

It is clear to see Alberto has no chance of making the grade at Anfield with the new arrivals of Marko Grujić and Georginio Wijnaldum ahead of him. He is expected to move on-loan, however the Reds are keen to for the player to leave on a permanent deal. Fenebache are the latest club to be linked, but only on a season-long loan. Late interest from the Championship may get him the move he needs.

Likely outcome – loan deal.

Interested Clubs: Fenerbahçe, Sevilla, Valencia, Queens Park Rangers and Wolves.

 

3. Tiago llori

The Portuguese defender has failed to make the grade at Anfield and is set for a move away. He joined the Reds for £7 million in 2013 from Sporting Lisbon and was recently part of the Portugal Olympic football team that achieved a bronze medal in Brazil.

Having had spells at Granada, Bordeaux and Aston Villa the Reds are keen to offload the 23-year-old. With a host of suitors in Greece, Spain and Germany, he is available for a cut price £3 million. Perhaps, the defender needs to be given more of a chance to prove he can cope with the demands of the Premier League, but it seems its one season too many for Ilori.

Potential outcome – sale.

Interested Clubs: Freiburg, Olympiakos, Eintracht Frankfurt and Atlético Madrid.

 

4. Mamadou Sakho

Sakho, 26, has recently fell out of favour under Jürgen Klopp and could head out on-loan to improve his fitness it is understood. The French international central defender has now fallen behind Dejan Lovren, Joel Matip and Ragnar Klavan. For a centre back berth.

With Klopp keen to trim his squad, Sakho could seek pastures new. He joined Liverpool from Paris-Saint Germain for £16m in September 2013, and has gone on to appear 80 times for the Merseysiders, scoring three goals in the process.

Sakho has faced an uncertain future at Liverpool over the past four months. The defender was sent home from the Reds’ pre-season tour of the USA after breaking club rules, as well as sustaining an achilles injury.

Possible outcome – season long loan.

Interested Clubs: Roma.

 

5. Lazar Marković

The Serbian winger has struggled to find his feet at Anfield since his £20 million move from Benfica in 2014. Many fans have suggested Markovic needs to be given more of a chance to help him replicate the form shown which earned him the big money move. A new manager and loss of form doesn’t help his cause.

The fact is the Premier League looks too tough for the 22-year-old and with the arrival of Sadio Mané, he is now further down the pecking order. In his first season at Liverpool Markovic made 34 appearances, 23 of them starts and it seemed he was growing into the shirt.

But last year Brendan Rodgers sent Markovic on loan to Fenerbahce after deciding that he would not fit in to his plans for the first team.

Clubs in the Bundesliga and the Premier League have shown an interest and he is expected to move on.

Potential outcome – cut price deal.

Interested Clubs: Schalke, Fiorentina, Benfica and Sporting Lisbon.

Klopp must make Reds ruthless and quickly

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After Liverpool suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of newly promoted Burnley, Klopp created a “hairdryer style” treatment to his players in a wake up call, writes Sam May.

Lacklustre, poor and toothless are words to describe the performance from the Reds at Turf Moor.

It is wrong to blame the performance on an individual, despite Nathaniel Clyne and Daniel Sturridge both giving the ball away and gifting Burnley a two-goal lead – but the fact is Klopp’s side must improve if they are to secure a top four position at the end of the season.

Defensive woes are still a big problem. Dejan Lovren looked out of his depth and new signing Ragnar Klavan thought he was still playing in the Bundesliga rather than the Premier League, where pace and power rule.

Its time the Reds gave Andre Wisdom a chance at right back. It was evident Clyne was struggling down the flank, stopping dead every time and cutting the ball back rather than being penetrative and dangerous. Defensively he was poor too.

Left back is an even bigger worry for Liverpool. The sooner Joe Gomez is fit the better. It was clear James Milner cant play in Liverpool’s most problematic position; a place on the bench would be the best for the 30-year-old.

The Reds have been linked with a number of left-backs – Hector, Chilwell, Rodriguez and Bruno Martins-Indi, and right now any would be suited at any price.

It seems yet another new centre back should be on the agenda, and although this is unlikely, it has to happen before the window closes. Süle or Tah is needed to sort out Liverpool’s leaky defence, or even Middlesborough’s consistent performer Ben Gibson, who have previously been linked with a move to Anfield.

Captain Henderson must be dropped for Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum for Marco Grujić in next weeks trip to White Hart Lane. Both were ineffective. Sturridge, Firmino, Origi and Lallana should be fighting for the front three against Spurs – unless Mané is fit and Origi drops to the bench.

Expect the Reds to dip into the transfer market again before the window closes, with Klopp stating in his post-match interview that transfers are a possibility before the close.

If the Reds are to succeed, attitudes or personnel have to change. Klopp says he is building competition for each place – so now is the time to prove it – changes are needed at Spurs. Act now Jurgen and give others their chance.

Jonas Hector: The classy German the Reds MUST sign

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Liverpool must act fast to secure the services of the highly rated German international, writes Sam May.

The Cologne left back learned his trade the hard way in the lower leagues, progressing to be a key figure for Joachim Löw’s side at the European Championships.

He played in the German fifth division for SV Auersmacher until the age of 20, before moving to the second division at 22, and finally graduated to the Bundesliga by 2014 – the same year he was playing for the national team with just 10 league games under his belt!

Born in Auersmacher, a small town with a population under 3000, he was given the chance to sign for 1. FC Saarbrücken, the biggest team in the region but declined a move to join their youth academy. The now 26-year-old said: “I was happy at Auersmacher and I wanted to continue playing with my friends. It almost sounds like he’d rather play in the backwoods than with Germany at the Euro’s. “Back then I didn’t even dream of one day playing in the Bundesliga.”

Starting out as an attacking midfielder, and then moving into a centre midfield role, he turned left-back two years later and has gone onto to be one of the most consistent players in that position in world football. The fact he is eager to develop his game and improve, is something, which is suited to Klopp and Liverpool.

Forget Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the rest of social media, Hector states he doesn’t want to be in the limelight when it comes to putting your name all over the Internet. Instead, he decides to study business. His idea of showcasing himself is on the pitch.

His friends from his hometown are still friends, and travel to watch his home games for Cologne, could they soon be travelling the 600 miles to watch him play in front of the Kop at Anfield?

Despite signing a new contract at the club until 2021, he could still be targeted. A fee of around £30 million is said to be enough to secure the services of the star performer. Klopp should look no further, Hector is consistent, great stamina, great attitude and has had no injury problems. He also reads the game well.

Hector may not be as dynamic as Moreno, but he is solid .Something Liverpool are lacking in that position. Moreno has been left wanting on numerous occasions from the end of last season and unfortunately it has carried into this new season.

Liverpool could solve their last jigsaw piece with the signing of Hector.

Anwar El Ghazi: Who is this reported Liverpool target?

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Jürgen Klopp is interested in signing Anwar El Ghazi as he seeks a replacement for Lazar Marković who is a target for Serie A side Lazio, writes Sam May.

The Dutch winger, of Moroccan decent, is attracting glances of admiration from European heavyweights, with Lazio and Wolfsburg also running the rule over the 21-year-old.

So who exactly is El Ghazi? And how would he fit in at Liverpool? Here’s a rundown of all you need to know… 

 

Factfile

Name: Anwar El Ghazi

Age: 21

Place of birth: Barendrecht, Netherlands

Position: Winger

Club: Ajax

 

Background

Ajax’s Talent of the Year 2015 started his career in the youth ranks of local club BVV Bardendrecht, before joining the youth academy of Feyenoord. He later joined Spartaan ’20, and then went onto to Sparta Rotterdam, before being lured to Ajax in July 2013.

He made his official debut for Ajax in against PEC Zwolle in the Johann Cruyff Shield, replacing Ricardo Kishna in the 1–0 home defeat.

In the same year he netted in the 3-1 away defeat to Barcelona in the Champions League and became the first player to score at the Nou Camp in 2014-15 season.

Having dual citizenship, El Ghazi is eligible to represent both the Netherlands as well as Morocco at senior level.

 

What does El Ghazi bring to the table?

The 21-year-old’s pace, power and skill makes him a fine dribbler, with a level of composure that belies his tender years.

Being most comfortable on the right wing, he is great at creating space, going past people and cutting balls back from the byline into the danger area, an asset for any team.

 

Where would he fit in at Liverpool?

The competition for attacking places at Anfield is now stronger than it has ever been with Roberto Firmino, Philippe Coutinho and now Marco Grujic, Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijanldum, all vying for places.

El Ghazi would have to challenge all for a regular starting birth. However, with Lazar Markovic set to depart Anfield before the window closes, adding the young winger for an estimated £15 million would be a shrewd move by the Kop boss.

At 21, El Ghazi’s years lie ahead of him, and his attacking play would also sway him to Anfield. Securing a starting birth may prove difficult, but he sure would light up the Reds team as well as the Premier League.

 

Did you know?

El Ghazi met Cristiano Ronaldo of Real Madrid, a player who he looks up to and asked him whether he should choose between the Netherlands and Morocco. Ronaldo advised him to choose for the Netherlands since he has a higher chance to participate at an international tournament based on their history.

As a result, the winger mentioned that he will choose to represent the Netherlands and was called up for two UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying games in October 2015. El Ghazi directly made his way into the starting line-up for the Netherlands in those two matches, though it was not enough to qualify for Euro 2016.

Why Liverpool should swoop for Draxler

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Signing Wolfsburg star Julian Draxler would show Liverpool still have what it takes to lure world-class names to Anfield, writes Sam May.

The Reds have already moved swiftly to secure the services of attacking midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum from Newcastle United for £23 million – so more goals will flow for Klopp’s side next season, with the player himself setting a 10 goals tally. However, Draxler would offer something different.

Impressing at the European Championships in France, the 22-year-old attacking midfielder, who can also play out wide, would offer that extra guile and threat.

His dazzling feet and dangerous cross’s shows his precise combination of athleticism and technical excellence which would suit Jürgen Klopp’s team.

Even despite the signings of Sadio Mané and Wijnaldum, the Reds could do with somebody of his quality. He has proven what he is capable of doing, and would follow in the footstep of Kevin De Bruyne, who swapped Wolfsburg for Premier League football.

Fans may argue that he isn’t needed with the likes of Coutinho, Firmino and now Mane and Wijnaldum in the attacking roles – but Draxler would be sure to offer something else. His interchanging with players is a key element to his game. At 22, he still has room to develop, and under the guidance of Klopp – expect the unexpected.

His favoured No. 10 position, may be taken by the likes of Coutinho or Firmino which means he would be deployed out wide. His immaculate touch, and the fact he is quick means he would excel in that position. He also has an eye for goal and can shoot from almost anywhere in the tightest of spaces.

Draxler could be converted into a striker too. He has the attributes and threats that striker’s pose, and could also be the replacement for Christian Benteke whose Anfield career looks almost over.

Arsenal have been heavily linked with the player who has said is keen to move away this summer and Everton have also joined the race recently. Draxler has a £63,000,000 release clause in his contract, but expect a release at a much lower threshold if the player really wants away.

Wolfsburg remain adamant the player is not for sale and say he wishes to stay at the Volkwagen Arena for at least another season. However, if serious money is put on the table for one of Germany’s brightest and most talented stars then he may move to the Premier League this campaign.

Being a young talented German, he would relish the man management of Klopp as well as being able to communicate well with the Kop manager.

Klopp has the powers of persuasion, and who knows we may see Draxler powering down the flanks for Liverpool sooner than you think.

Who could Liverpool target at left back?

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Sam May takes a look at three alternatives Klopp could target as he looks to improve the Reds most problematic position. Liverpool have not a consistent left back since Jon Arne Risse departed the club in 2008.

The Reds have been heavily linked with moves for either FC Köln’s Jonas Hector or Jetro Willems of PSV, as they search for competition for Alberto Moreno.

But who else could they target?

1. Ricardo Rodriguez (VFB Wolfsburg)

Rodriguez, 23, has established himself as one of the best fullbacks in Europe and has been linked with moves to both Arsenal and Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The Swiss international, who was a key figure at the European Championships in France, could be the ideal option to replace the inconsistent Moreno.

Having previously had a ‘termination clause’ in his contract, which is said to have been £19 million until July 1 it is understood the fee, is now much greater. Rodriguez had previously stated that remaining at Wolfsburg this summer would be “not impossible but unrealistic”, but European football could potentially be a factor in his decision to move away and may hinder a Reds offer.

2. José Gayà (Valencia)

The 21-year-old has become of the best young left-backs in Europe. Previously targeted by Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid, there is no question he would be a viable alternative to Liverpool current Spaniard. The idea of working under Jürgen Klopp could be a pull factor for the rising star.

Born in Pedreguer, Alicante, Gayà was a product of Los Che’s youth system, where he started playing as a striker – scoring over 60 goals in one year – before switching to left back.

He would be the prefect option for the Reds as he is very quick across the ground and his unrelenting energy allows him to get into dangerous positions for Valencia. Gaya’s final ball is also improving in the attacking third. With a €50 million release clause however, this could put off any potential suitors.

3. Aleksandar Kolarov (Manchester City)

Kolorov, 30, has been told he has no future under new manager Pep Guardiola. Recently been linked with a £3 million switch to Besiktas, he could be a short term option for Klopp, should he make a move for the experienced Serbian.

Having previously signed James Milner from Sky Blues in 2015, who has been touted as a temporary left back for the Reds next season, he could persuade Kolorov to swap the Ethiad for Anfield.

Yes an eyebrow raiser, but with his experience and pace down the left flank he still has more to offer at Premier League level. If brought in, he would become the third Serbian to Anfield following the arrivals of Lazar Markovic from Benfica in 2014 and now youngster Marko Grujic who was signed from Red Star Belgrade for £5.1 million last summer.

Watch this space…