Klopp says he couldn't care less about Nike showing Coutinho's name on Barca kit

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Jurgen Klopp insists Philippe Coutinho was genuinely injured for Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Burnley as he laughed off talk of the Brazil forward joining Barcelona.

Coutinho missed Monday’s Premier League fixture at Turf Moor with a thigh injury amid a backdrop of speculation over a move to the Nou Camp in the January transfer window.

The rumours were fuelled further by pictures – subsequently removed – of a Barcelona shirt with Coutinho’s name appearing on the website of Nike, the Catalan club’s kit manufacturer, over the weekend.

However, Reds boss Klopp claims there was nothing untoward behind the 25-year-old’s absence from Liverpool’s squad at Turf Moor as he responded to questions about the Nike pictures.

“I heard about it. Somebody told me and I thought ‘wow’. But I couldn’t be less interested in anything in the world!” Klopp said.

“Him (Coutinho) and Mohamed (Salah) are injured, not massively but enough for today, no chance and at least a doubt for Everton.”

Despite Coutinho and Salah’s absences, Estonia defender Ragnar Klavan scored a dramatic stoppage-time winner for Liverpool after Johann Berg Gudmundsson had cancelled out Sadio Mane’s opener.

And Klopp was most satisfied with the fortitude shown by his defence on a day when they might have wilted against a dogged Burnley side.

“I am really happy about our attitude and character,” Klopp said.

“You need to win your average games, win with attitude when you are not 100 percent.

“Burnley were an opponent motivated at the highest level. We needed to be ready for the wind, rain.

“It was cold and you need first of all concentration, you need readiness to work really hard, organisation, discipline and a little bit of luck. We deserved the three points.

“We need the wins on the not sunny days. It was a fantastic moment when we scored. I was never in doubt about the character of my boys.”

Provided by AFP Sport

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Jose Mourinho slams Paul Scholes over Paul Pogba criticism

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At the heart of it: Man United midfielder Paul Pogba

Jose Mourinho turned his fire on Paul Scholes after his Manchester United side got back to winning ways at Everton.

The Old Trafford boss has been angered by recent comments from former United midfielder Scholes claiming record signing Paul Pogba was “just strolling through games”.

Pogba first responded on the pitch by producing an influential second-half display as United won 2-0 at Goodison Park on New Year’s Day.

Mourinho then took his opportunity to hit back at Scholes, who made the remarks in his role as a TV pundit.

Mourinho said: “I think the only thing Paul Scholes does is to criticise. I don’t think he comments, he criticises, which is a different thing.

“Paul tries to do his best all the time and sometimes he plays very well. Sometimes he doesn’t play so well.

“It’s not Paul’s fault that he made much more money than Paul Scholes. It’s not Paul Pogba’s fault. It’s just the way football is.

“But I think Scholes will be in the history (as) a phenomenal player, but not as a pundit. I prefer to look at him as a phenomenal player that gives so much to the club I am proud to represent.

“If one day Paul decides to be a manager, I wish he can be 25 per cent as successful as myself. Fifty per cent is 12-and-a-half silverware, 25 per cent is around six (trophies). If he is 25 per cent, he will be quite happy.”

Asked if he was frustrated by the number of high-profile ex-United players working in the media, Mourinho said: “I think they would love to be here, in the club. That’s a problem that I cannot resolve.”

While describing his side’s performance at Everton, Mourinho also took a verbal swipe at other critics he called “the kings of rock and roll”.

It was not clear who he meant, but it was possibly a reference to Noel Gallagher, the rock star of Oasis fame who is also an outspoken Manchester City fan. Gallagher was a guest TV pundit at last month’s Manchester derby and has given a number of other interviews recently, some critical of Mourinho.

Mourinho said: “The performance was really good, so maybe I’m lucky this time and the kings of the rock and roll that said I was under-performing last match maybe will say this time I performed.”

Pogba came to the fore as United upped the tempo after a dull first half to win with superb strikes from Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard after 57 and 81 minutes respectively. Pogba had a hand in both goals.

Provided by Press Association Sport

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"We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane" - Klopp gives blessing to Salah and Mane

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Main Mane: Sadio Mane scores Liverpool's opener against Burnley

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane will fly to Ghana 24 hours before Friday’s FA Cup Merseyside derby against Everton with manager Jurgen Klopp’s full support.

The Senegal international will travel with Reds team-mate Mohamed Salah as both are on the shortlist for the Confederation of African football’s player of the year award.

However, with Salah an injury doubt for the game, as is Philippe Coutinho, the importance of Mane has become greater in the short term than that of new £75million signing Virgil van Dijk, and it was highlighted in the 2-1 win at Burnley.

Mane scored a brilliant opener – only his second Premier League strike since August – and may have to play a key role against Everton, but Klopp will not prevent him from travelling to Africa.

“Sadio is unbelievably important for us. He is strong, quick, so many things. He scores a goal like this and it is like, ‘Wow’,” said Klopp, who saw defender Ragnar Klavan snatch a stoppage-time winner after Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson had equalised in the 87th minute.

“We have everything organised. We have two of the three best African players in our squad. We have to show them respect.

“If it had been a matchday they wouldn’t have asked. We sleep in a hotel, they sleep in a plane. That is all the difference.

“If Mo is not fit, it will not be for that (travelling). For our side, it is just a sign of respect.

“I had (Pierre-Emerick) Aubameyang (at Borussia Dortmund) and there is nothing more important than to go there.”

Van Dijk was officially confirmed as a Liverpool player on Monday after the paperwork on a world-record deal for a defender was finalised, with all negotiations with Southampton and the player concluded last week.

The transfer fee eclipses the £54million spent by Manchester City to sign England full-back Kyle Walker from Tottenham in the summer, but it is something the Holland international had no control over.

“Obviously there is a lot of money being paid, but I can’t do anything about that money, I can’t do anything about the price – nobody can,” he told liverpoolfc.com.

“It’s only the market. The only thing I can do is just work hard, do the good things and be 100 per cent every day. I am happy to be here and I can’t wait to get started.

“I think this is the right time for me to be here and to develop all sorts of aspects of my game. I am looking forward to doing that – that’s the main thing.”

Klopp refused to say whether the centre-back was in contention to face Everton.

“I don’t know,” the German said. “We made a few tests. No rush. He is on fire, really wants (to play), but we have to make sure he can perform.

“Centre-half is a position which depends on the others in the pitch. That means you have to tune it so you work together.

“After Friday, we have a little bit more time. It is a long-time project. It is not important when his first game (is) but how many good games (he has).”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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