Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp insists Loris Karius hasn't been 'sacked'

Carl Markham 24/08/2018
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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists Loris Karius has not been “sacked” as he edges closer to a loan move with Besiktas – but the improvement without the goalkeeper this season has been noticeable.

The German is on the verge of a two-year, £2.2million temporary deal with the Turkish club, who are obligated to buy him for a further £7.25million in 2020 if appearance and European qualification criteria are met.

Karius, who made two errors in May’s Champions League final defeat, has been replaced by Alisson Becker – who has kept clean sheets in his first two matches.

“It’s a normal thing in football. It happens to managers: as a manager you usually don’t need that much time between one game and another to get the sack!” said Klopp.

“It is not the sack, it is only change. That’s football, no problem with that.”

Alisson’s impact has been instantaneous and he could become only the fourth goalkeeper in the last 51 seasons after Bruce Grobbelaar, Pepe Reina and the man who will be his deputy against Brighton on Saturday – Simon Mignolet – to keep clean sheets in the first three matches of a league campaign. The Belgian has managed the feat twice.

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How much of those two clean sheets has been down to Alisson and how much is as a result of the quality of opponents West Ham and Crystal Palace is open to debate.

However, the Brazil international has brought a new dimension to Liverpool’s game with his goalkeeping skills – which have not been fully tested yet – and his distribution.

“Good player, very good player and not only a goalkeeper but a player as well so that’s quite cool,” said Klopp of the man who commanded at the time a £65million world-record fee for a goalkeeper when he arrived this summer.

“He gives us a few more (offensive) opportunities so that’s cool as well, I like that.”

Not all the improvement can be laid as Alisson’s feet, however, as since their 4-1 October defeat to Tottenham last season Liverpool have the Premier League’s best defensive record.

Klopp was keen to stress that was due to the way the team is now operating.

“You (the media) tell me when we concede goals it is our defence and you talk a lot about the centre-halves or the goalkeeper being responsible – defending is always a team thing,” said the Reds boss.

“We did well not only this season, since a longer period already we defended well.

“We are an offensive-orientated team based on the best possible organisation and that means organisation is important in offensive and defensive things. It is something we are constantly working on.

“Every game we go in it is probably 60 or 70 per cent we talk about our defence and what we can do to create stability, you need to do a few offensive things.

“We improved in that step-by-step but it needs to stay like this. This season twice (we have had) a clean sheet but at the end of the season if we only have two clean sheets no one is happy about that.”

At the other end of the pitch Sadio Mane, the man overshadowed by Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino’s goalscoring feats last season, is setting the standards this time around.

The Senegal international, who is still in talks over a new contract at the club, is the Premier League’s top scorer with three goals – alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero and Everton’s Richarlison.

Klopp added: “We knew we would get a good player when we signed him from Southampton. Did we exactly know how good? I wouldn’t say so.”

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Liverpool owners insist club is not for sale after £2 billion bid from Abu Dhabi investors

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Liverpool owners have insisted that the club is not for sale.

Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group insisted Friday the Premier League club is not for sale after details emerged of a failed £2 billion ($2.6 billion) takeover bid from a cousin of Manchester City owner Sheikh Mansour.

Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reported that Abu Dhabi-based Sheikh Khaled Bin Zayed Al Nehayan approached the club over several months in late 2017 and into early 2018.

He then made the £2 billion offer that would have been the most expensive takeover in the history of the game.

Liverpool – 18-times English champions – said the club was still open to new outside investment but is not for sale.

Britain’s Press Association said it understood that the interest – one of a number of approaches FSG have received in recent years – did not get past the vetting stage because it was deemed neither credible nor worthy of being put to the ownership.

John Henry and FSG remain open to outside investment in the club.

John Henry and FSG remain open to outside investment in the club.

“FSG have been clear and consistent: the club is not for sale,” said a Liverpool statement.

“But what the ownership has said, again clearly and consistently, is that under the right terms and conditions we would consider taking on a minority investor, if such a partnership was to further our commercial interests in specific market places and in line with the continued development and growth of the club and the team.”

Malcolm Glazer’s £790 million purchase of Premier League rivals Manchester United in 2005 remains the most expensive football takeover deal.

Liverpool, bought by their owners, then known as New England Sports Ventures, for £300 million in 2010, were valued at £1.42 billion by business services group KPMG in May.

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Milner is the ringleader of 'funny' image and videos in Liverpool's WhatsApp group, reveals Mane

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Liverpool star Sadio Mane has revealed how the inner sanctums of the Merseysiders’ team WhatsApp group works.

According to the Senegalese ace, James Milner is at the crux of the jokes and deliverer of “funny” images and videos to the whole group.

The veteran, who has carved out a reputation on Twitter as a bit of a joker having initially been tagged ‘Boring James Milner’, is a frequent poster, Mane says.

“Honestly, he’s so, so funny, sometimes,” Mane said in an interview at the launch of New Balance Football’s launch of the new Furon 4.0 and Tekela 1.0 boots.

Apparently, the name of the players’ group changes from city to city – so it might have been “Kiev boys” ahead of last season’s Champions League final!

Alongside Milner, Sane added that Milner had a close couple of contenders when it comes to being the chief joker – though one of them has now departed.

“Not really (Daniel Sturridge), he’s quiet,” he said. “(Andy) Robertson is funny, Ingsy (Danny Ings) but he’s gone now.”

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