Jurgen Klopp has described Liverpool as being “in a good shape” ahead of the new season – while keeping quiet about Philippe Coutinho’s future.
Speaking on Wednesday as the club announced Western Union as their shirt sleeve sponsor, Klopp gave an upbeat summary of how he was feeling about preparations for the new campaign.
But he did not make any specific reference to Coutinho, the Reds playmaker who continues to be linked with Barcelona, and exited the media event before it was opened up for questions.
Barca had a £72million bid for the Brazil international rejected in July and, having subsequently sold his compatriot Neymar to Paris St Germain for a world-record £200.6million, are reportedly stepping up their pursuit of the 25-year-old.
Klopp last week reiterated his stance that Coutinho was not for sale.
Liverpool completed their pre-season matches by beating Athletic Bilbao 3-1 in Dublin on Saturday, with Coutinho one of a number of players missing due to illness and niggles.
The Merseyside outfit begin their Premier League campaign by taking on Watford away on Saturday, then travel to Germany for Tuesday’s Champions League qualifying play-off first leg against Hoffenheim.
Klopp said on Wednesday: “When we finished last season in fourth position everybody was really happy about it – it was really a good result for a big effort.
“We knew also there would be a qualification game, and now it is coming up. But the first challenge we have to face is playing Watford, even though everybody is thinking about the Champions League qualifiers.
“So Watford is the first target, and we have a few more days to prepare for this game. We are in a good shape. The players are in a good mood, the attitude in all the training sessions was really good – yes, there have been one or two little injuries and one bigger (Adam Lallana’s thigh problem), but that is how life is.
“We showed it in Dublin again that we are in a good shape. So everything is in a good way – but of course now we have to deliver, and we know that, so we are ready for it.
“The freshness is coming back. We are really excited.”
Liverpool have signed a five-year partnership with Western Union which sees the money transfer company become the club’s first shirt sleeve sponsor.
Western Union are also becoming an “official principal partner and the official money transfer partner” of the club.
At Wednesday’s event, Liverpool’s commercial director Olly Dale was asked about the club possibly striking naming rights deals.
He suggested one for the training ground could happen “at some stage in the future maybe”, while emphasising Liverpool are “not an organisation that is in the marketplace for a stadium naming rights deal”.
Dale also said a naming rights deal for the Main Stand at Anfield was “not an immediate priority”.
Provided by Press Association
Another day in football, another wave of transfer rumours to keep up on. Take a look at the most recent names and gossip being floated around in the media.
Will any of the following deals happen?
Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe has chosen PSG over Real Madrid as the team he wants to play for this season, according to Telefoot.
The 18-year-old has said he’s keen on playing alongside Neymar and admitted he has been a fan of the Brazil star for some time.
Despite paying a record breaking €222 million for Neymar last week, PSG are still eager to make Mbappe their second big addition of the summer for a reported fee of €155 million.
The Frenchman was an inspirational presence for Monaco last season, scoring 26 goals and creating eight assists in 46 games.
Mbappe has been on PSG’s radar for some time, and now it looks like the deal is edging closer.
With multiple suitors bidding for his signature – including Real Madrid – a move to the French capital would suit the star attacker as regular playing time is guaranteed.
Although he is one of Los Blancos top priorities, there is no guarantee he could start 30 games a season.
ALEX OXLADE CHAMBERLAIN
The Daily Mail are reporting that Chelsea have launched a £25 million bid for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamblerain.
Antonio Conte sees Oxlade-Chamberlain as the ideal fit for his 3-4-3 system and will step up his efforts to sign him before deadline day.
Manchester City and Liverpool have also shown an interest in the England international, but it is Chelsea who have made their move first.
With one year to run on his current contract, Arsenal face a dilemma on whether to let Oxlade-Chamberlain go or offer him a bigger deal.
A move away from the Emirates Stadium may be exactly what the 23-year-old needs as he has been an inconsistent presence in Arsene Wenger’s starting line up recently.
Inter Milan have entered the race to sign Leicester City star Riyad Mahrez, according to the Mirror.
Roma emerged as the front runners to land the Algerian international earlier this summer, only to see their £32 million bid turned down by the Foxes.
The 2015-16 Premier League champions are looking for £50 million for their star man, who netted just six goals last campaign.
The 26-year-old expressed his desire to leave the King Power Stadium in May, and perhaps a move to Inter could be a last chance saloon for him this transfer window.
Although £50 million is an expensive figure for Inter to meet, it may be a fee they are willing to pay with constant rumours surrounding the departure of their talisman Ivan Perisic.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said on Wednesday he has had no contact with Paris Saint-Germain over Alexis Sanchez, who will miss the start of the season through injury.
Sanchez, 28, has been linked with a move to PSG, who have just completed a world-record 222 million euros ($260 million) swoop for Barcelona superstar Neymar.
But Wenger said he had not heard from PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and referred to French media reports suggesting PSG are more interested in signing Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe.
“It’s a long time I didn’t speak to Nasser, because it’s certainly very busy to complete the transfer of Neymar,” Wenger told a press conference at Arsenal’s London Colney base.
Asked if he expected Al-Khelaifi to get in touch, Wenger replied: “No, no. I think if you read the French papers, they are on Mbappe’s case to finish their transfer market.”
Sanchez, who has also been linked with Manchester City, has not played for Arsenal in pre-season after being granted extra time off after playing at the Confederations Cup with Chile.
Wenger said the forward had sustained an abdominal injury and was likely to miss both Friday’s Premier League opener at home to Leicester City and the trip to Stoke City on August 19.
“He has a little abdominal strain that he caught on Sunday morning in training, before he came to Wembley (for last Sunday’s Community Shield),” Wenger said.
“He had a scan two days ago and he’s out for a while. I don’t know if it is two weeks or one more week, but he will not be available. I think he will not play at Stoke, yes.”