Liverpool alerted to Jürgen Klopp £67m transfer ‘favourite’ as Gareth Bale point made again
Welcome to the Liverpool.com daily Media Digest. From transfers to tweets, it can be hard to keep up with everything going on in the Anfield sphere. Credible, incredible and anything in between: we round it all up in one place here, taking a sideways look at the day’s media goings-on from around the world.
Triple injury boost
Sadio Mané was back in full Liverpool training after picking up a knock on international duty. Provided there are no further setbacks, he should be available to face Arsenal at the weekend.
Jordan Henderson, who also developed a problem while away with his country, was pictured in training too — but he participated away from the main group, and is less of a certainty for the weekend. Likewise, James Milner is close, but has yet to be reintegrated with the full team training sessions.
Andy Robertson, who limped out of Scotland’s win against Denmark, was not pictured training in any capacity. As for Curtis Jones, the club have issued an update on his eye injury, stressing that the freak issue requires patience.
Van Dijk secures qualification
The Netherlands belatedly secured their place at the World Cup, overcoming their disappointing draw with Montenegro to triumph 2-0 over Norway. Virgil van Dijk, who captained the side, will now be hopeful of making up for Euro 2020, which he missed through injury.
The absence of Erling Haaland proved fatal to Norway’s chances, and the mercurial forward will now not feature at a World Cup until at least 2026. His team-mates hung on until the 84th minute, but the Netherlands turned the Montenegro result on its head, scoring rather than conceding twice in the final 10 minutes.
Van Dijk will be 31 by the time the tournament is played, so he will be relieved to have secured qualification. This could be his only chance to play for his country at a World Cup. The Liverpool man still looks to be shaking off a little rust from his injury, but will hope to be back to his imperious best before long.
Williams praised for Wales
Neco Williams featured as a wing-back for Wales as they played out an impressive draw with Belgium, securing a slot as one of the seeded teams in the World Cup play-offs. The Liverpool man impressed, and was singled out for special praise by Henry Winter, the Chief Football Writer for The Times:
This very site set off some lively debate around Williams when it was suggested that he could prove to be an option further up the pitch, emulating the journey of countryman Gareth Bale in this respect. He ended up copying Bale in a different way for the national side, getting handed a start at left-back.
Williams looked impressively assured on his weaker side, and nearly secured all three points for Wales in spectacular fashion. Cutting in on his right, he unleashed a fierce effort from outside the box; only a fingertip save from Koen Casteels denied him. The 20-year-old started his career as a winger, only moving to try and forge a path to the first-team, and his attacking instincts look as sharp as ever.
Perhaps not Bale, but certainly a potential option for a few games when Mané and Mohamed Salah leave for the African Cup of Nations.
Klopp has £67m ‘favourite solution’
Alternatively, Liverpool could turn to the transfer market to ease their AFCON woes, and Jürgen Klopp reportedly has a £67m ‘favourite solution’.
The man in question, according to Jornal de Notícias (via the Mirror), is Porto’s Luis Díaz. The 24-year-old Colombian is having by far his most productive season to date, having scored nine goals and assisted two in just 11 Liga NOS games. He also has two strikes to his name in the Champions League.
A left-winger with occasional experience on the right and at centre-forward, he could be a useful option for Klopp, copying the Diogo Jota mould of providing both cover and competition to the front three. However, the £67m asking price seems huge for a player who has only really emerged this season. It would be a shock if FSG were to sanction such a transfer, so Klopp may well have to forego his so-called favourite.