Welcome to the Liverpool ECHO's Wednesday live blog for your latest Liverpool news, rumours and transfer gossip.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has reportedly handed Liverpool a fitness boost, while we have the latest on James Milner and Thiago.
Send your thoughts to @LivEchoLFC or @ConnorOn95, subscribe to our FREELiverpool FC newsletter, our YouTube channel and listen to our Blood Red Podcast.
Liverpool 'considering cut-price Ozan Kabak deal'
Liverpool are said to be considering a cut-price deal for Schalke defender Ozan Kabak according to reports in Germany.
The Reds have been linked with a number of centre backs ahead of the January transfer window with first choice pairing Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez both facing lengthy lay-offs.
Kabak is one of the defenders most frequently linked with a move to Anfield and Bild (via This Is Anfield) say Liverpool are now seriously considering him.
They suggest the quoted fee for Kabak has come down from near €40 million in summer to €25m now and claim Schalke may do business even lower.
Your latest Liverpool.com podcast
Join Dan Morgan, Joel Rabinowitz and Mark Wakefield as they look back on a landmark night for Curtis Jones, Caoimhin Kelleher and Neco Williams - and potentially Liverpool's season, too
City Council confirm supporter return decision
BREAKING: Liverpool City Council confirm supporter return decision for Everton and [email protected] has the storyhttps://t.co/fkciQbZfBs— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) December 2, 2020
Jones ahead of Gerrard record and it shows why Liverpool are excited
Liverpool midfielder Curtis Jones has now scored at least once in each competition he has played for the Reds in after his goal against Ajax in the Champions League
Love this, @curtisjr_10https://t.co/z11mFbEFHV— Liverpool FC News (@LivEchoLFC) December 2, 2020
Schuurs addresses Liverpool rumours
Ajax defender Perr Schuurs has opened up the speculation linking him with a move to Liverpool in the January transfer window.
Liverpool have been linked with a move for the 21-year-old after a string of impressive displays for the Dutch side in the centre of defence.
But when asked about the speculation, the youngster played down the rumours linking him with a move to Anfield.
Schuurs told SBS6 via Voetbal Primeur:
“We come here for three points, but we don’t get them. We have created enough chances and [should have] earned at least one point.
“It was good, especially in the first half. Of course, I get a yellow card. Then it becomes a bit more wait-and-see, that is a factor in your head.
“Personally, I can look back on a good game, but I am disappointed that we did not get more.
“I hear and read it [Liverpool rumours] too. It’s my first season as a basic player at Ajax. I want to play here for a few more seasons and win prizes. I’m not really working on that yet.”
Thiago Alcantara missed out on the visit of Brighton at the weekend and last night’s Champions League game with Ajax.
The midfielder was also pictured at the new training ground last week but will remain sidelined for until January, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp confirmed before the Ajax game.
“Thiago we have to maybe clarify it a little bit.
“On that day when Thiago got injured in that challenge in the Everton game, there was another bad injury [to Virgil van Dijk] and after the scans it was like one was really bad news and the other one was really good news because nothing was broken, nothing was ruptured and stuff like this.
“But, as we realise now, it was still a massive impact on the knee. The problem is in a situation like that, nothing is ruptured and nothing is broken and that means everybody thinks, ‘OK, you can go after a few days’, but the impact on the leg was that big that it is still not OK.
“It is not massive and he trains from time to time, not in the moment because we just have to realise that we have to go a few further steps. I can’t say exactly when he will be fine, but it will take a few weeks still with Thiago.”
Lonergan signs for Stoke
Stoke City have completed the signing of Andy Lonergan on a short-term contract.
The 37-year-old was a free agent after spending last season with Liverpool and has also served the likes of Preston, Leeds, Bolton, Fulham and Wolves.
The Potters made a move for Lonergan after Niki Mäenpää, who joined the Club last week in a short-term deal, picked up a hand injury in training.
Jota is 'the best signing of the season so far'
Michael Owen believes Diogo Jota is “the best signing of the season so far”,as the former Wolves man looks like “the real deal”.
Jota has made a flying start to his Anfield career after being snapped up during the summer transfer window.
The 23-year-old has hit nine goals in his first 15 outings for the Reds, and Owen has been more than impressed with what he has seen.
“No one could’ve predicted that he would hit the ground running like he has.
“You’d have to say he’s the best signing of the season so far in the Premier League.
“He’s surprised me with his pace, I must admit. I think he’s far quicker than I gave him credit for. Against Atalanta he was electric.
“He just shows composure, a lot of people panic, they just get a shot off as soon as they get any form of space.
“I just think he’s scored headers, right foot, left foot, he’s scored everything so far and he’s looked the real deal in terms of linking play.
“Nobody could have envisaged the quality that he’s shown so far.”
David Alaba latest
David Alaba continues to be linked with a move to Liverpool but it appears that the Reds will face competition for his signature.
According to journalist Nicolo Schira, Juventus are really interested in the defender, but PSG and Chelsea have both offered him a 3-year himcontract.
Schira’s report also claims that talks are ongoing with his agent Pini Zahavi as Alaba is asking for a 4-year contract with a salary of €15M/year.
Anfield stadium might have to host Marine's historic FA Cup tie
Liverpool have been drawn away to Aston Villa in the FA Cup but their Anfield stadium could still host the tie of the round as Merseyside part-timers Marine take on Jose Mourinho’s Premier League leaders, Tottenham Hotspur, according to a report.
Some 167 places separate Northern Premier League Division One West outfit Marine and their visitors from London – a record for the third round.
However, the Mariners will have to seek an alternative venue to their home ground in Crosby if it cannot be made ‘Covid-19 secure.’
Rossett Park on College Road holds 3,185 of which 389 are seated but 2,000 could be permitted to attend under new coronavirus restrictions with all of Merseyside in Tier 2.
Football.london states that would make social distancing impossible and instead Marine will have to look to the surrounding area to play the match, with Liverpool’s Anfield – six miles away - and Tranmere’s Prenton Park – 10 miles - options.
Klopp told he is copying successful Sir Alex Ferguson tactic
Jurgen Klopp’s mind games and media tactics are straight from the Sir Alex Ferguson playbook, according to Rio Ferdinand.
In recent weeks Liverpool manager Klopp has deflected attention away from his players with a series of direct views, whether it be on TV schedules or the five substitutions’ rule.
And Ferdinand, the former Manchester United centre-half, believes that Klopp is copying an old ploy from his old manager - and that he is “controlling the narrative” to aid his team.
“Sometimes he’d (Ferguson) do a team talk after a game and be as calm as you like and then he’d go out for an interview and we’d see him on the TV screen and he would be going bananas about a decision no-one had even thought about.
“But that took the spotlight off someone else or something else that could derail us.
“He controlled the narrative and I think that’s what Klopp is doing very well at the moment.
“Maybe sometimes he’s talking about stuff outside of that (game) which can take away from the performance or the little creaks that happen within the 90 minutes.”
Major Champions League shake-up proposed by Uefa
Uefa is reportedly set to propose a major shake-up to the current Champions League format.
European football’s governing body is considering making changes to its flagship competition in response to the threat of a breakaway super league, according to The Times.
An apparently preferred option would see clubs playing 10 different opponents in a revamped group stage - in order to increase the number of fixtures between teams from Europe’s biggest leagues.
It is said the model, known as the “Swiss system”, could come into effect from 2024 and would mean 32 or 36 clubs competing in a single division. Not every team would play each other. Instead a draw would pick 10 matches for each club, based on a seeding system - five at home and five away.
The current format has 32 teams split into eight groups of four who play each other twice (home and away), with the proposed new format would mean four more fixtures than usual. The Times suggests that English clubs would “almost certainly” have to drop out of the domestic League Cup, while FA Cup replays could be scrapped entirely.
Under the “Swiss system”, the top 16 clubs would progress to the knockout stages, with the first-placed side facing the team in 16th, second playing 15th and so on.
Meanwhile, teams finishing between 17th and 24th would go into the Europa League knockout rounds.
Anfield return update
Liverpool have released more information about ticket sales for their match against Wolves this weekend.
As expected, tickets are only available to supporters who were successful in the ballot amd can be purchased online from 3pm today until 8am tomorrow morning.
Fans will be seated for the match in the Main Stand and Kop, and in line with social distancing measures, all seats will be available to purchase as single seats only to minimise the risk to public health and fellow supporters.
If tickets remain from the first sale, they will be made available to supporters on the waiting list.
All supporters must use their smartphone to enter the stadium as season ticket and Member cards will not be activated.
Tickets are non-transferrable, and each supporter attending must download their own individual NFC pass.
Supporters will be asked to bring photographic ID with them for checks at the turnstiles before entry. We will not allow entry if proof of ID is not provided.
While supporters will also be required to complete a health declaration form within 24 hours of kick-off.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to return to Liverpool training this week, according to a report in The Athletic.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said before the game with Ajax that Alexander-Arnold was edging closer to making his return.
And now a report by James Pearce claims Alexander-Arnold will return to full training this week in a timely boost for the Reds.
The England international was taken off during the 1-1 draw against Manchester City last month with a hamstring injury.
Robertson hits back at Salah and Mane relationship claim
Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson has rubbished claims that Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane do not get on with each other - and has explained the real relationship between the pair.
There has always been the suggestion lingering among some detractors quarters that Salah and Mane do not get on, with examples such as the disagreement at Turf Moor early last season put forward as evidence.
However, that has never truly been the case, as Robertson has outlined.
Our man Matt Addison has the full story HERE.
Adrian's performance in Liverpool training questioned
Michael Owen has questioned Adrian’s performances in training for Liverpool after Caoimhin Kelleher was selected in goal to face Ajax.
The 22-year-old made his Champions League debut for the Reds against Ajax and performed superbly, being preferred to Adrian after Alisson suffered a hamstring injury.
With Adrian usually considered Liverpool’s second-choice goalkeeper, Owen says it has raised questions over the Spaniard’s future.
“It’s a big night for him,” he said. “You’ve got to wonder what’s happened to Adrian for starters.
“He’s either played awfully in training or this kid is very good.
“I’ve watched him a couple of times, he’s decent. He’s good, he’s had a little bit of experience in the first-team before and he was also on the bench for the Champions League final against Spurs.
“So he’s seen those big occasions, he’s obviously got a big presence about him.”
Manchester United, Tottenham and Chelsea are among the clubs monitoring Brighton’s Ben White.
The centre-back impressed while on loan at Leeds United last season, and has started in all 10 of Brighton’s Premier League games so far this season.
And having been linked with the Reds during the summer, Sky Sports is now reporting that United, Spurs and Chelsea are all eyeing the 23-year-old.
While the report also adds that despite the speculation over the summer, the Reds have “no interest” in signing White.
A great night for Liverpool’s first team – and a great night for Liverpool’s Academy.
Join Paul Wheelock as we react to the 1-0 win over Ajax at Anfield that ensured Jurgen Klopp’s side booked their place in the Champions League last-16 with a game to spare - and which also proved that the Reds’ youth section continues to flourish.
When Alisson Becker was ruled out before the match, it meant that Klopp was without NINE first-team players.
But such is the faith that the Liverpool manager has in the talent emerging from the Academy, instead of replacing Alisson with Adrian, he went with Caoimhin Kelleher.
And the 22-year-old Republic of Ireland international certainly did not let Klopp down on a night also to remember for Curtis Jones, who settled the tie with his first Champions League goal for the club.
So after that frustrating and infuriating afternoon at Brighton, this is a very happy Post-Game podcast, featuring five fan callers, the verdict of the Liverpool ECHO’s Liverpool FC correspondent Paul Gorst, and Klopp’s post-match press conference in full.
In case you missed the rumours and speculation from yesterday catch up HERE and make sure you're signed up for our twice-daily Reds newsletters HERE
Kelleher reshapes Liverpool as Matip and Fabinho hold transfer key
Analysis - Ian Doyle looks back on the three key talking points and highlights after Liverpool overcome Ajax in the Champions League: read HERE
Good morning Reds!
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s Liverpool Live Blog