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Liverpool news and transfers LIVE - Gini Wijnaldum contract

Hello and welcome to the Liverpool ECHO Wednesday live blog for all your very latest Liverpool news, rumours and transfer gossip.

The ECHO will provide breaking stories, reaction and comment to all the big talking points from Anfield as well as keeping tabs on transfer market gossip from around the world.

We are building up to the Champions League clash against Atalanta with all the latest on the fitness of Mohamed Salah and his Liverpool team-mates.

Get involved and send your thoughts to @LivEchoLFC or @CBeesleyECHO .

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Live Q&A with Robertson

We have a live Q&A with Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson on Sunday.

Don't miss it!

Tonight's line-up - new role for Minamino

Takumino Minamino during the match between Ajax and Liverpool (Image: ANP Sport via Getty Images)

Some of the ECHO's sportsdesk have been picking their Liverpool starting line-ups for tonight's game with Atalanta.

Ian Doyle reckons it's time to deploy Takumi Minamino in a new role.

He writes:

The Champions League equals changes. At least that has been the way for Liverpool for much of their Group D campaign this season.

And what I'm referring to as "the midweek team" gets another run-out this evening - not least because, with five substitutions, if everything starts going wrong Klopp can just chuck a load of regulars on in the second half.

Goalkeeper is a given - Alisson Becker, although if Liverpool progress tonight with victory, I'd expect Adrian to be handed a few starts in the final group games.

Defence is trickier. One of Fabinho or Matip won't be risked, and I'll go for Matip at centre-back alongside, by default, Rhys Williams.

Tsimikas has waited a long time for a start so can replace the rested Robertson, while at right-back Neco Williams will play for reasons that become obvious in the next sentence.

A lack of midfielders means Milner can begin where he finished against Leicester City, with Wijnaldum and Curtis Jones having to go again.

Up front there is some scope for change. The again-available Mohamed Salah must start, and as Sadio Mane looked exhausted on Sunday I'd have Jota on the left.

Time, too, for Takumi Minamino to have a go down the middle again.

Doku's profile still 'appeals to Liverpool’

Belgium's Jeremy Doku celebrates after scoring against Iceland (Image: DIRK WAEM/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

Jeremy Doku was linked to Liverpool while at Anderlecht but ended up joined French club Rennes in the last transfer window.

However, Sport Witness cite a report from Het Laaste Nieuws that claims the Belgian wonderkid is still on the Reds radar.

The article states:

The Merseyside club ‘rolled their eyes’ several times, but there was ‘no acute interest’ in bringing the winger to Anfield in the summer.

However, it’s stated ‘his profile appeals to Liverpool’ still.

Right now, the teenager is ‘too far in his development’ to be included in Liverpool’s U23 side, but also ‘not far enough’ to represent their first team.

Liverpool set for surprise Champions League venue change

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool, looks on as his team warms up ahead of the Champions League Group D stage match against FC Midtjylland at Anfield

Jurgen Klopp could be heading back to Dortmund as Liverpool wait to discover the venue of their Champions League group finale, writes Ian Doyle.

The Reds are away at FC Midtjylland in their closing Group D game on December 9.

Liverpool were initially scheduled to travel to Denmark for the match but that has been put in major doubt due to UK Government travel restrictions to the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

UEFA is aware of the potential issue and is continuing discussions with both clubs before making a final decision.

And while a number of alternative options for a neutral venue are on the table, Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion has emerged as most likely to host the game should it need to be switched.

Gallas rejects Liverpool's title chances

Liverpool's Luis Garcia watches his shot head for goal as Chelsea's William Gallas tries to clear the ball in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Anfield on May 3 2005 (Image: ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Despite their recent injury problems, Liverpool look well-placed to defend their crown as Premier League champions.

Liverpool and Manchester City remain the bookies' favourites to battle for the title but William Gallas believes the race will come down to Chelsea and Tottenham while dismissing Arsenal's hopes of a challenge.

The Mirror quote him as saying on Instagram:

"This result (Spurs' win over City) confirms what I said a few weeks ago.

"It’s a London team which will win the Premier League this year.

"After seeing Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham play, I already know that it won’t be Arsenal who will win the Premier League.

"I look forward to next weekend to see Chelsea against Tottenham."

A reminder that's William Gallas, formerly of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.

Lallana defends Williams over 'keyboard warriors'

Jurgen Klopp congratulates Adam Lallana after the midfielder's vital late equaliser at Old Trafford in October (Image: PA)

Former Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana has been talking about what he believes is the increasing amount of pressure on young players.

Now 32, Lallana is now very much in the veteran stage of his career and the ex-Southampton man returned to the south coast this summer to join Brighton & Hove Albion after six years at Anfield.

Lallana highlighted the recent abuse online suffered by Neco Williams.

The Independent quote him as telling the Between The Lines podcast:

“I came across it on my own socials that he took a bit of stick.

“It was such ridiculous scrutiny and opinions from these keyboard warriors.

“This is a young that is learning. Of course, you're going to have some bad moments in games.

“To see a young lad coming through at a top level for a top team having to feel like he has deactivate or whatever, it’s just sad, isn't it?

“You can have one average game and then all the keyboard warriors are out. He is a young boy still, so he is not going to be used to reading things like that.

“This is the world we live in nowadays. He’s a good lad and I’m sure he’ll be stronger for it, but it’s not something that’s needed with all the other pressures around.”

Klopp explains the factor that is Liverpool's 'secret sauce'

Jurgen Klopp looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Group D stage match between Atalanta BC and Liverpool FC at Gewiss Stadium on November 03, 2020 (Image: Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images)

Injuries have ensured that the personnel in Liverpool's line-up has been forced to change in recent weeks but the Premier League champions are still getting results.

The Reds returned to action following the international break - which had seen Joe Gomez fall victim to a long-term knee injury and Mohamed Salah ruled out after a positive coronavirus test - but swatted aside Leicester City 3-0 despite Brendan Rodgers' side coming to Anfield on the back of six straight victories.

Explaining the strength in his group in his programme notes for tonight's Champions League game with Atalanta, Klopp declared:

"As difficult as it has been recently, it does present an amazing opportunity. We saw in the performance against Leicester City just how determined and together we are. I saw a group who is full of courage and full of fight.

"We are going to need all our qualities from now until May. We will need to squeeze from ourselves more than we have ever done previously.

"I have complete faith in our group, from the most experienced player through to our youngest.

"Our performances so far, in the face of adversity, shows me these boys believe in what we do but more importantly they believe in each other.

"They trust each other. They are invested in each other. That can be our 'secret sauce'. "

'A different level' - Premier League rival hails Liverpool pair

Mo Salah congratulates Roberto Firmino after the Brazilian draws Liverpool level against Sheffield United (Image: Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Newcastle United centre-back Jamaal Lascelles has raved about Liverpool frontmen Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.

HITC quote the Magpies captain as telling the Getting Messi podcast:

“For me it’s the intelligence of the players. Every single player in the Premier League are fast, strong, sharp and physical.

"But there’s a difference in the intelligence. That’s what takes teams like City and Liverpool to a different level.

“The intelligence of someone like a David Silva, Aguero, Salah or Firmino – they don’t even need physical attributes as they just know their role and know football.”

Happy Birthday Xabi

Many happy returns to former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso who celebrates his 39th birthday today.

Injury update on Elliott

Harvey Elliott of Blackburn Rovers in action

With players dropping like flies at Liverpool in recent weeks, the last thing Reds needed to see was Anfield wonderkid Harvey Elliott going off injured on loan at Blackburn Rovers last night in their Lancashire Derby with Preston North End.

A sub himself, Elliott entered the fray at Deepdale just after the hour mark with Rovers 2-0 up in a game they'd win 3-0.

However, the 17-year-old last just 20 minutes before having to make way for team-mate John Buckley.

However, the article adds that Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray hopes Elliott's injury won't prove to be serious.

He said:

"The early news is that we hope it’s just a kick.

“It’s come up pretty quickly, a bruise, but it doesn’t look like it’s badly damaged.

“When you think of a knee injury you think of ligaments but it doesn’t seem to be anything like that.

“Just a pretty severe kick and we’re hoping that’s all it is.

“People like Harvey Elliott cannot play every three days.

“The eight first-team players we have unavailable we need to get them back as soon as we can.”

Teixeira hails 'master' Klopp

Liverpool's Joao Carlos Teixeira and West Ham United's Cheikhou Kouyate battle for the ball (Image: Nigel French/PA Wire)

Former Liverpool winger Joao Teixeira departed the Reds back in 2016 at the end of Jurgen Klopp's first season in charge.

After subsequent spells back in his native Portugal with Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes, he is now with Dutch side Feyenoord.

However, the Reds boss' influence rubbed off on the now 27-year-old.

Rousing the Kop quote Teixeira as telling Portuguese outlet Record:

“The style of play and the way Jurgen pulls on players is unique, but I believe he’d be successful in any way for the quality he has.

“He’s special for the personal relationship he has with the players, as well as for the tactical work.

“He’s a master. He manages to combine the two and that is what makes him so successful.

“He’s a person who likes to be in touch, in a good mood, it’s easy to have a good relationship with him.”

Atalanta know they cannot repeat errors against Liverpool

Coach Gian Piero Gasperini during the UEFA Champions League match between Atalanta Bergamo v Ajax at the Stadio Atleti Azzurri d Italia on October 27, 2020 (Image: Photo by Mattia Ozbot/Soccrates/Getty Images)

The corresponding away fixture in Bergamo to tonight's Champions League game between Liverpool and Atalanta at Anfield proved to be a horror show for the Serie A side as Jurgen Klopp's men routed them 5-0.

Their coach Gian Piero Gasperini admitted they'll have to do much better on this occasion.

Gianluca Di Marzio quotes him as saying:

"The match tomorrow is very complicated and presents a lot of difficulty. We are facing a very strong squad who are doing extraordinary things.

"To be able to compete in the Champions League is an opportunity, but we want to have good performances.

"We want to do better than in the first match, we will try to not commit errors which led to a cut and dry result.

"We think we can prevent them from getting so many gifts from us.

"They are both strong and technical, and clearly in that aspect we will need to be much better.

"The Champions League journey we are on has been two years long. The level of competition is different from the Europa League, but everything we achieve we do on the pitch.

"We will never stop learning. Tomorrow we will look to take advantage of set pieces.

"This matters a lot to us, we will look to make the best of the situation, we absolutely must get better."

Gini Wijnaldum Contract

Former England goalkeeper Paul Robinson reckons Liverpool will ‘throw’ another contract at Gini Wijnaldum.

That’s not very nice, is it?

Football Insider report that James Pearce of The Athletic admitted last week that Liverpool are ‘resigned’ to losing Wijnaldum when his contract expires in the summer.

But Robinson believes the Dutch international proved his quality against Leicester City last weekend.

“If Wijnaldum went in the summer they would have been really short on Sunday,” the former Leeds United shot-stopper said.

“He proved against Leicester that he is still a top-class player.

“There was a big onus on his shoulders because of the injuries Liverpool have had and you can see that if he was to leave at the end of the season he would leave a huge hole.

“Liverpool will throw another contract at him and try to get him to sign because if he does leave they will need to find a replacement.”

Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum warming up
Please don't go!

Good Morning!

Salutations!

Welcome to your latest instalment of Liverpool news, views, opinion and transfer tittle-tattle.

I’m still in bed and this message is delivered via time machine, but Chris Beesley will join you shortly for all the best and breaking stories from around the globe.

In the meantime, here are a collection of my favourite stories from the last 24 hours.

I hope your morning is running smoothly.

Let’s get going!

Football news:

Conte on 2-1 with Milan: Before the winning goal, the result was unfair. Their goalkeeper is the best player of the match
Mikel Arteta: Arsenal did everything right, but they lost. Wins give confidence
Nicolo Barella: We proved that we are stronger than Milan
Go do your voodoo shit, you little ass. Ibrahimovic-Lukaku during the Cup match
Pioli on the defeat by Inter: The only difference was the relegation. There could be any result in equal teams
UEFA has no plans to abandon the Euro in 12 cities. Other options are undesirable
Eriksen scored for Inter for the first time in almost six months - Milan in the Cup in the 97th minute from a free kick