Welcome to the Liverpool ECHO's Friday live blog for your latest Liverpool news, rumours and transfer gossip.

Liverpool are reportedly interested in Vinicius Junior and are unlikely to sign Eder Militao, while Bayern Munich admit Dayot Upamecano interest.

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Listen to the Blood Red podcast

Join Ian Doyle, Matt Addison, David Lynch and host Guy Clarke as they ask ‘what’s going on at Liverpool?’

The defending champions have now gone five matches without a win and 438 minutes without a goal in the Premier League - while their proud Anfield run is over.

And following the 1-0 loss to Burnley, which ended their 68-game unbeaten league home run, major questions are now being asked about Liverpool’s ability to defend their title and whether the incredible team Jurgen Klopp has built is coming to the end of its cycle.

The Friday edition of the Blood Red podcast attempts to answer those questions and examine the reasons for the Reds’ worrying run of form - from the form of the full-backs and the forwards to the absence of Jordan Henderson, Virgil van Dijk and supporters.

And there’s also a preview of Sunday’s FA Cup fourth-round tie at Manchester United.

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he “doesn’t understand” Jurgen Klopp’s suggestion that his side played defensively last weekend.

United and Liverpool played out a 0-0 draw at Anfield last weekend, with Old Trafford twice going close in the second half.

He said:

“We attacked every time we got the ball, maybe too much. We kept giving it away, that was the challenge. We went forward too quickly.

“The thought that we weren’t attacking, I don’t understand that one. We kept giving it away.

“It’s the quality of what we did, we need to do better. We tried to press them high. It’s not easy, they played well, they played their way out of our press.

“We didn’t go out there to drop deep and try to soak up the pressure.

“They had five midfielders out there to play out plus a ‘keeper who is very capable. When you look back at it, I think it was a good game by the two teams.

“We played against a top Liverpool team. Yes, [Virgil] van Dijk is not there but everyone’s got an injury or two here or there.

“I was very pleased with the performance when I looked at it after.”

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester United counterpart Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Bayern want Upamecano

Bayern Munich have confirmed their intention to sign Dayot Upamecano this summer.

The 22-year-old French international has been monitored by a host of Europe’s elite clubs, including Premier League pair Liverpool and Manchester United.

He is RB Leipzig in the summer, despite having only signed a new contract last summer, inserting a £40million release clause in his deal which becomes active this summer.

And on Thursday, Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge confirmed his club are eyeing a move for the defender.

He said:

“We will of course deal with it, not only with this player, but in principle with all the positions where we want and need to do something.”

Asked about a potential transfer agreement, Rummenigge added: “It’s too early for something like that, he’s still a Leipzig player at least until the end of the season.

“But it’s common knowledge that he has a clause in his contract.”

Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig
Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig (Image: Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images)

Klopp admits he has made Liverpool transfer recommendations

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed there has been no change in Liverpool’s transfer policy - having earlier prompted fears of a disagreement with Fenway Sports Group.

Klopp raised eyebrows in the wake of the Reds’ dire 1-0 Premier League defeat at home to Burnley on Thursday when he hinted at frustration at being unable to do business during this month’s transfer window.

The Reds have been short of centre-back options for much of the campaign with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez recovering from long-term knee problems and Joel Matip suffered a succession of niggling complaints.

Klopp admitted earlier this month he may have bolstered his squad this month were it not for the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on Liverpool’s finances.

Ian Doyle has the full story here.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp Signs A Contract Extension and chats with Sporting Director Michael Edwards and Mike Gordon FSG President and Liverpool F.C owner at Melwood Training Ground on December 13, 2019 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 13: (THE SUN OUT, THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp chats with Sporting Director Michael Edwards and Mike Gordon FSG President

Jurgen Klopp LIVE

We are going to be taking a short break from here and heading over to our LIVE Jurgen Klopp press conference blog.

The Reds boss is likely to be asked about his side’s poor run of form, the latest injury news from his squad, and what he expects from United this weekend.

Follow all the action here.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has been speaking about Burnley
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

De Paul ‘scouted’

Liverpool have reportedly sent scouts out to watch Udinese midfielder Rodrigo de Paul.

According to Fabrizio Romano, via Anfield Watch, the Reds have been scouting the Udinese captain.

Reports started to emerge at the start of this month that De Paul, who was linked with Leeds United in the summer, is being eyed as a possible replacement for Georginio Wijnaldum.

De Paul made the move to Udinese from Valencia for a transfer fee of €3 million back in 2016.

Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese
Rodrigo de Paul of Udinese (Image: Marco Canoniero/LightRocket via Getty Images)

National media react to Burnley loss

Liverpool crashed to a 1-0 home defeat against Burnley last night as their alarming slump continued.

Despite remaining the top scorers in the league, the Reds have drawn a blank for four successive games.

Jurgen Klopp’s men are currently down in fourth place - six points behind leaders Manchester United after 19 matches.

And our man Sean Bradbury has taken a look at what the national media made of the performance at Anfield and where the title race stands now.

Read the full story now.

Jurgen Klopp speaks with Takumi Minamino after Liverpool's defeat to Burnley - their first at Anfield in the Premier League in almost four years
Jurgen Klopp speaks with Takumi Minamino after Liverpool's defeat to Burnley - their first at Anfield in the Premier League in almost four years (Image: Getty)

Carragher admits concerns over five Liverpool players

Jamie Carragher has picked out five Liverpool players who are struggling amid the club’s poor run of form.

Liverpool have not won any of their last five Premier League fixtures, or scored a single goal in their previous four, after being beaten by Burnley last night.

And Carragher believes that five key stars are not anywhere near the usual standards they set last season.

He told Sky Sports after the game:

“I can’t remember a time when this Liverpool team have been so out of form.

“The front three and the full-backs – all five of them – don’t feel anywhere near their best.

“It’s not just that they’re not scoring, it’s the general play as well. You saw with [Mohamed] Salah, three or four times he just ran into defenders.

“Liverpool supporters will be massively frustrated. This team has brought the title back but the best Liverpool teams have brought that standard year in year out.”

Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher
Former Liverpool player Jamie Carragher

Militao deal 'unlikely happen'

Liverpool will reportedly be unable to sign Eder Militao from Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window.

According to Kevin Palmer of the Sunday World, the transfer is unlikely to happen as he would want to come in and be a first-choice at the back.

He told Football Insider:

“I have seen him play quite a bit and I really rate him. A Brazil international who is strong, quick, and still of a very good age as well.

“Can I see it happening? Probably not. If he was to leave Real Madrid to go to Liverpool, he would want to start. He would not want to go there to be a back-up.

“I cannot see it but it all depends on what he has been told by the club because wherever he goes, he would want to be playing.”

Eder Militao of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid v Shakhtar Donetsk at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano
Eder Militao

De Bruyne in race to face Liverpool

Kevin De Bruyne is facing a battle to be fit for Manchester City’s for Liverpool next month.

The Belgian midfielder had to be substituted before the hour-mark against Aston Villa on Wednesday after picking up a hamstring injury.

And according to the Manchester Evening News, that leaves De Bruyne a doubt for City’s trip to Anfield in 16 days time.

The report also claims that the playmaker could miss City’s game against Tottenham and Arsenal in the following fortnight.

Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne
Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne (Image: (Mike Egerton/PA Wire))

Milner message

Liverpool star has posted a message to the club’s supporters following defeat to Burnley last night.

He wrote on Twitter:

“You’ll Never Walk Alone is more important than ever right now. No good comes from feeling sorry for ourselves and excuses won’t help. It’s on us, all of us,to fight our way back.We’re at our strongest when we are one force- players & supporters, TOGETHER”

Origi 'eyed' by Leipzig

German side RB Leipzig are now reportedly considering a move to sign Liverpool forward Divock Origi.

According to German outlet Sport Bild, via Get German Football News, Origi has emerged on the radar over a possible loan transfer in the current transfer window.

The report goes on to add that the Liverpool striker is one of three candidates considered by the Bundesliga heavyweights to bolster their attack.

Origi has recently been linked with moves to Wolves and Inter Milan, and although he has game time limited this season, he did start in the defeat to Burnley last night.

Divock Origi of Liverpool
Divock Origi of Liverpool (Image: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Burnley post-game podcast

Liverpool have lost their 68-game unbeaten Premier League record at Anfield after Ashley Barnes’ 83rd-minute penalty saw Burnley take all three points.

The Reds are now four games without a goal in the league too as their struggles in front of the net continue.

Join Guy Clarke as we hear from Jurgen Klopp’s press conference and the ECHO’s Liverpool FC correspondent Paul Gorst from Anfield, while our regular contributors Hannah Pinnock, Ross Strachan and Mark Baker all give their take.

Enjoy!

Odegaard's 'destiny' is Arsenal

Arsenal are poised to sign Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid, with Kike Marin reporting it is his ‘destiny’ to move to north London.

Real Sociedad were keen on a reunion with the 22-year-old, who excelled on loan in the Basque county last season, but the Gunners ‘pushed harder’ for a deal.

A move would see Odegaard reunite with fellow Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos in the capital.

A boyhood Liverpool fan, the Reds were one of numerous sides the playmaker took in as a 15-year-old, even training with Brendan Rodgers’ first team squad, when weighing up his options when deciding to leave Stromsgodset.

But despite his allegiances to Liverpool, it wasn’t enough to sway him to make Anfield his home, as the teenager agreed to sign for Real Madrid in January 2015.

Speaking back in 2015 , Odegaard himself said:

“I visited Liverpool, the two Manchester teams and they were all very nice but my choice was Real Madrid and I am very happy with that.

“Madrid is very good. It is the best place if you want to become a better footballer. I have been given the No 10 shirt (at Castilla) and it is a big responsibility having that number but it is the one that I like and I am just going to enjoy it.”

Real Madrid's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard
Real Madrid's Norwegian midfielder Martin Odegaard (Image: (OSCAR DEL POZO/AFP via Getty Images))

Ibe opens up on 'suffering with depression'

Former Liverpool and current Derby County midfielder Jordon Ibe has opened up on he is in a “dark place” and “suffering with depression”.

Ibe joined Bournemouth from Liverpool in a £16m deal in 2016, but left the club for Derby in the summer after his contract expired.

The 25-year-old has since made one first-team appearance since joining the Rams, and he took to social media last night to explain the reasons behind his absence.

He wrote on Instagram:

“I want to apologise to all my fans around the world.

“I’ve find (sic) myself in a dark place, due to suffering with depression.

“It’s no scheme for the media or to have my name in your mouths, I just find things hard truly.

“I appreciate all the love and messages from everyone.

“Times are hard in general due to this pandemic. I have the full support from my family and Derby County football club.

“I will fix myself and this situation, which I’m 100 per cent committed to. Not only for my family, close friend or my daughter but for me.”

Jordon Ibe
Jordon Ibe (Image: (John Walton/PA Wire))

Souness' damning verdict on Origi

Graeme Souness delivered a brutal verdict on Divock Origi after he missed a golden chance during Liverpool’s defeat against Burnley.

The Reds hadn’t scored in their previous three Premier League matches after drawing blanks against Newcastle United, Southampton and Manchester United and failed to break down the Clarets at Anfield.

To make matters worse, Ashley Barnes netted a late penalty to secure all three points for the visitors and leave Liverpool six points behind league leaders Manchester United.

It summed up Liverpool’s struggles in front of goal in 2021 and Souness was rather unforgiving in his assessment of Origi’s miss.

Elliot Jackson has the full story here.

Graeme Souness wasn't impressed with Divock Origi's miss.
Graeme Souness wasn't impressed with Divock Origi's miss. (Image: Sky Sports.)

Vinicius linked

Liverpool are reportedly among a number of clubs said to be keen on signing Real Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

According to a report by Spanish publication Diario, the Reds are said to be in the hunt for Vinicius, who has been a regular squad member for Madrid this season.

And another by The Express claims that Los Blancos are trying to raise funds to bring Kylian Mbappe to the club this summer and could well sacrifice the 20-year-old to help fund such a move.

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid warming up during the La Liga Santander match between Real Madrid and Granada CF at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano
Vinicius Junior (Image: Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Klopp hints at frustration with January transfer stance

Jurgen Klopp has admitted it is not his decision if Liverpool are able to make a move in the January transfer window.

The Reds slumped to their third Premier League defeat of the season on Thursday night as a 68-game unbeaten run at Anfield was ended by Burnley.

Ashley Barnes’ late penalty was enough to bring down a run in the Premier League that stretches back to April 2017 and the result leaves the champions six points behind leaders Manchester United.

Klopp, though, says such plans are out of his hands as club owners Fenway Sports Group continue to take a careful approach to finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

Paul Gorst has the full story here.

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp gestures on the touchline during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Burnley at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on January 21, 2021. (Photo by PETER POWELL / POOL / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No video emulation. Social media in-match use limited to 120 images. An additional 40 images may be used in extra time. No use in betting publications, games or single club/league/player publications. / (Photo by PETER POWELL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Jurgen Klopp

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