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Naby Keita

RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has revealed that Liverpool actually beat Barcelona in acquiring the signature of Naby Keita this summer, mainly due to the fact that the Catalonians “didn’t try as hard” to get him.

Liverpool were heavily pursuing the Guinea international throughout the summer and even saw a couple of bids get rejected. Leipzig, on their part, were obviously reluctant to lose him, but couldn’t hold onto him for longer.

However, there happened to be a release clause of £48m in Keita’s contract which could have only been triggered in the summer of 2018, and Liverpool, after paying an undisclosed premium on top of his clause, managed to secure his services. The 22-year-old midfielder will join Liverpool on 1 July 2018.

Now it has been revealed that Liverpool weren’t the only club vying for Keita’s signing during the summer as Inter Milan were reportedly in the chase as well.

And Barcelona too eventually entered the fray and their technical secretary Robert Fernandez and assistant Urbano Ortega even travelled to Germany back in August to keep a track on his and Leon Goretzka’s progress, by watching the Bundesliga clash between Schalke and Leipzig in Gelsenkirchen.

Barcelona were then chasing Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho and with us playing hardball, Catalan publication Mundo Deportivo (h/t IBTimes) claimed that Keita had been identified as their final option.

No move ever materialised, but Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has admitted that Barcelona were officially in the fray, but couldn’t manage to match Liverpool’s effort, hence failing to reach a positive conclusion.

“That’s right [Jurgen Klopp has his favourite player], even more so because Barcelona were also interested in Naby Keita,” he said during an interview with SportBild (h/t ESPN). “This was confirmed to us by Barcelona, but obviously they didn’t try as hard as Liverpool.”

Mintzlaff also said that Keita wanted to move to Liverpool as early as possible, but that sporting director Ralf Rangnick suggested that the club wouldn’t sell any of their first team regulars, as they had secured a Champions League berth after finishing second in the league last season.

“He wanted the transfer this summer. But [Leipzig sporting director] Ralf Rangnick told the team that we will not sell any players [at that time],” he said.

“This was not lip service — it was set in stone. Had we released Keita, other players might have come up with a similar idea.”

Naby Keita will surely be a difference next season and I can’t really wait to see him arrive at the club.

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“This one is definitely the answer” – Former Tottenham boss claims this Liverpool star is the signing of the season

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Alisson Liverpool

Former Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood shared his opinion on who the best signing has been in the Premier League this season.

The Englishman went for a goalkeeper and named Alisson while discussing the signings with Robbie Savage on BT Sport (h/t Express):

“They needed to fix a problem they had, and a goalkeeper was obviously a problem for Liverpool.

“They’ve tried to sign goalkeepers in the past and it hasn’t been the answer – this one is definitely the answer.

“He’s outstanding on his feet, he sets the moves off very quickly but most importantly, he keeps the ball out the net. He makes big saves at the right time.

“He has quiet periods in games then he makes a huge save – and that is, for me, a tell-tale sign of a world class goalie.”

Alisson

Alisson has made several top quality saves since joining Liverpool. The one against Eden Hazard vs Chelsea, the point-blank save off Andre Gomes in the Merseyside derby and his latest was the incredible last-minute save in the Napoli tie.

Sherwood talked up that save in the Champions League and claimed it was Peter Schmeichel-esque. The Englishman also claimed that the Brazilian would have saved the Demba Ba goal during that incredible 2013-14 season where we missed the title.

“You can’t win zero without a good goalkeeper. Right now, Liverpool, they haven’t got the best but they’re right up there with the top three keepers in the Premier League.”

Read more: Liverpool star claims this action against Napoli was similar to scoring a goal

The former AS Roma keeper has conceded just 7 goals from 17 Premier League games, and it will be interesting to see if he can keep more clean sheets in the remainder of the campaign.

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“Dont know where he goes from here now” – Some Liverpool fans concerned about youngster returning from loan deal

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Ovie Ejaria and Jurgen Klopp

Ovie Ejaria is set to return to Liverpool and end his loan spell with Rangers early. The club released a statement regarding the 21-year-old who scored two goals in 28 games for Steven Gerrard’s side. The release added this was the best move for all involved.

“However, following discussions between the two clubs, as well as Ejaria and his family, it has been determined an early return to the Reds is in the best interests of all parties concerned.”

The release thanked the Scottish giants for helping the 21-year-old Englishman, and it will be interesting to see what the next step for the youngster would be.

Ejaria is one of the highly rated players in our youth system but for some reason, things just did not work out for him at Rangers.

We have another star on loan at Rangers in Ryan Kent, and the winger has been doing pretty well at the club. Many Liverpool fans chipped in with their thoughts regarding the return of Ejaria, and here are some reactions from Twitter.

Read more: Liverpool star claims this action against Napoli was similar to scoring a goal

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Xherdan Shaqiri shocks the Red Devils – Liverpool player ratings from 3-1 win over Man United

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Xherdan Shaqiri Liverpool

Liverpool 3-1 Man United: Shaqiri double seals the deal for the Reds

Jurgen Klopp finally got a win over Manchester United in the Premier League. Liverpool picked up a 3-1 win over their biggest rivals and jumped back to the top of the table.

Sadio Mane got the opener but things took a turn when Alisson spilt a cross and Jesse Lingard scored in the first half.

The Reds dominated the game but things weren’t working. However, Xherdan Shaqiri came off the bench and scored a couple of deflected goals as Anfield went wild. This was a well deserved win for the Reds and here are the player ratings from the game.

Liverpool Player Ratings

Alisson – 6.5/10

The Brazilian looked alright with the ball at his feet but his mistake could have been huge had we not won the game. Alisson looked calmer in the second half and was barely troubled.

Nathaniel Clyne – 7/10

Got a start in the Premier League and did a decent job at the back. The Englishman could be a huge bonus for us in the remainder of the season.

Dejan Lovren Mohamed Salah

Dejan Lovren – 7/10

It was great seeing Lovren not make any mistakes at the back, even though some of his passes weren’t the best.

Virgil van Dijk – 8/10

The Dutch defender did a great job at the back and was rarely troubled by the physical Romelu Lukaku.

Andy Robertson – 7.5/10

The left-back’s crosses weren’t the best but his energy down the flank was brilliant and he had a couple of crucial interceptions to keep United from scoring.

Georginio Wijnaldum – 7.5/10

Another regular Wijnaldum performance as he ran his socks off and kept things moving for the Reds.

Fabinho – 8.5/10

This was a fantastic performance from the Brazilian as he controlled the midfield and had a brilliant assist for Mane’s opener.

Georginio Wijnaldum

Naby Keita – 7/10

The Guinea midfielder was played on the left and did a good enough job with his running.

Sadio Mane – 8/10

The misses against Napoli won’t count for much now as he scored the first goal of the game. The Senegal attacker even set up the second goal, although there were a few deflections.

Roberto Firmino – 7.5/10

Again, the Brazilian was played behind Mohamed Salah but it didn’t matter as he put in a great shift by harassing the United players.

Mohamed Salah – 7/10

The Egyptian was marked well by the United defence but he kept on running, trying to create.

Roberto Firmino of Liverpool

Substitutes

Xherdan Shaqiri – 9/10

What a substitution. The Swiss was the spark for the Reds in the second half and no one from Liverpool will care that both his goals came off deflections. He was quick on the ball on both occasions and made United pay.

Read more: “It was worth it” – Liverpool star’s verdict on Klopp’s £8,000 worth celebration against Everton

Jordan Henderson – NA

Came on late to keep things calm.

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