There are growing concerns over Jurgen Klopp’s future at Liverpool and it reportedly has them lining up a replacement.
The Mirror reports that Steven Gerrard has been identified as the preferred successor to Klopp should he leave.
It comes after reports Klopp could quit the club and opt to take up the role as manager of the German national team in place of Joachim Low.
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Klopp is currently contracted until 2024 except the report claims he could take over Low at the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Hence, Liverpool are said to have looked into potential replacements and Gerrard tops that list.
The former Reds star is in his third full season at the helm of the Rangers, who sit 15 points ahead of second-placed Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
While there may be doubt surrounding Klopp’s future, the man himself says there is no need for a rebuild in the playing group.
“I don’t think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it: six, seven out, running contracts but trying to get rid of them and bring in all the new faces.
“The squad of this year didn’t have the chance to play together one time really. I think it would make sense to have a look at that but on top of that, of course little readjustments will happen.”
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KLOPP’S EMPHATIC SALAH CLAIM
Speaking of Klopp, he has shut down lingering concerns that Mohamed Salah could be eyeing an exit.
Salah has previously spoken about his admiration towards La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Calling them “two top clubs”, he admitted previously to not knowing “what will happen in the future”, prompting speculation he could leave Liverpool.
That speculation has not impacted his on-field performances, with the star forward netting 17 goals so far from 25 games.
His stellar form has only ramped up concerns in the Liverpool fanbase that they could lose their strike weapon but Klopp is not so sure.
“It’s just a bit awkward when I have to praise my own players, which I like to do to be honest, but especially in Mo’s case, the numbers speak for themselves,” Klopp told the Liverpool Echo.
“Mo is not only a goalscorer, he has developed as a footballer as well. He is a very, very important player for us and hopefully he will be that for a very long time of course.”
Klopp too has insisted he is committed to Liverpool having signed a long-term deal which is set to keep him at the club until 2023.
KANE ‘HIGHLY UNLIKELY’ TO GET BIG DOLLARS
In other news, Tottenham is set to receive a boost with Harry Kane poised to stay put although the reason won’t fill the club with confidence moving forward.
The Telegraph reports it is “highly unlikely” an offer in the next window will be big enough to tempt Tottenham into selling Kane.
That is due to the increasing concern that Europe’s heavyweight clubs won’t have the necessary funds to spend big in the COVID-impacted transfer market.
While Tottenham insist they want Kane, the report in The Telegraph adds that: “they are also aware that he will, eventually, become a ‘depreciating’ asset as his contract runs down and that the striker is desperate to win trophies.”
Kane was linked to a reunion with former boss Mauricio Pochettino at PSG earlier this month, with claims the move would depend of the futures of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Jose Mourinho addressed rumours of a Kane exit prior but he was less-than-convincing in silencing the noise.
“To win a trophy, [Kane] just needs to win one game,” Mourinho said.
“You have to ask Harry, but I think ‘to wait’ is not the right way to describe it. Is to fight for it, is to fight for it.
“But it’s something very personal that I think he is the right guy to have a conversation with you about it.”
RIVALS CIRCLE LEICESTER’S BARNES
Leicester City look set to beat two rival clubs and re-sign 23-year old star Harvey Barnes.
The Mirror reports that both Manchester United and Liverpool have shown interest in the promising midfielder but Leicester are in “advanced talks” to end all the speculation and tie him down long term.
Barnes’ current deal will have three years remaining at the end of this season but with nine goals and four assists in the Premier League, he has attracted plenty of attention and the Foxes are hoping to reward him.
Securing a longer deal would also put Leicester in a stronger position on the negotiating table if clubs circled Barnes again in the future.
It comes after manager Brendan Rodgers lauded the youngster’s rapid rise at the club.
“Harvey I thought was incredible,” he said after a win over Aston Villa.
“His finish looked easy but it wasn’t.
“When you’re a young player it’s about adjusting and adapting. His confidence and finishing is much better. He looks like he’s going to score in every game he plays.
“He’s a great learner and a big talent.”
Gareth Southgate weighs in on Harry Kane and Jadon Sancho transfer interest ahead of Euros
EPL news 2021, Championship promotion race, table, fixtures, results, state of play, playoffs, latest
It’s dubbed the richest race in football.
The Championship as a division is an odd one. It’s the Premier League’s recycle bin, full of discarded teams the top tier has no need for anymore, each climbing on top of each other to get out and back into the big time.
Some bounce straight back, like Fulham and West Brom, who have been tossed away for a season only to return immediately. Others don’t, like Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest and Derby County, who are more like an ordinary stick when compared to their Premier League-seeking, boomeranging rivals.
This season, the Championship has two clubs at the top riding that boomerang back to the wealth and riches of the Premier League.
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Norwich City are the runaway leaders at the top and look set to become only the sixth break 100 points in a Championship season. They’ve won 27 of their 41 games so far, boasting the second best attack and the second best defence in the league.
They’re eight points clear of second-placed Norwich and 15 clear of third-placed Swansea, who have a game in hand knowing that anything less than a win will secure the Canaries’ return to the Premier League. In fact, by the time Norwich next play, in a game which only 12 months ago was a Premier League fixture against Bournemouth, they could already be up.
Watford behind them don’t quite have Norwich’s Thanos-level inevitability yet, but still look a very safe bet to return automatically after a huge swing over the last five games between themselves and chasing Brentford.
The Bees, who just missed out in the play-off final last year, were just two points behind their Vespidae family members Watford five games ago on 67 points. But while the Hornets picked up 13 points over that period, Brentford were stung with just seven to all but condemn them to the play-offs.
Neither Watford nor Norwich saw any of their top players pillaged from them upon their relegation, with both managing to keep the majority of their Premier League squads together to come straight back up.
Watford even managed to restrict themselves to just the one managerial sacking this time around, having terminated three head coaches in the previous season.
Brentford, on the other hand, were the classic case of a well-oiled machine malfunctioning at the final moment last season and seeing all of their key cogs bought from them, as the likes of Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma moved to Aston Villa and West Ham respectively.
The Bees’ Moneyball-esque recruitment combined with their manager’s “no d***head” policy got them incredibly close last year and they’ll be favourites to go up via the play-off route again this time around.
However, just two points behind them is a team even more Moneyball than them, on account of one of their owners being the guy who made it famous at the Oakland Athletics in baseball and was portrayed by Brad Pitt in the movie.
Billy Beane is part of the international consortium who took over Barnsley when they were relegated to League One two seasons ago and implemented a recruitment strategy based on statistics, efficiency and youth to see them promoted back to the Championship, survive relegation last year and mount a play-off challenge this time.
Barnsley can mathematically still claim automatic promotion, as unlikely as it is, and have a five-point buffer from those still hoping to steal a late place in the top six, with just five games remaining.
This time of the season is all about form and there is always one team who surrenders their seemingly-cemented play-off position to latest of the party gatecrashers.
The team that looked like they’d have that fate this year is Swansea, who up until the weekend had lost four games on the spin to go from level on points with Watford to 10 points behind them. They narrowed it to seven with a victory overnight and while their players will be craning their necks to look up the table at what could have been, perhaps they should be aware of what is happening below them.
Bournemouth are currently the team with the most momentum and have got into the top six with that gatecrashing intention we mentioned earlier.
The Cherries, who struggled at the start of the season to come to terms to life without long-term manager Eddie Howe, are on a run of five consecutive wins to overhaul seventh-placed Reading.
After a strong start to the season, Reading are paying the price for some poor form which has seen them pick up just one win in the last five games.
It is unlikely anyone else will get involved in the conversation from here on in, with Cardiff and Milwall 12 and 13 points off the playoffs now, although crazier things have happened, right Nottingham Forest fans?
Sorry, too soon.
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