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Jorg Schmadtke’s Liverpool appointment remains on track



Jorg Schmadtke’s Liverpool appointment remains on track

Jorg Schmadtke’s appointment at Liverpool remains on track.

The former VfL Wolfsburg sports director is set to sign a short-term deal with Liverpool with the aim of a longer arrangement after the summer market.

The German will replace Julian Ward, who is leaving at the end of the season.

Sky Deutschland says Schmadtke’s arrival remains on track and that ‘nothing can go wrong’.

The Reds are expected to confirm his appointment next week.


Liverpool attacker may be fighting for his future after Jurgen Klopp transfer admission

When Liverpool last travelled to Southampton, 12 months ago, the 2-1 victory at St. Mary’s, coming days after the FA Cup final victory over Chelsea, marked the first time that Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott started a Premier League match together in midfield.


Since then, the pair have started just one more top-flight match together in the Reds’ engine room, yet both have made great strides during what has admittedly been a disappointing season for the club.


Up until the 0-0 draw away at Chelsea last month, Elliott had been involved in every Liverpool match this season. Even now, after a further five unused outings, only Mohamed Salah, Fabinho, Alisson, and Trent Alexander-Arnold can better his total of 45 appearances this campaign.


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Meanwhile, Jones has been a standout performer for the Reds, alongside Alexander-Arnold, since Jurgen Klopp introduced an inverted full-back system last month. In a year wrecked by injury for the majority, the 22-year-old came into the starting XI in the absence of Elliott against Chelsea and hasn’t looked back since.


With Liverpool putting together a 10-game unbeaten run as they unsuccessfully made a late surge for the Champions League places, Jones started all 10 and has returned three goals and an assist from this more offensive role.


As the Reds travel back to St. Mary’s, it would be no surprise if the pair were both selected in the engine-room together again after Klopp hinted at some changes. With a midfield revamp then planned for the summer, it is up to the pair, who are likely to represent England Under-21s at this summer’s European Championships, to push on once again when back at the AXA Training Centre.


Klopp would point to the presence of both players as one of the reasons behind his decision to sign a new contract last year, along with the arrival of one Liverpool summer signing.


“What I am really happy about is that we are in the transformation – not a transformation like ‘bam’ (clicks fingers) – it’s more slight,” Klopp said last May.


“We have another young exciting player coming in with Fab (Carvalho), we have Harvey and Curtis. After the last game I had both together and said to them ‘this is only the start’. And they were like ‘yes, with us on the pitch’. It’s really nice.


“You see them in training and they are flying because of the opportunities. Yes it’s not nice that during the season Harvey is not in the squad, it’s a crime, but I just couldn’t change it this year. So to have these boys around for this transition is important.”


Admittedly a season of transition perhaps suggests that Liverpool’s ongoing transformation won’t be as slight as Klopp would have liked. But while Jones and Elliott continue to flourish because of their opportunities, it has been a different story for Fabio Carvalho.


Out of contract last summer, the Reds agreed a compensation package of an initial £5.5m with Fulham for the former Portugal Under-21s international, who made the move to Anfield after helping the Cottagers win the Championship and promotion to the Premier League. He would have joined the previous January and been loaned back to the London outfit had a deadline day deal been completed in time.


Returning 10 goals from 36 appearances for Fulham last season, Klopp was excited by his new arrival as Liverpool continued to revamp their ageing attack.


“Fabio, wow, what a season he played with Fulham. Getting promoted (with a) football-playing (style),” Klopp told the club last year when sharing his excitement at the transfer. “Properly football-playing, it’s not easy so Marco Silva obviously did an incredible job there.


“A big part of that was absolutely Fabio. When we watched him it was a pure joy to watch him, absolutely. He can play so many different positions for us, the way we play.


“At the minute he’s not really set on one position – it’s the wing, it’s the eight, it’s the 10, it’s the false nine if he grows a few more muscles.


“It’s a short-term and a long-term project; he can start tomorrow and he needs to adapt, you can see that a little bit, but when he has the ball that’s proper quality. I’m over the moon that he’s here. Fantastic prospect.”


A year on he still has no set position, and after finding game-time increasingly hard to come by in a struggling Liverpool side, Klopp has now confirmed that the 20-year-old could leave on loan this summer.


“I think there is a maybe a possibility Fabio goes on loan but the thing is this was not Fabio’s best year in his career, clear, but it might have been his most important,” Klopp conceded on Friday. “No player has impressed me more than Fabio, it is the truth.


“This talented boy came here with big dreams and big expectations and it didn’t work out – it was okay in the beginning but it didn’t work out in the end. But his work ethic will give him a fantastic career because he trained with getting nothing.


“Players have only one issue each week: you line me up or you put me in the squad. It’s the only thing to satisfy a player. If I don’t do that it is about how the player reacts and his reactions – in a row – I never saw before. Unbelievable. I’m not sure if he will go on loan but if we keep him we will see that.”


Since then, Football Insider have reported that Burnley are interested in signing Carvalho this summer. Meanwhile, Porto are believed to have a long-standing interest in the player.


With Liverpool’s trip to Southampton a dead-rubber, with their fifth-place finish already cemented, the forward could at least be handed an opportunity to finish the season on a high. Even if not from the start, he would surely like to better his total of just eight Premier League minutes since the mid-season World Cup, with his late appearance against Leicester City earlier this month his first appearance in two months.


He did enjoy a positive enough start at Anfield, as Klopp referenced, winning the Community Shield on his debut before scoring off the bench in the 9-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth and then netting a stoppage-time winner against Newcastle United in late August. But he has just one goal contribution since then, coming in the League Cup defeat to Man City in December.


Boasting 21 appearances in all competitions, eight have been from the start. Withdrawn at half-time in three of those starts, his only full 90-minute outing came in the 7-1 victory over Rangers back in October, with him only registering more than 60 minutes of action on four occasions for the Reds. Meanwhile, the League Cup third round clash with Derby County back in November is the only other time, other than that trip to Ibrox, where he has broken the 70-minute barrier.


While Carvalho would actually start and score in the aforementioned clash with Man City in Liverpool’s first game back after last winter’s World Cup, he was withdrawn at half-time despite scoring. A 66-minute showing away at Wolves in an FA Cup third-round replay in mid-January remains his last, and only other, start since the mid-season Qatar excursions.


It should be no surprise, therefore, that he has been limited to three goals from his first season on Merseyside as a result, given that reduced game-time. Admittedly the counter-argument would be that he ultimately struggled to make an impact in the early part of the campaign when turned to more frequently, though he has hardly been aided by being utilised in a variety of different positions or by his new club’s surprising struggles.


But being used for just eight minutes of action in the Premier League and Champions League since the World Cup, and making only five appearances during the second half of the season, curiously all away from home with his last Anfield appearance coming back in November, he has hardly had an opportunity to improve his fortunes either.


With Cody Gakpo signed in January, he fell further down the pecking order. Even with Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, and, to a lesser extent, Roberto Firmino missing a considerable amount of football because of injury this season, it is telling that opportunities still didn’t fall his way.


Perhaps if Liverpool had enjoyed a more traditionally impressive campaign, he would have been turned to more. Be it more prominent substitute appearances in games already on their way to victory or regular starts in extended runs in the domestic cup competitions, you can’t help but feel Carvalho would have pushed on more had he been a Reds player last season.


Yet this is what makes Liverpool’s stance regarding a loan exit curious, considering the Europa League would have handed him further opportunities next season. Yet while it is an open door for some fringe players in the Reds squad, to Carvalho it is also a hindrance.


One perk of signing the 20-year-old from Fulham was his looming homegrown status. While currently an Under-21s player, and not needing to be registered for Premier League action as a result, he will subsequently qualify as one of their eight required homegrown players from 2024/25 if they are to name a full 25-man squad.


But while he wouldn’t fill a place in Klopp’s Premier League squad next season, things are more complicated for European competition in the short-term.


Despite both being under the age of 21, Carvalho and fellow summer signing Calvin Ramsay both had to be registered in this year’s Champions League squad if Klopp wished to call upon their services. This is because they are not eligible to be included on ‘List B’ of underage players, with the Scotland international finding himself left out of the squad and ineligible for Europe in the second half of the season as a result.


For a player to be eligible to be named on ‘List B’, they must have been eligible to play for the club concerned for any uninterrupted period of two years since his 15th birthday, or for a total of three consecutive years with a maximum of one loan period to a club from the same association for a period not longer than one year.


As a result, while Carvalho remains an Under-21s player in the eyes of the Premier League both this season and next, Liverpool will need to again select him in their squad for European competition if they wish to field him next season. Given the midfield revamp and transfer surgery plotted at Anfield this summer, his presence would therefore complicate matters when it comes to naming a squad, ensuring the Reds either need to leave space for him that could be filled by an additional player or leave out a further senior player.


For the record, as Carvalho is already 20, he will never be eligible for a place on ‘List B’ as he’ll be over the age of 21 by the time he has enjoyed two uninterrupted seasons with the Reds.


Beyond next season, unlike Ramsay, it is not possible for the Portuguese to ever be classed as a ‘club-trained’ player in the eyes of UEFA. From a club’s eight local nominees, if they are to name a full 25-man squad, four must qualify as ‘club-trained’ and have been on a club’s books for three years between the ages of 15 and 21.


As a result, Carvalho can only ever qualify as ‘association-trained’, having been on another club’s books in the same association for three years between the ages of 15 and 21. Such status is secure courtesy of his time at Fulham.


Therefore, Liverpool would have nothing to lose if they let the forward leave on loan this summer. Partly signed to help bolster the Reds’ future homegrown quotas, such status both domestically and in Europe is already fulfilled for 2024/25 onwards.


Still a ‘long-term project’ at Anfield, a temporary switch away could be the making of Carvalho. His close friend Elliott flourished when loaned to Blackburn Rovers in 2020/21 for example, although he was only 17 when departing.


However, it is worth nothing that the England Under-21s international is a rare example of a player departing Liverpool on loan and then actually getting into Klopp’s first team. Besides, it’s clear the Portuguese is in need of a challenge higher than that of the Championship.


Alternatively, Jones has done it the hard way to catch Klopp’s eye, and is only now getting the outside recognition after his recent run in the starting XI. It has been far from a smooth ride for the midfielder, though it is one that has certainly made him stronger.


Having withdrawn from Under-21s international duty for Portugal back in November, unlike Jones and Elliott, Carvalho doesn’t have the European Championships in Romania and Georgia to look forward to. Instead, he has a summer where he can stew over his next steps before reporting back for pre-season in July.


Potentially already at an Anfield crossroads, both player and club have to choose his next move wisely.


When signed from Fulham, the 20-year-old was meant to be the future of Liverpool along with Jones and Elliott. But while the pair have both shown him how to get through that starting XI door this season, with Klopp admitting this season hasn’t worked out for the forward, it is a future that, after just one year, Carvalho is going to have to fight for.




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