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Liverpool can answer transfer question with’$66m’signing as Jürgen Klopp’advances’for deal




Liverpool can answer transfer question with’$66m’signing as Jürgen Klopp’advances’for deal

Heading into the summer, Liverpool has identified its midfield area as the position that needs strengthening most urgently. The decision to move away from chasing Jude Bellingham was taken because multiple players will be needed in the center.

Among its targets are Alexis Mac Allister (Brighton), Mason Mount (Chelsea) and Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern Munich), but there is an acceptance that unlike last summer, when no player was signed permanently when it became clear that Aurélien Tchouaméni was heading to Real Madrid and not Anfield, major work needs to be completed.

Among the targets, despite Fabinho’s drop-off in form this season, there has not been too many concrete suggestions of a move for a more defensive-minded player.

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READ MORE: Liverpool ‘looks forward to $82m transfer’ as Jürgen Klopp creates his own Jude Bellingham

While Mac Allister could play as a holding midfielder at a push, the three players listed above are primarily attack-minded and would suit the more advanced number eight positions better.

But while there is plenty of work to do in midfield this summer, signing a successor for Fabinho at the base of the midfield should not be something that is overlooked.

There is Stefan Bajčetić, of course, but the 18-year-old cannot be the sole solution. There is room for another player in the holding midfield position long-term, which makes links with Manuel Ugarte at Sporting CP interesting.

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There is a strong argument that most of the midfield additions that Liverpool make this summer need to be able to hit the ground running straight away, but that is not to say that there is no room for more of a ‘project’.

At 22, the Uruguayan would probably fall into that category. Fabinho himself needed half a season to bed in and get used to the demands of the position, and that must be factored into signing his successor.

Portuguese outlet Record (translated by Sport Witness) claims that Liverpool is in an ‘advanced pursuit’ of the midfield talent, with the Reds the ‘strongest candidates’ for his signature and supposedly set to make an offer (Ugarte has a $66m/£52m/€60m release clause).

With Fabinho still at Anfield and able to play most of the minutes, someone like Ugarte could adapt and play more sporadically to begin with while adjusting to how Liverpool plays.

Martin Ødegaard battles with Manuel Ugarte during the Europa League clash between Arsenal and Sporting CP.

(Image: Photo by Pedro Loureiro/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images)

That sort of long-term thinking would have been useful last summer ahead of Naby Keïta, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner leaving all in one go, but could answer the Fabinho succession plan question now instead.

In fairness, it is what Liverpool has done with Luis Díaz and Cody Gakpo, who replaced Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino respectively six months in advance of them actually departing.

It is too late to replicate that now with the more advanced midfield positions, with Liverpool needing to get the right players in for the here and now this summer — making interest in the likes of Mac Allister and Mount, both of whom know the Premier League already, add up even more beyond their obvious quality.

But in the Fabinho role, whether in the form of Ugarte or another option that Liverpool scouts like, while it would add even more to the to-do list this upcoming summer, a transfer for the future would certainly be wise if the right player is available.


Liverpool act as inspiration for AC Milan in Inter clash after “kick in the teeth” claim

The final will be staged in Turkey’s Ataturk Olympic Stadium where Steven Gerrard inspired a Liverpool fightback from 0-3 down against AC Milan in the 2005 final – and the Italians need a miracle

AC Milan were stunned by rivals Inter on Wednesday night (

Image: AFP via Getty Images)

Premier League old boys Edin Dzeko and Henrikh Mkhitaryan netted early goals to leave AC Milan needing a Liverpool-style comeback to return to Istanbul.

This mad Milan derby was a million miles away from the old stereotype of cagey Italian tactical battles with 29 shots and defensive blunders. Seven-time winners Milan had conceded only one goal at home in their previous six semi-finals – and only once in their last six Champions League ties this season.

But Dzeko, who started ahead of Romelu Lukaku, and Mkhitaryan both scored in a crazy opening 11 minutes. Inter Milan looked like scoring on every attack as ex-Chelsea defender Fikayo Tomori, who was booked after the break, showed why he has started only one match for England under Gareth Southgate.

By contrast, Inter’s Denzel Dumfries showed why he is a wanted man across Europe although Cameroon keeper Andre Onana had little chance to impress Manchester United, Tottenham or Chelsea.

The blue-and-black half of the city are now 90 minutes away from a first Champions League final since Jose Mourinho ’s team won the title in 2010. It will be staged in the Ataturk Olympic Stadium in the Turkish capital where Steven Gerrard inspired a Liverpool fightback from 0-3 down against AC Milan in the 2005 final.

The return leg is on Tuesday with the winners facing Dzeko’s former club Manchester City or Real Madrid. But the Bosnian warned: “It is a great result for but nothing is finished. In the Champions League only great teams get to the semi-finals so we have to be careful and be concentrated like today in the second game.”

Stefano Pioli’s 2023 team were dealt a huge blow before kick-off when winger Rafael Leao failed a lunchtime fitness test on his thigh strain. But the evening was soon to get worse at a packed San Siro where old stars like Paolo Maldini and Andrei Shevchenko – accompanied by Novak Djokovic – came out for the show. By the end the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic could not watch while the 7,000 Inter fans for the away leg in their shared stadium made all the noise.

Dzeko opened the scoring after only eight minutes when he held off Milan captain Davide Calabria to volley home Hakan Calhanoglu’s corner. At 37 years old, the former Manchester City striker is the second oldest player to score in a Champions League semi-final after Ryan Giggs (37years 148 days) for Manchester United against Schalke in 2010-11.

Inter take a two-goal lead to next week’s second leg

Three minutes later former Arsenal and United star Mkhitaryan, who is a mere 34, picked up Federico Dimarco pass and ran into a space as wide as the Piazza del Duomo before doubling the lead. Calhanoglu hit the post before Inter were given a spot kick after 31 minutes when Lautaro Martinez beat Tomori before going down when touched on the back by Simon Kjaer.

But Spanish referee Jesus Gil Manzano reversed his decision after consulting a pitchside monitor. Inter still sent in 11 shots in the opening 45 minutes despite enjoying only 41% of possession.

AC Milan keeper Mike Maignan denied Dzeko a second goal after the break before the hosts improved after the introduction of Divock Origi. Sandro Tonali hit the post after 62 minutes and sub Tommasso Pogbeba shot straight at Onana in injury time.

Tomori said: “Conceding two goals early on like that is difficult. It was a kick in the teeth. In the first half it took us a while to get back into the game. Second half we were better. I think there was a bit of anxiety in the team. It was difficult but it is only the first leg and we can’t let our heads drop. We know if we play with the right intensity we can put them in a bit of bother. With a bit more determination, a bit more anger, we could have scored. But we have to move onto the next game.”

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