Liverpool have been urged to resolve their lack of creativity in midfield by sanctioning a deal Jurgen Klopp would love for Real Madrid ace Toni Kroos.
Liverpool’s lack of creativity from midfield was laid bare on Thursday night. Despite being down to 10 men for over 65 minutes, Arsenal were able to repel Liverpool at Anfield with surprising ease.
It was the second time this season that the Reds had toiled to no avail against 10 men. They also failed to score against Chelsea in late-August after the Blues were reduced to 10 after Reece James saw red in the first half.
Thiago Alcantara was brought in to add a creative spark to Klopp’s workmanlike midfield. However, the Spaniard has persistently struggled with an assortment of injury issues since leaving Bayern Munich.
On Wednesday, Spanish outlet El Nacional put Liverpool in the frame to sign classy Real Madrid veteran, Toni Kroos.
The 32-year-old reportedly wants to finish his career at the Bernabeu. However, Real may see things differently and opt against offering a new contract. The German’s current deal expires in the summer of 2023.
The club appreciate Kroos’ continued value to and impact in the team. However, the report claimed that Madrid are aware he is ‘blocking the progression’ of Federico Valverde and Eduardo Camavinga.
Kroos blocking two Real stars’ development
The pair, 23 and 19 respectively, represent the long-term future of Madrid’s midfield despite Kroos’ importance. As such, the outlet claims that Liverpool could swoop for the midfielder.
Reds boss Jurgen Klopp would feel ‘delighted’ to work with his fellow German. Similarly, Kroos would reportedly seriously consider the chance to link up with the manager.
Liverpool’s interest in the midfielder is ‘very serious’. As a result, they would be willing to offer €30million (£25million) to sign him – and Klopp would offer him a ‘leading role’ in the team.
In light of that news, former Premier League striker Noel Whelan suggested a move for Kroos could be just what Liverpool need.
“I think [Liverpool] need more in that midfield area,” Whelan told Football Insider.
“Watching last night (against Arsenal in the EFL Cup), they need somebody with that little bit more creativity. It can be sometimes a little bit too robotic and they need somebody with that little bit of something special.
“Someone who can see a pass very quickly before it happens. Maybe try something a little bit different. Threading through balls to strikers instead of side to side, the safe pass and keeping possession.
“Someone who’s going to take that little bit of risk with a pass, like [Kevin] De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva. These are players you need in your side.
“Toni Kroos has been a proven player for over a decade now. In the international setup, very, very, very well respected player.
“It would be like having another Thiago. Adding that experience in the dressing room and on the training ground.”
Five Premier League keepers who desperately need moves this January
Klopp updates triple injury concern from Arsenal draw
Meanwhile, Klopp has given an update on Divock Origi’s fitness ahead of the weekend Premier League visit of Brentford, along with updates on three knocks suffered in the 0-0 draw with Arsenal on Thursday night.
Speaking ahead of the clash with the Bees, the German revealed that 26-year-old Origi is close to returning following a knee issue.
Klopp said: “It’s likely we could see [Origi] soon. Yesterday he was outside running and looked really good. He will not be too far away.”
As for other injuries, Klopp revealed the Reds are currently in decent shape.
He added: “As far as I know, no new real injuries. Knocks last night, Virg, Robbo, Milly. But directly after the game, medical team said all are fine. We will see. No ‘injuries’ so far. Same squad available.”
The game against Brentford will be Klopp’s 350th game in charge of the club, something he was made aware of at his press conference.
He concluded: “I’m really happy and proud of the things we have achieved here so far but I don’t think a second about it. The next game is really decisive. When you are a manager here in all competitions everyone expects to win the next game.”
PREDICTIONS: Disagreement on NL derby; Man Utd put Rangnick through the wringer; Liverpool demolish lowly opponents
Leeds could have unexpected late January test to contend with as West Ham lurk for Raphinha
Leeds United could have an unexpected late January test to contend with as West Ham are reportedly lurking for Raphinha.
Contract discussions between the Whites hierarchy and their star man have begun this month with Liverpool having been heavily linked with a move for him. A bumper new deal is set to be put on the table at Elland Road.
And that news went a long way to relieve some of the anxiety surrounding the Brazil international’s future.
However, it now looks like that concern may creep in again ahead of Transfer Deadline Day on Monday.
That’s because the Hammers are interested in him, according to 90min. And they claim a huge move could be made to test Leeds’ resolve.
Raphinha has been a thorn in David Moyes’ side this season. The two Premier League clubs have faced off three times including their FA Cup clash.
And the winger has impressed in every outing. He opened the scoring for his side in their 2-1 home defeat.
Then he came on at half-time in the third round of the cup competition and took the game to the opponents in another loss.
The third match ended in a 3-2 victory for Leeds, though. And Raphinha set up one of Jack Harrison’s hat-trick of strikes.
Despite him previously saying he is happy with the Whites, West Ham can of course offer the potential of European football.
If they can maintain their strong position in the Prem pecking order, then they will also arguably offer a higher prestige to him.
The World Cup is now just a matter of months away. So that could further help his cause for being included in his nation’s squad.
Potential incoming for Leeds
Give our social media channels a follow – we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Meanwhile, Leeds have made an offer for a teenage sensation but face an anxious wait after his head was turned, as per a report.
The Yorkshire club have already had one youngster, 21-year-old Brenden Aaronson, on their radar in the January transfer window.
And it seems youth remains the order of business for Marcelo Bielsa before Transfer Deadline Day rolls around on Monday.
After having to let a deal for Aaronson go until the summer, the Whites boss has turned his attention to a defensive target…
READ MORE: Leeds take aim at teenage sensation – but Italian offer turns head leaving Bielsa hanging
Wolves confirm third January arrival with Man City, Arsenal target potentially to follow next
Wolves have confirmed their third signing of the January transfer window – 19-year-old South Korean winger Jeong Sang-bin.
Bruno Lage has already brought in midfielder Hayao Kawabe and forward Chiquinho this month. And earlier in the week Hwang Hee-chan’s loan move from RB Leipzig was made permanent too.
Now another arrival has been secured. Sang-bin will head straight out on loan after joining from K-League club Suwon Samsung Bluewings, though.
He will link up with Kawabe, who signed from Grasshoppers and then was loaned straight back to the Swiss side.
Both players will be gone for the next 18 months. Wolves fans will therefore have a long wait before seeing either play in the flesh.
After the signing of Sang-bin was announced, the club’s technical director Scott Sellars explained that decision.
“Sang-bin is a young, raw talent, who has done very well for his club and national team whilst still only a teenager,” he told the club’s official website.
“We hope to provide him an opportunity to develop and grow as a player, and a person, in Zurich with Grasshoppers, before returning in the future.
“We’ve already seen how this process can benefit a player like Toti Gomes. And we are looking forward to seeing what Sang-bin can achieve in the Swiss league, and then at Wolves.”
The clock is ticking to Monday’s deadline, but Wolves could yet add a further new face to Lage’s squad before then.
That’s because after missing out on him last summer, they remain ‘very interested’ in former Man City and Arsenal target Riqui Puig, as per Sport (via Sport Witness).
A loan deal until the end of the season without an option to buy could still happen. Puig is finding his game time limited at Barcelona.
Wolves warn off suitors
Give our social media channels a follow – we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
Meanwhile, Wolves have reportedly given midfielder Ruben Neves a £40million price tag amid transfer links with Manchester United and Arsenal.
The central midfielder has made 19 Premier League appearances for the Molineux club this season. He has registered two goals – one in October’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa, and another in the 2-1 victory against Brentford last time out.
Neves has a knack for scoring goals from outside the box and did so against the Bees, curling a right-footed effort past Jonas Lossl to give Wolves all three points.
He has been ever-present in the Wanderers first team since joining from Porto in July 2017. However, links with United and Arsenal are hotting up…
READ MORE: Wolves ‘stand firm’ and put £40m price tag on Man Utd, Arsenal-linked star