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Surprise front-runners emerge for Nat Phillips transfer despite German interest



Liverpool are open to a deal for fifth-choice centre-back Nat Phillips before Tuesday’s deadline, with a surprise favorite on the horizon this weekend.

With Rhys Williams recalled from his loan spell at Blackpool, Phillips was made available for transfer in the final days of the January window.

move to Istanbul”, with the “leader” Galatasaray currently at the top of the Süper Lig.

It is claimed that there are three options when it comes to a deal, with a permanent transfer, a loan-to-buy deal and a direct loan being discussed.

Despite German interest, surprising Nat Phillips transfer candidates emerge

With his 26th birthday in March and after spells at Stuttgart and Bournemouth, Phillips would arguably be best left permanently, with Liverpool valuing him at around £10m. However, Galatasaray have only spent over £10million on a player once in their history and that was for striker Mario Jardel in 2000.

This makes the Turkish side unlikely to match Phillips’ price tag, although Okan Buruk’s side are particularly short of centre-back options at the moment.

Phillips was kept at Liverpool for the first half of the season following injuries to Joel Matip and Ibrahima Konate and made 24 matchday appearances.

But with Williams now back on Merseyside and available in an emergency, the club appear ready to allow their No.47 to continue regular first-team football.


Jurgen Klopp makes honest statement on Liverpool sacking amid disastrous season

Jurgen Klopp makes honest statement on Liverpool sacking amid disastrous season

Liverpool are ninth in the Premier League and that sort of form for a top four club would normally mean the manager’s head is on the chopping block, but not for Jurgen Klopp.

Jurgen Klopp insists he’s still a top manager despite a disastrous season.

But the German manager openly admits that if it was another manager in charge at Anfield, he would risk being sacked. Thankfully, after four trophy-laden seasons, Klopp has a big loan in the bank and the full backing of the Boston-based club owners.

He is therefore not in danger, even if Liverpool are 21 points behind leaders Arsenal and ten points behind one of the first four. But as he returns to Brighton’s Amex Stadium in the FA Cup today, Klopp accepts holders Liverpool must return to the high standards they set.

And he promised fans that Liverpool would “give it their all” for the remaining months of the season. “I didn’t become a bad manager overnight. I’ve never been as good as people probably say or not as bad as some might think,” Klopp said.

Jurgen Klopp makes honest statement on Liverpool sacking amid disastrous season

“But imagine talking to another Liverpool manager here today because last season we had won all four trophies and I said ‘see you later, holiday!'” Imagine seeing another face and he explains these things and tells you how it is. No one would listen!

“They would say last season was great and this year not great, so go! “You have to be broad-shouldered and really take it. It’s hard, sorry. But we will do everything we can to get out of there and then play in a way that people can’t wait to get back into the stadium.

“Hopefully we can get through this together and get closer again. From there, we all know anything can happen.

Jurgen Klopp makes honest statement on Liverpool sacking amid disastrous season

Klopp’s confession has always been a challenge this season, even without the injuries that sabotaged their campaign. “I knew it was going to be tough, absolutely. Last season was super intense and much longer than expected because who would have expected us to be in so many finals. “It was clear it was going to be tough, but with fewer injuries we agree we could have easily had at least five more points. Okay it wouldn’t be a brilliant season but we would fight for the League champions. It’s a normal season.

“But injuries to key players have made it a particularly average or bad season so far and you can’t easily replace them. If you don’t have time to train and you have three days until the next game , it’s not like you can invent football in a session and a half.”

Klopp takes his legacy at Liverpool seriously but is not interested in the past. “Who cares how close we came to becoming champions? I don’t care at all. And I don’t think for a second what it’s like to win the Champions League.

“Do we still want to win? Naturally. Looks like we’re about to crush Real Madrid? Maybe not. But it’s a competition we’re pretty good at and when the games come we’ll be 100% ready.

“So far this season we haven’t given much to the fans, but we are still in two cup competitions and we won’t give up in the league. Why should we? “Other teams are doing very well and we have a lot of respect for them, but we want to beat them and I’ll see how we can do that in Brighton.”


PRESS CONFERENCE Jürgen Klopp on Brighton, Stefan Bajcetic, midfield options and more

PRESS CONFERENCE Jürgen Klopp on Brighton, Stefan Bajcetic, midfield options and more

Jürgen Klopp previewed the fourth round of the Emirates FA Cup on Friday at Brighton & Hove Albion with a press conference.

The Reds boss met with reporters at the AXA Training Center ahead of his team’s visit to Amex Stadium.

Read on to see what he had to say before the game below…

On what Liverpool want to do differently this time around after their last defeat at Brighton…

Everything. This is clearly the plan. We knew before the Wolves game it would be Brighton [in the next round] and we showed we really wanted to move forward. This is football. There is always a new opportunity and there is always room for improvement. This is what we will do. But Brighton are having a really good time, so that’s what it’s about [performing better].

On Stefan Bajcetic’s new contract and promising career start with the Reds…

PRESS CONFERENCE Jürgen Klopp on Brighton, Stefan Bajcetic, midfield options and more

It was pretty obvious from the beginning, but you never know how fast [his progress] goes. We were quite careful with him because of his age. He has now shown that he is ready and very useful for us with all his natural abilities. We haven’t shown this often enough in recent games; Aggressive, but good aggression, it’s not like he kicks players. He is also a good footballer, which of course is very important in the center of the park. I am very happy that he has signed his new contract. He deserves it and I think he’s really happy about it.

How he rates the game against Brighton as FA Cup holders…

As a cup holder, I don’t think that’s [a] big competitive advantage. We start all over again. We know how great the event is when you get to the finals, so that helps if you want it. It [the last game against Brighton] is still the worst game I have ever seen. Almost everything went wrong. We had to change our approach completely, not just against Brighton, but in general. We’ve done really well in spells during games [against Wolves and Chelsea]. I think the first half against Chelsea was very disciplined. Chelsea are a very good football club and we haven’t allowed them to play much, which is important. Of course, we also have to do it against Brighton. In the second half [against Chelsea] we built on the first half and started very well. We were a little too excited. We weren’t as compact and the pressing was uncoordinated, then Chelsea had two chances. This is what we want to work on and this is where we want to start. It would really help to be more compact than Brighton [in the first game]. For us, compact never means very deep – we can’t do that. But we have to be compact in the key areas and we have to defend them well. We respect them a lot for a good reason and we did that before the first game. We have to make it difficult for them and we will. We’ll see what we do with it.

PRESS CONFERENCE Jürgen Klopp on Brighton, Stefan Bajcetic, midfield options and more

If he will refer to the last game at Brighton with the players…

Not every day, but of course we talked a lot after the Brighton game. We had to change trains immediately, and we did. A few days later we played Wolves and it was obviously very different. After the game, I said it felt like two different sports. Now we’re not going to do the meeting where we’re going to show all the bad situations in Brighton otherwise it’s going to be a real horror show. We’ve seen it before: we’ve played it and seen it.

If there was anything good about that, it was that it was so bad that everyone was clear, it’s not about here and there [things need to change], it’s about general change and improvement of different things. You can lose a game, but if you don’t learn from it, it’s just a loss. If you learn from it, that’s also important. We intend to do such things.

That he used the same midfield trios as Thiago, Naby Keita and Stefan Bajcetic in the last two games…

Obviously, after Brighton, we had injuries or little problems, so it was clear that we had to change anyway. I liked the rhythm; I liked the mix of offensive stuff and defensive preparation – I liked that. It wasn’t the only three, because the only three can’t do anything, but the front lines did it very well, it’s very important for us. There are specific things that an opponent does, it’s not like every opponent offers absolutely everything and you have no idea what they’re doing. Sometimes it can happen, but less so with quality teams. It’s just with teams trying to survive that you don’t really know what you’re getting ready for, but it’s Brighton [and] a lot of things are obviously what they’re doing. You have to respect it and defend it.

PRESS CONFERENCE Jürgen Klopp on Brighton, Stefan Bajcetic, midfield options and more

If you don’t, you’re screwed, there’s no doubt about that. The midfield three worked well for these games. We’ll see who starts on Sunday. It is against nobody and nothing. It’s just the guys from the second train, not the midfielders, they’re all coming. Obviously everyone wants to play, so that’s fine. And then my job is to make the decision, let’s see how that works best and then we have five chances to change. For me, it’s exactly the same importance [between] how we start and how we finish a match. It’s exactly the same. Players can be something else… for me it is the same importance. So we have six [or] seven midfielders in top form. Perfect situation. You’re playing a system now, or have been playing for a while, [where] only three can start. But then you can’t go wrong, let’s put it this way, with the fittings. It’s good. This is actually a situation I want to be in again.

On the importance of his midfield position against Brighton in particular…

Yes. But especially against Brighton it’s extremely important how you defend the front row. That’s how good they are. [Moises] Caicedo and [Alexis] Mac Allister and then the middle two halves [are] calm… the goalkeeper – really calm. So they just pass the ball. If the top three don’t defend well, and that was our problem for example in Brighton, that’s how it started. The midfielder wanted to [press] but never got close enough. If you defend Brighton with seven… theoretically, if you defend Brighton with seven players, no chance. This is the situation. It’s not about the midfield, they’re good there, so we have to be good there. Yeah, that’s a part, it’s really about how we defend in general.


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