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Hope for Liverpool as a key player comes out of injury



Liverpool face a tough clash in the battle for a Champions League spot as they take on Chelsea at the weekend. Jurgen Klopp now knows the team at his disposal.

The Reds endured a disappointing first half of the season after winning just eight of their first 19 games of the season – a run that culminated in a 3-0 loss to Brighton last time out. They are now ten points behind fourth-placed Newcastle in the race for the Champions League places.

Klopp’s men meet fellow contenders Chelsea at Anfield this weekend, with another defeat dealing another blow to their hopes of returning to the top of Europe. Ahead of the match, the Reds were given a significant boost with forward Darwin Nunez looking to fight to play again.

WHAT HAPPENED? Nunez has missed the Reds’ last two games with a hamstring problem, but he returned to training on Thursday and will be fighting to return to action for Saturday’s game at Anfield.

GREATEST PICTURE : Liverpool take on Chelsea knowing a defeat, or even a draw, could mean the end of their hopes of securing Champions League qualification. Subsequent league defeats away to Brentford and Brighton left the Reds in ninth place in the Premier League, 10 points off fourth, although there was a welcome boost on Tuesday, with a much improved display giving the side a Jurgen Klopp scored for 1-0. Wolves’ home win in the FA Cup third round replay at Molineux. And not only that: Nunez’s return will be a big boost, with Roberto Firmino (calf), Luis Diaz (knee) and Diogo Jota (calf) all still offside. Defender Virgil van Dijk (hamstring) is also out, with Klopp hinting after the Wolves game that the likes of Harvey Elliott, Naby Keita and Joe Gomez, as well as teenage midfielder Stefan Bajcetic, could keep their places for Chelsea’s visit.

DID YOU KNOW? Only five players have reached 10 goals for Liverpool faster than Nunez in the Premier League era. The Uruguayan managed it in just 23 games, trailing only Robbie Fowler, Daniel Sturridge, Fernando Torres, Mohamed Salah and Diogo Jota.


Liverpool’s ‘perfect’ £2m signing sparks angry incident in Alex Ferguson’s dressing room

Liverpool's 'perfect' £2m signing sparks angry incident in Alex Ferguson's dressing room

Nigel Clough’s brilliant striker looked tailor-made for Liverpool, but having made a stellar start following his arrival from Nottingham Forest, his time at Merseyside quickly deteriorated despite playing a memorable role in one of Spion’s last big nights Kop.

For the modern generation of football fans, signing non-contracted players for free is an integral part of the transfer landscape.

For more than a quarter of a century, a key part of many clubs’ recruitment strategies has been identifying out-of-contract players – often a year or two early – who can be tempted with an attractive entry fee and salary package instead of a sales club fee.

Liverpool’s first experience with the ‘Bosman’ system, named after Belgian footballer Jean-Marc Bosman, whose landmark 1995 European Court of Justice case over the free movement of workers meant that clubs could no longer keep the registration of players no longer keeping them under contract – did not do well and in 1999 they lost one of their most talente CVd homegrown stars, Steve McManaman, to Real Madrid for nothing.

Liverpool's 'perfect' £2m signing sparks angry incident in Alex Ferguson's dressing room

Like many, the Reds have learned over the years to use the system to their advantage with two key players in the current squad under Jurgen Klopp having brought all the major honors to Anfield in recent years – James Milner and Joel Matip – playing in Do it this way Milner’s impact and influence have led him to at least equal and for some usurp Gary McAllister’s unofficial title as Liverpool’s ‘best free transfer ever’ in the eyes of many.

The Scotsman, who arrived at Anfield aged 35 to add knowledge and experience to Gerard Houllier’s rebuilding project at the turn of the century, is revered for his role in helping the Reds to an unprecedented hat-trick. but there was still a major free acquisition that same summer whose role during Frenchman’s 2001 odyssey should never be overlooked. Markus Babbel had already made a name for himself long before he appeared on the Anfield radar as one of the most accomplished players in German history, establishing himself as a cultured but robust defender who could play at both right-back and centre-back. After Babbel signed the school classes shortly before his ninth birthday, he made his breakthrough as a senior with his hometown club Bayern Munich and returned to the Olimpia Stadium after two years with Hamburg in 1994 and became a fixture with the victory of “FC Hollywood” UEFA Pokal 1996 – the same year he was part of the German team that won the European Championship in England – along with three Bundesliga titles and two German Cup victories as the decade drew to a close.

The crowning glory should have come in Barcelona in 1999 when Babbel was part of the Bayern side chasing the treble, which were minutes away from a Champions League final win over Manchester United before two goals in added time meant it was instead Alex Ferguson’s men were history-makers. although ironically the German could have played against his compatriots that night. The Old Trafford club agreed a reported £5million fee with Bayern, who were impressed by his performances at €96 but couldn’t agree on personal terms.

“It was very close,” Babbel admitted. “It was a record fee at the time, no one had been signed for that fee before. It was 40m DM at the time, I spoke to United, but my agent told me : ‘Listen, Markus, something is wrong. You are ready to pay so much for your transfer fee, but your salary is ok, nothing more. With this money for the transfer fee, they should pay salaries much more students.

“I said ‘OK, I don’t need to go if it’s not true, I would like to stay at Bayern Munich’, they’re a fantastic club but looking back I’m so happy that didn’t happen. They wanted to sign me as a central defender but I was not the best central defender! In Germany, I always played with three defenders, so it was a different game for me: three against two central defenders. The right side was the perfect position for me in that United back four, but they had Gary Neville, one of the best right-backs at the time. I’m so glad I listened to my agent and waited to go to Liverpool.”

contractual agreement to join Liverpool when his deal with Bayern expired in the summer of 2000.

“I’m very, very happy because usually you don’t get players of his caliber for free,” admitted Houllier. He is a quality player and a great experience, which has interested us for almost two years. We tried to get him last summer but Bayern just refused to sell him. We won against competition from Real Madrid and several big Italian clubs. I think he will do well in the Premiership; He is a winner and he has a very good character, which is important. I’m glad he kept his word in the sense that he said he would like to join us. I swear we didn’t break the salary structure to get him here. He did not become the club’s top earner. I wouldn’t do that. It’s too dangerous for the team spirit. He has always been a Liverpool fan and has always followed the club’s glory years.”