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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp could drop four players for Champions League clash against Real Madrid



Liverpool host Real Madrid in the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday after finding some form recently after a difficult period for Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Reds picked up back-to-back wins over Everton and Newcastle and kept clean sheets in both games, putting them in their strongest position to possibly face Los Blancos all season.

Virgil van Dijk, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota have all recently returned from injury to give Klopp potentially his strongest squad of the season as he faced selection dilemmas on the pitch. The Dutch defender made his first appearance since January 2 when he started the win at St James’ Park, while Firmino and Jota came off the bench in the last two wins. Here, Express Sport take a look at four players who could be ruled out to face Real Madrid after beating Newcastle. Joe Gomez

Joe Gomez was chosen to partner Van Dijk against Newcastle, retaining his place ahead of Joel Matip of the team that won the Merseyside derby. However, Klopp could opt for a more experienced Van Dijk and Matip partnership to contain Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr.

Ibrahima Konaté was favored in the Champions League final in May but with the Frenchman unlikely to return in time from a hamstring injury, Klopp must choose between Matip and Gomez.

Cody Gakpo

Liverpool’s only transfer in January could simply be for their Champions League appearance after establishing themselves in the Reds’ starting line-up during the absences of Jota, Firmino and Luis Diaz. Despite his improved performance in the last two games, Klopp can opt for Firmino or Jota’s experience at the top level instead of Gakpo and feature the Dutchman from the bench.

Although Gakpo joined Klopp for the pre-match press conference and admitted he was dying to play for the Reds in Europe. “It will be my second game in the Champions League,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it. I have to prove that I can perform at this level and I’m looking forward to it.”

Jordan Henderson

The Liverpool skipper hasn’t been the first name on the squad list under Klopp this season and could be out if the German boss opts for another player profile in midfield alongside Fabinho and Stefan Bajcetic.

Harvey Elliott and James Milner replaced Jordan Henderson and Bajcetic on the hour mark and both were able to replace Henderson, while Klopp initially favored Naby Keita in the middle of the field over the England star, although the experience of the captain was crucial. face a solid Madrid team.

Darwin Nunez

Darwin Nunez could fall to the side as he lands awkwardly on his shoulder and was forced away against Newcastle. Klopp has confirmed he can play but could not say for sure whether he will attend his press conference. “There is a chance,” Klopp said referring to Nunez. “We will see how he is later and then we will make a decision.”

Jota and Firmino would like to play if Nunez is unavailable as they could make their first starts since returning from their respective injuries.


Liverpool could find ‘next Enzo Fernández’ in ideal star transfer with $128m release clause

Liverpool are expected to be in the market for midfield reinforcements with the trio due to leave Anfield this summer. Jürgen Klopp will be keeping an eye out for a bargain.

With three senior midfielders due to leave Anfield this summer, Liverpool are likely to enter the transfer market and need several reinforcements in this area.

The Reds’ hunt for Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham is likely to intensify in the coming months as the star sends signals he wants to return to England, but it’s unlikely he’s the only option Jürgen’s staff have Klopp eyeing. Indeed, according to Portuguese outlet O Jogo (translated by Sport Witness), Liverpool have already contacted the Benfica midfielder who is touted as the ‘next Enzo Fernández’. Florentino Luís has attracted interest from Liverpool in the past, with the Reds believed to have followed the young Portuguese midfielder in October, according to the report. Transfermarkt valued Luís at around $16m (£13m/€15m), a figure that would be a relative when you consider that his former teammate Fernández cost Chelsea around $127m (£106m/€ 119 million) in the January transfer window.

The 23-year-old particularly impressed following Roger Schmidt’s arrival at Benfica, with the midfielder’s early performances convincing the German coach to let him start over with Adel Taarabt and Julian Weigl, who were then moved into the starting lineup. their midfield. Luís had been away from the club for the past two seasons, instead being loaned out to AS Monaco and Getafe with mixed success, having made just 21 league appearances for the Portuguese giants.

This season however, the Portuguese Under-21 midfielder has enjoyed something of a runaway season at the Estádio da Luz, with the midfielder playing a vital role as his side currently top the table after two third-place finishes in seasons previous. The starlet’s combative displays and ability to initiate attacks with his excellent pass range – he ranks in the top 99% of players in Europe’s top five leagues for pass attempts and 96% for pass completions – would likely make the Liverpool captain in mind. Jordan Henderson to the observers on Merseyside.

The fact that Benfica’s asset is also characterized by his energetic pressure will also be music to Jürgen Klopp’s ears. Luís has scored the fourth most interceptions per 90 minutes in Liga Portugal this season at 2.4, with his suitability for a Liverpool midfielder could be an attractive proposition as the Reds look to strengthen in this area.

Not only are Liverpool currently facing the prospect of having three less experienced midfielders next season – as things stand James Milner, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain and Naby Keïta will leave the club as free agents – but the stark reality is that, as good as they are, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcântara are both on the wrong side of the 30. The Portuguese player has a $128m (£107m/€119m) release clause, but Liverpool could see Luís as a real option to see if Benfica are willing to compromise. Liverpool will be intent on adding Jude Bellingham to their squad this summer, but there’s no harm in planning ahead, especially with interest from other elite clubs. With Luís, they could end up with one of Europe’s brightest emerging talents for a fraction of the price.