Your morning Liverpool digest for Thursday, October 19.
Jude Bellingham new comments hammer home truth for Liverpool after Real Madrid transfer
Liverpool’s long-awaited midfield revamp proved to be a drawn-out, rocky rollercoaster ride – albeit a successful one in the end.
The Reds parted with £150m to bring in Alexis Mac Allister, Dominik Szoboszlai, Wataru Endo and Ryan Gravenberch in the summer, having waved off James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at the end of their contracts, and sold Jordan Henderson and Fabinho for a combined £52m after unexpected interest from Saudi Arabia.
Jurgen Klopp’s ‘Liverpool FC 2.0’ sit fourth in the table two months into the campaign, with only the most controversial of officiating performances in their loss to Tottenham Hotspur denying them an unbeaten record. Revitalised this year off the back of their summer business, it is a far cry from last season’s struggles where the Reds’ engine-room in particular was a shadow of its former all-conquering self.
Consequently, Liverpool’s four signings have restored exactly what Klopp’s side were lacking last season, with Szoboszlai especially already establishing himself as a firm fan favourite and proving his elite quality with each passing game. While Mac Allister is yet to play in his preferred position, instead being utilised as the Reds’ deeper midfielder, the World Cup winner has also showcased enough to convince onlookers of his talents.
And while Endo and Gravenberch’s game-time has been limited in comparison, with the jury still out on the Japan international as a result, the Dutchman has been able to demonstrate promising glimpses to again reassure Kopites that the future is bright.
Yet, Liverpool’s final quartet of midfield signings was perhaps not where they originally envisaged ending up. The Reds withdrew interest in the likes of Jude Bellingham and Mason Mount, while they would miss out on both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia before making a surprise move for Endo.
And while Mount, Caicedo and Lavia’s underwhelming fortunes so far at Manchester United and Chelsea ensure that Liverpool have no regrets at looking elsewhere, those of a Reds persuasion could be forgiven for glancing wistfully in the direction of Madrid. For as well as Szoboszlai and co are performing at Anfield, Bellingham is in an outrageous league of his own at Real Madrid.
The England international, who was a long-term Reds target, has returned a ridiculous 10 goals and three assists from just 10 appearances for Carlo Ancelotti’s side since moving to the Bernabeu in a deal worth an initial £88m deal from Borussia Dortmund in the summer. Including his appearances for England, his record for the season already stands at 11 goals and six assists from 13 appearances.
A reminder that Bellingham is still only 20 years old. As astonishing as this start to his Real Madrid career has been, it is only the beginning.
Darwin Nunez is forcing Jurgen Klopp to break his golden rule at Liverpool
The adrenaline was still coursing through the veins of a jubilant Darwin Nunez when he said the words Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would probably have been dreading.
“The truth is that to earn the position of number nine I have to work, not settle for anything and that’s what I try to do when I come to the national team,” said the striker. “I come to leave everything on the field, it was noticeable today. I ended up a little cramped in the end. I’m happy with the victory.”
Not that Klopp will have been concerned at Nunez, staying true to type, straining every sinew to register a goal and an assist as Uruguay earned a first victory over Brazil since 2001 in their latest World Cup qualifier, his cramp late on evidence of the 100% approach to his game.
The worry for the Reds manager will be that the forward was doing so in the early hours UK time on Wednesday morning given his team resume Premier League hostilities against Everton in the lunchtime kick-off on Saturday.
Indeed, with those 12.30pm kick-offs after an international break now a regular feature for the Reds – come next month at Manchester City, they’ll have played in six of the last eight – Klopp knows more than any other Premier League manager about the difficulties of reintegrating South American players into the squad after intense qualifiers and a long journey back to Merseyside.
Nunez, along with Luis Diaz, Alisson Becker and Alexis Mac Allister, are likely to have only one training session at the AXA Training Centre before Saturday’s 243rd Merseyside derby.
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