Firmino looking to the stars


Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino has said that he aspires to be as good as the best players in the game.

When asked about his hopes for the rest of his career, the Brazil international said that he was looking to be on the same level as the finest players in Europe.

“Of course I want to be at their level.” he told reporters.

“I am trying to give my maximum for the team and trying to be alongside these great players in Europe.

“But I only focus on playing a good game. If I play a good game then the goals will appear.” he added.

The Samba star was asked how his team have adapted to the loss of compatriot Philippe Coutinho to Spanish giants Barcelona and he reacted positively about the situation.

“Coutinho is a great player and of course when he left that put a greater responsibility on everyone else to perform without him.” he replied.

“But it is our job to deal with greater responsibility and I think we have done that so far.” he finished.

Coutinho says Barcelona is “much better” for him


Former Liverpool playmaker Philippe Coutinho has said that it is “much better” to be playing with “great players” since his Barcelona move.

The Brazil international left Anfield for the Camp Nou last month in a deal worth a reported £145m and it didn’t go down well with a lot of Liverpool supporters.

And his latest interview is unlikely to win him any favour with those fans as he talked up the step up he has made by joining the Catalan giants.

“To play alongside so many great players is much better.” he told Sport.

“Each team has their way of playing and I am still learning how to play here, every day doing the best I possibly can.” he continued.

When he was asked about Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde, the former Inter Milan midfielder described them as “different”.

“Well, they are different. Each one has their own ways and their own experiences.” he responded.

“All the players are really good. I see that every day, in training, in games.

“You see them and you think ‘that is incredible’ but it’s not something which has surprised me because when I came I knew that.

“What’s helped me a lot is the welcome I’ve received in the dressing room: everyone is very calm.” he finished.

Roma looking to price Alisson out of move


AS Roma are eager to tie goalkeeper Alisson down to a new deal to ward off interest.

Liverpool are among the clubs being linked with a Summer bid for the Brazil international as his performances continue to impress scouts visiting his matches.

Calcio Mercato are reporting that the Serie A outfit are looking to agree a contract extension with the twenty-five year old which will include an increased release clause.

The article claims that they want to insert an agreement into the deal that will see him become the player with the third highest release clause in Italian football.

Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi and Torino skipper Andrea Belotti are the two players who would have higher release fees inserted in their contracts, with Alisson’s potentially set at €90m if he puts pen to paper.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will face stiff competition for his services should he make a move, with Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich all said to be keen.

Klopp could decide to pull the plug on his interest, however, should German stopper Loris Karius prove his credentials over the remainder of the campaign.

Kluivert rules out Anfield switch


Ajax youngster Justin Kluivert appears to have ruled out a move to Liverpool.

The teenager was asked about his plans amid speculation that he could be headed to the Premier League this Summer and he listed the clubs which he would like to play for.

Liverpool, and surprisingly Manchester City, were not clubs which made the cut as he mentioned four of the top six in his response during the interview.

“England appeals to me: Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea or Manchester United are nice clubs where I can see myself playing in a few years.” he told Helden.

“If you get a nice offer, you never know.

“Everywhere I go abroad they know my father, he often asked: ‘Come to Barcelona, I’ll give a tour of Camp Nou.’

“I really wanted to go to Barcelona instead of Real Madrid. Barcelona is in my heart, but who am I to say no to Real Madrid?” he finished.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been linked with a Summer bid to bring the teen sensation to England following last season’s Europa League final between the two clubs.

Butland dismisses transfer request talk


Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland has denied that he has asked to be allowed to leave the Premier League club.

The England international has been linked with a move to Liverpool, as well as domestic rivals Arsenal, in recent months and speculation has surfaced that he has handed in an informal transfer request.

And that has seen the twenty-four year old stopper take to social media to confirm that he is not focusing on making an exit from the bet365 Stadium and is looking to give his all to keep them in the top flight.

“Before this spreads any further, I haven’t told the club I want to leave, I’m focused on doing everything I can to keep the club in this division!” he tweeted on Twitter.

Stoke recently appointed Paul Lambert as manager after sacking previous incumbent Mark Hughes, but it has done them little good as they remain in the bottom three and with just one win in eight fixtures.

Butland will certainly be a target for plenty of clubs at the end of the season if Stoke do suffer relegation down to the Championship, as his price tag may be reduced.

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could be on the look out for a new keeper in the Summer and has been heavily linked with a bid for Butland.

Mancini was surprised by Rodgers sacking


Zenit St Petersburg manager Roberto Mancini has revealed that he was surprised when Liverpool sacked Brendan Rodgers back in 2015.

The Northern Irishman was dispensed with in October of that year after a poor start to the season saw patience run out at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp soon appointed to replace him.

Mancini is preparing his side to face Celtic in the Europa League this week, the club which appointed Rodgers following his Anfield exit, and the Italian has taken the opportunity to express his surprise at his sacking by Liverpool.

“Brendan had the chance to be a coach with me a few years ago when, it seems like, we were a lot younger!” he said.

“Brendan is a very good manager. He did great work at Liverpool and was really unlucky to lose his job at Anfield. He was so unfortunate not to win the Premier League with them back in 2014. And then a year later he was gone.

“That told me that football can be a strange game sometimes.

“But Brendan has huge qualities and that’s one of the reasons why it will be very tough for us in Scotland this week. Celtic are a great team with some really good players and they’ve got a top manager.

“To play at Celtic Park will be difficult for us because those supporters are incredible. The crowd will be fantastic for the first match, but, for us, it’s a great place to play football.” he finished.

Liverpool fans were unlikely to have been as surprised.

Van Dijk happy with St Mary’s return


Liverpool defender Virgil Van Dijk was happy with his first return to face former club Southampton.

The Dutchman was part of the Reds team which ran out comfortable 2-0 winners at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon and was also the target for plenty of booing from his former fans.

But it didn’t seem to do the twenty-six year old any harm as he put in a composed performance to help his side keep a clean sheet in his first meeting with his old team.

“It was a bit strange to come back here and do everything the other way round, coming into the away dressing room.” he told

“But I enjoyed it. We kept a clean sheet and scored good goals. We should have scored more.” he continued.

The Holland international was impressed with the performance of his team-mates Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino as they scored and assisted a goal each.

“It was fantastic, a great assist from Bobby. You enjoy those situations.” he said.

Van Dijk was pleased to be part of a defensive rearguard which kept out his old side as they won a game 2-0 for the first time in exactly a year – the last being a 2-0 win over Spurs at Anfield.

“As a defence and the holding midfielders, and everyone in the team, you just need to be 100% focused and not concede. Today it went well.” he said.

“I’m just happy to get a win. It’s always difficult to come here. I know how difficult Southampton can make it. I had a good day.

“Now we’re fully focused on the Champions League.” he finished.

Firmino gets big bonuses for Saints game


Liverpool forward Roberto Firmino will be handsomely rewarded for his performance against Southampton on Sunday.

The Brazil international netted his twentieth goal of the season early on in the 2-0 victory before adding a sensational backheeled assist for team-mate Mohamed Salah to score.

And those moments of brilliance will net him a tidy bonus payment, according to an article in The Mirror, in which they say he will more than double his weekly wage.

The report cites Football Leaks: The Dirty Business of Football as their source for the financial figures in the article, in which they state Firmino gets paid a weekly wage of £68,085.

He will also allegedly get paid an extra £25,000 for each of his first five goals of the season, £45,000 for his goals between six and ten, £65,000 from eleven to fifteen and a hefty £85,000 per goal after that.

The former Hoffenheim man is alleged to get paid a bonus of £31,000 for each assist he lays on for a team-mate – which means that he has earned himself £116,000 in assist bonuses so far this season.

The report goes on to claim that he will get paid £184,085 for his efforts this week – which

Ragnick dismisses Werner exit talk


RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Ragnick has dismissed the idea that they could sell Timo Werner.

The Germany international has been linked with a move away from the Bundesliga club this Summer, with Liverpool and Real Madrid said to be keen to secure his signature.

But Ragnick insists that Werner knows that he will not be allowed to leave any time soon and brushed off the idea that they could sell him

“Timo definitely knows he is still playing with us now and next season.” he told Kicker.

“We are also in talks to adjust and extend his contract.” he added.

Ragnick did go on to say that the German club do not have mega amounts of money to spend – but that would still not force their hand into agreeing to sell another star player after Naby Keita got his Liverpool switch secured.

“We have a clear sum available, which can increase by €20m with more Champions League participation.” he continued.

“But a €40m transfer makes no sense because behind that is a player’s salary, which usually happens with such a transfer.

“Then we have to look at our wage structure, which we definitely will not blow up.

“It’s possible that we could spend €25m for a player in the next few years, but spending something in the region of €30m or €40m in this period is not possible or meaningful.” he finished.

Klopp in race to sign Meyer from Schalke


Liverpool are in the race to sign Schalke midfielder Max Meyer.

That’s according to an “exclusive” report by The Daily Star, in which they claim that the German midfielder is a target for manager Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Summer.

It isn’t the first time that the young Bundesliga star has been touted as a possible signing for the club, after he was previously linked with a switch soon after Klopp was appointed.

A move failed to materialise, but it looks increasingly likely that he will make a move away from Schalke this Summer as his contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

Klopp will face stiff competition for the versatile midfielder, however, thanks to strong interest from rivals Arsenal as well as Bayern Munich and AC Milan.

Liverpool have already lost out to Bundesliga champions Bayern in the race for one Schalke midfielder, after Germany international Leon Goretzka rejected a move to Anfield in favour of the Allianz Arena when his contract expires this year.

Schalke CEO Christian Heidel has spoken about Meyer’s future recently and indicated that they will do what they can to try and prevent another homegrown talent move on.

“Max will be deciding shortly if he wants to stay at Schalke past the Summer.” he said.

“Max is very happy here, Schalke is his home, we will try to make it him as comfortable financially as possible.

“He is playing the best season of his life, and the coach has found a position for him that Max didn’t believe he could play.

“Personally, I didn’t think he could either.” he finished.