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You're Out: Klopp dumps 'fantastic' £8m Liverpool misfit after Anfield fail. Transfer talks opened

Will Liverpool retain Steven Caulker this summer? Liverpool have an option make the defender's deal permanent, but new reports today (unsurprisingly) suggest that Caulker is close to leaving Anfield.

Liverpool have not officially confirmed the end of Caulker's stay at the club, but according to Sky Sports today:

"Crystal Palace have opened negotiations over the transfer of Steven Caulker".

After sealing the deal in January, Klopp explained why Caulker^ was allegedly the 'best solution' for Liverpool:

"He [Caulker] is a good header of the ball. We want to press so the opponent plays long balls [and] you need people who can help you with headers".

Soon after, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson delivered a withering verdict on Klopp's decision to sign Caulker:

"I don’t think he [Caulker] is anywhere near good enough to become a regular for Liverpool. He couldn’t even get into QPR’s team. He seems to have gone backwards".

Caulker has made just one start for the Reds, and played more games as a makeshift centre-forward than as a central defender, which begs the question: why sign him in the first place?

Klopp could've brought in a loan player capable of playing regularly and making a difference, but he chose instead to sign a squad filler who rarely made the match-day squad, let alone the bench.

Clearly, the allegedly 'fantastic' Caulker was the best solution...for wasting money on a pointless salary.

^ Cost QPR £8m

Liverpool MegaDeal: Klopp now free to sign €60m Barcelona 'revelation'. Contact made by Agent

Upgrading the full-back positions are a top priority for Liverpool this summer, and most of the focus appears to be on bringing in a new left-back to replace Alberto Moreno. What about right-back, though? With Jon Flanagan, and Nathaniel Clyne in the squad, Liverpool appear to be well-covered, but Jurgen Klopp has been handed an opportunity to add to the club's options in that position.

According to TV3 in Spain:

"Aleix Vidal's agent has offered the player to Liverpool. Barcelona don't want to sell, but value the Spaniard at €60m [£45m]".

Some info about Vidal:

* 26-year old right-back (85% of games at Barca), who mostly played as a right/left winger at Sevilla. Current contract expires: 2020.

* Barcelona: 3 goals/assists in 14 apps for Barcelona last season (averaged 63 mins of playing time per game)

* July 2015: Luis Suarez's assessment: "Aleix Vidal is a player with a lot of talent and [he] showed that at his past clubs".

* July 2015: After signing Vidal, Barcelona VP Jordi Mestre raved: "Vidal is a versatile player with great physical power. He is the revelation of the season".

I think it's safe to predict that this is a total non-starter:

Vidal cost Barcelona €18m a year ago, so unexpected bouts of spectacular insanity notwithstanding, it's doubtful that Liverpool will splurge €60m on a player who has struggled to maintain a first-team place at the Nou Camp.

Vidal's versatility is enticing, but if the Reds are going to spend big bucks this summer, there are other areas of the team that should be prioritised ahead of strengthening the right-back position.

Anfield-bound: Klopp impressed by 'adventurous' €8m attacker who wants to 'play for Liverpool' next season

After a year on-loan at Deportivo La Coruna, 'adventurous' Liverpool attacker Luis Alberto is heading back to Anfield this summer, and it appears that Reds boss Jurgen Klopp is willing to give the Spaniard a chance to fight for a first-team place next season.

When asked this week about Alberto's immediate future, his agent, Alvaro Torres, told Spanish newspaper Marca:

"He [Alberto] will attend the pre-season with Liverpool. The first thing is to talk with Liverpool and see what opinion they have ".

According to the Liverpool Echo, Klopp's 'opinion' appears to be positive:

"Alberto has impressed Klopp with his displays at Deportivo [and] Liverpool are happy for [Alberto] to return and fight for his place, the ECHO understands".

Thi is good news for Alberto, who, earlier this month, admitted':

“The new manager is extra motivation to return. I spoke with Klopp...and [it was] positive. The chance to play for Liverpool is not presented very often".

Alas, he also noted:

"I would love to play in the Europa League or Champions League next season".

Bummer! Alberto's stats this season:

* 6 goals/8 assists in 31 games (One every 152 mins).

* Averaged 71 minutes of playing time per game.

* 31 chances created (1 every 68 minutes)

* Three separate injuries (Thigh, achilles, and groin). 74 days out injured. 11 games missed.

A decent creative return, but not enough to break into Liverpool's starting line-up. It might be enough to achieve regular bench duty next season, but at the age of 23, Alberto needs to be playing regular first-team football, and he has that at Deportivo.

Additionally, Alberto's best position is central attacking midfielder (i.e. number-10), and that's the role he's played most often for Deportivo. With Coutinho, Lallana, and Firmino, Liverpool are oversubscribed in that position, which will make it even harder for Alberto to get regular game time (Just ask Teixeira!).

In my view, a return to Anfield is tantamount to career suicide; if the opportunity arises, Alberto should just stay with Deportivo, or sign for another team that offers regular football.

^May 2016: Alberto confirmed that he cost Liverpool €8m.

Anfield Update: Boss confirms 'exceptional' £70k-a-week attacker is on his way to Liverpool again Milan fail

Last month, Liverpool misfit Mario Balotelli made it emphatically clear that he wants out of Anfield, but with loan club AC Milan unwilling to offer him a permanent, it looks like Balotelli is on his way back to Merseyside.

When asked in April about his future, Balotelli declared:

"I want to stay at Milan. I do not want to return to Liverpool. I was never happy at Liverpool".

This is clearly the best possible outcome for both parties, but Milan Chief Silvio Berlusconi has today confirmed that there's no room for Balotelli at the club:

"There are going to be many players leaving us. Players like Alex, Mexes, Boateng and Balotelli are all out of contract, and there will be others released too".

Thanks, Silvio! You had one job: relieve Liverpool of the burden of Balotelli, and you couldn't even get that right!

Forget tax fraud, bribery, Mafia ties, and false accounting - inflicting Balotelli on Liverpool is Berlusconi's most heinous crime, and like always, someone else will suffer the consequences ;-)

Balotelli's desire to 'leave Liverpool' will not endear him to Jurgen Klopp, and even if Sturridge gets injured again, harder-working players like Origi and Ings will always get the nod ahead of the Italian.

Quite simply, Balotelli - hailed in February by Berlusconi for his 'exceptional ball control' - is a transfer mistake, and the sooner he's off the books, the better.


^ Reportedly on £70k a week.

Does L-Kop need a Discussion Forum/Message Board? All views welcome!

Should the site have a discussion forum? It's an oft-requested feature from members of the discussion community, but I'm only going to do it if visitors (especially regulars who comment on the articles) think it's a good idea.

I'm interested in your views on the following:

* Does the site need a message board?

* Should it be non-football only, or a mix of football and off-topic boards?

* What specific board categories would you like to see?

* What board features do you deem to be essential and/or would you like to have?

* Are there any negatives to having a message board? Do the positives outweigh the negatives?

Etc. All views welcome, and if people want a board, then I'll set it up specifically with your comments in mind.

If a message board is created, I'd like it to be moderated by regular visitors to the site. Obviously, I'd have admin powers, but I'd leave pretty much every aspect of running the board to the Mods, including word filters, deletions, registration issues, creating new boards, banning people (if necessary) etc.

From looking at all the board software available, Proboards seems to be the standout option, and there are literally dozens of great features. Have a look and see what you think: https://www.proboards.com/free-forum-features.

Proboards is not set in stone, though, and if anyone thinks there are better options out there, please say so :-)

If the board gets the go-ahead, it'll be set-up with all your comments in mind.

So, what do you think: Yay or Nay?

EDIT: Another option is an on-site instant chat system, such as Chatwee, which has some great features.

survey software

Transfer Breakthrough: Liverpool closer to signing 'unbelievable' £15m sensation who wants LFC transfer

After weeks of speculation, Liverpool are reportedly close to sealing a cut-price deal for Leicester City starlet Ben Chilwell.

Two weeks ago, multiple reports claimed Liverpool is Chilwell's 'preferred destination'. Soon after, The Mirror claimed the Jurgen Klopp had 'won the race' to sign Chilwell, and according to the Daily Mail today:

"Liverpool are to make a £4m offer for Ben Chilwell this week. Leicester rejected £5m from Arsenal in January and LFC may improve their offer if the initial one is rejected".

So, let's get this straight:

* Leicester reject a £5m bid, which, correct me if I'm wrong (as I may be way off base here), means the club is unwilling to sell at that price.

* After in-depth consideration of all the options, Liverpool's cunning plan is to...submit a lower bid than the offer already rejected.

Gosh. What a stunningly imaginative strategy. Clearly, Liverpool's transfer policy is in good hands, and I'd advise anyone reading this to take notes on such a foolproof approach to transfer negotiation.

But seriously: what is the point in lowballing Leicester if they've already rejected a higher bid? It serves no purpose, and just leads to a waste of everyone's time. Some info about Chilwell:

* Left-back. Graduated from Leicester's academy. Current contract expires: 2016. 3 senior apps for Leicester (cup competitions). No league appearances.

* Jan 2016: Channelling his inner-Brendan Rodgers, Claudio Ranieri raved: "He [Chilwell] was fantastic [Against Spurs]. It was unbelievable. He had a great match. He was sure and outstanding".

I remain unenthused at the prospect of Alberto Moreno being replaced by a 19-year old with only 3 senior appearances to his name, but if Liverpool can sign Chilwell for £6m-£8m, then the bulk of the fee will be covered by the sales of Jordan Rossiter, and Jerome Sinclair, which makes it basically risk-free.

Leicester reportedly want £15m+, though, so a lowball deal is unlikely to happen. After all, if Southampton can get £28m Luke Shaw (18 at the time of his Man Utd transfer), then Leicester will feel that £15m is fair price.

Liverpool have reportedly made an official offer for Lorient left-back Raphael Guerreiro, so perhaps Jurgen Klopp's plan is to sign two left backs, with Chilwell lined up to be Guerreiro's understudy...?

Done Deal Soon? Agent confirms transfer for 'outstanding' £75k-a-week international captain is close. '90%' certainty

With Dejan Lovren's improved form, and the impending arrival of Joel Matip, Reds veteran Martin Skrtel has fight on his hands for a regular first-team place next season, and according to his Agent, the 'outstanding' Slovakian will almost certainly leave Anfield this summer.

Besiktas have reportedly made an official offer for Skrtel, and according to agent Mithat Halis:

“Besiktas want Skrtel. Turkish sides have been trying to sign him for five seasons".

When asked this week about Skrtel's future, his agent, Karol Csonto, told ESPN:

"I can say that it is 90% sure that Martin will leave Liverpool"

Liverpool's failure to qualify for Europe has probably hastened Skrtel's exit:

* Next season, the Reds face a reduced fixture schedule, and with only 40-45 games across the whole season (including domestic cups) the team cannot support four senior international centre-backs.

* Stability is the key to defensive solidity, and constantly rotating defenders is not conducive to achieving this. As such, Jurgen Klopp will probably stick with his core defensive partnership (especially in the league), and that means frustration for those not in the team.

On the other hand, there's no guarantee that Joel Matip will hit the ground running, and selling him without bringing in a replacement is madness. Skrtel has the experience and the ability to pick up the slack, but I doubt he'll be interested in permanent back-up status.

Skrtel is one of the few Liverpool players who plays with fire and passion, if he leaves, that aspect of his game will need to be replaced.

^ Reportedly on £75k-a-week

Anfield Smackdown: Legend disses 'Liverpool' over 'transfer' for 'extraordinary' £37m attacker. Bad News for future deals?

Earlier this week, the Agent of Liverpool target Mario Gotze^ refuted suggestions that the 'extraordinary' Bayern Munich attacker is on the verge of signing for Liverpool, and with the deal almost certainly off, Germany legend Lothar Matthaus has stuck the knife into the Reds for even attempting to sign Gotze.

On Sunday, Gotze told Bild:

"I look forward to the new season and will do everything to be in top shape for my first training session under Carlo Ancelotti".

Two days later, Gotze's agent insisted:

“I don’t know anything about a transfer to Liverpool. Mario is my son, and I would know about it.”

When asked on Wednesday about the Gotze deal, Matthaus delivered a withering response:

"Why would he [Gotze] join a club that does not even play in the Champions League? He would have taken the easy solution with a move to Liverpool...but he is taking on a challenge instead".

Ouch! Matthaus is obviously not impressed with Liverpool's failure to qualify for Europe next season, and his disdain comes through loud and clear in his implicit assertion that the Reds are not good enough for Gotze.

Matthaus also attributes zero weight to the fact that fellow German Jurgen Klopp is LFC's manager; in his eyes, Champions League football is the deciding factor, and, unfortunately, many top players will inevitably share this view.

Finishing 8th in the league - like Graeme Souness in 1994 - is utterly lamentable, and I maintain (as I have all season) that Klopp had more than enough time (and quality at his disposal) to finish in the top six.

Liverpool's inability to achieve that is a failure of epic proportions, with far-reaching consequences for the club's transfer prospects.

^ £37m-rated.

Contact Confirmed: 'Liverpool' make official 'offer' to sign 'incredible' €25m international. Next transfer?

In January, Liverpool reportedly held 'transfer talks' with FC Lorient re a deal for Raphael Guerreiro, and the club's VP has now confirmed that Jurgen Klopp is definitely trying to sign the coveted left-back.

When asked on Wednesday about Guerreiro's future, Lorient vice-president Alex Hayes told Foot Mercato:

"He [Guerreiro] will only be sold if we receive an offer we cannot refuse. Four major clubs, including Dortmund and Liverpool have made ​​an offer, but none of these are satisfying".

Some info about Guerreiro:

* 22-year old left-back, who, according to Caen youth coach, Philippe Tranchant, 'can play almost anywhere'. Contract expires: June 2017.

* 18 goals/assists in 111 games for Lorient. Three appearances for the Portugal national team.

* Aug 2015: Lorient president Loic Fery insisted that Guerreiro 'is worth €25m'.

* Jan 2016: Caen youth coach Patrice Garande raved: "Guerreiro has incredible potential, and is very versatile. I am not surprised by his progress"

* Four Four Two Magazine's assessment: "Rarely caught out of position. Stamina to get up and down the flank, and the lightning pace to recover and attack".

'Rarely caught out of position'? Sign him up! After enduring Moreno's endless positional buffoonery, it'll be refreshing to have a left-back who actually understands how to play the role effectively. That said, even if Guerreiro signs for the Reds, it'll only be a stepping stone for him until he achieves his real dream:

"My dream is to play for Real Madrid. When you’re a footballer you can’t be indifferent to the history of that club".

If Liverpool bring in another left-back, and Moreno stays, it will surely be another nail in Brad Smith's coffin. Moreno, Guerreiro, Flanagan, and Clyne = far too much competition, and all are more experienced. The truth is that if Klopp trusted Smith - or even rated him highly - Liverpool wouldn't be looking at yet another left-back.

Surprise Transfer: 'Fantastic' £4m Liverpool attacker close to leaving Anfield after failure to agree new contract

In recent weeks, Liverpool youngsters Jordan Rossiter, Jerome Sinclair, and Daniel Trickett-Smith have all agreed deals to leave Anfield, and new reports suggest that the Reds are on the verge of losing another talented Academy player.

According to the Liverpool Echo:

"Sergi Canos [is] heading for a surprise exit after reaching a [contract] stalemate. A number of clubs are monitoring Canos, who is valued at £4m by LFC".

Canos - hailed by U21 coach Michael Beale as 'fantastic' - grabbed 10 goals/assists in 37 games for Brentford this season (one every 160 minutes), and in a recent interview, he waxed lyrical about playing for Liverpool next season:

“I want to show that I’m ready to play for Liverpool. When I was at Barca, I was like: ‘I hope one day I can work with Klopp’".

In my view, leaving Liverpool is the best thing Canos can do this summer. With Ibe, Ojo, Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana in the squad (plus more attackers inevitably arriving this summer), it'll be hard for Canos to get regular game time, especially with the reduced fixture list.

Canos rejected Barcelona for Liverpool, and playing for the Reds is his 'dream':

“Liverpool offered me things at a sporting level that Barça didn’t. I am searching for my dream, and every time I go to Anfield I get goosebumps".

Canos is a talented player, but the reality is that losing him won't make much difference to Liverpool's forward progress. After all, you can't miss what you never had, and the Spaniard has just ten minutes of game time to his name.

Another one bites the dust?