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Jurgen Klopp will relish no-lose situation at Man City as Liverpool’s ‘pre-season’ begins

Liverpool’s pre-season starts tomorrow at the Etihad. The Premier League match against Manchester City has little meaning for Jurgen Klopp and his team. The campaign was over the moment the Premier League trophy was in the bag. The next few weeks provide the perfect opportunity to prepare for 2020-21 and the title defence.

The champions can set a number of new benchmarks. City’s 100-point record points haul is in Liverpool’s sights. Klopp’s side are 23 points clear at the top of the table, easily on pace to beat the widest winning margin of 19 points, another mark set by Pep Guardiola’s team. With seven games remaining, Liverpool can rack up the most wins in a season and set new standards for home and away victories. They can spend their next seven games underlining their dominance.

Or they could take a different approach, one that may be more beneficial in the long run. Klopp has the chance switch to friendly mode. Most of Liverpool’s main rivals will spend the majority of July battling for top-four spots. City’s season will last even longer. The Champions League – Guardiola’s main target – restarts at the knockout stage on August 7 and climaxes with the final in Lisbon 15 days later.

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The short turnaround to the new season which begins on 11 September means there will be little time to rest, recover and prepare between campaigns. While everyone else is charging around, Liverpool can take the time to recharge their batteries.

This is the perfect situation for the runaway champions. Managers and players rarely get the luxury of being able to plan ahead. They are fixated on the next match and are hostages to the tyranny of results. Every game matters in the Premier League. Except now. For Liverpool at least, they don’t.

The Coronavirus emergency has skewed the calendar and it will be hard to assess the impact of this elongated season until next May. Clubs need to adapt to the new environment. It is not the same for everyone. City’s schedule is punishing. If they reach the Champions League final they will barely stop for a breath between now and the new year. Liverpool, meanwhile, can stroll through to September at their own pace. Never have the defending champions had a greater advantage in their quest to win back-to-back titles.

Klopp’s competitive instincts – and sense of sporting fairness – will militate against filling his team with backups and allowing youngsters to learn on the job in the next seven games. The 53-year-old should take a canny approach to the next month, though. In February his team were showing signs of tiredness after their blockbusting start to the season.

Even if Covid-19 had not intervened, a dip in form would have barely delayed clinching the title. If Liverpool do things right over the next few weeks, they could be in a similar position next February – adrift of the field and racing to a second Premier League trophy – only fresher. The most important members of the squad will benefit from some physical and psychological downtime in the next few weeks and fringe players will relish the chance to make their mark.

Anfield’s golden age in the 1970s and 80s was characterised by a simple ethos: the most valuable trophy is the next one. Records were a mere by-product of glory and not an end in themselves. Klopp has reset attitudes within the club and the German will not lose sight of what’s most important.

Everything is falling Liverpool’s way at the moment. The postponement of the Africa Cup of Nations until 2022 means that Sadio Mane and Mo Salah will be available to play throughout next season instead of being absent for up to six weeks. That is another blow to opponents. City will clap their rivals on to the pitch at the Etihad with gritted teeth but no one can claim Klopp’s team are lucky. Liverpool warrant the applause, in the same way they have earned the right to cruise through to the end of the campaign.

Klopp’s team are in a no-lose situation. They can bask in success and ready themselves for the next challenge at the same time without any real concern for results.

The road to the next title begins at the Etihad and the best thing about it for Liverpool is they do not even need to win.

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Mo Salah drops hint over Liverpool future with ‘once-in-a-generation’ admission

Mohamed Salah says Liverpool must make the most of their once in a generation team by winning even more trophies.

And the Anfield star has insisted he wants to stay at the club “for a long time”, to make that happen.

Speaking to global sports broadcaster beIN SPORTS, the forward fans call the Egyptian King revealed his joy at lifting the title.

“We should make a great use of this generation, as we have good chemistry between us and you can find harmony and everyone knows what to do and where to find our team-mates,” he said.

“Staying at our peak is not something easy but we’ll play hard to keep winning trophies. It’s impossible to me to say that I have enough trophies and I reached my maximum. I will continue to do my best to make next year better than the one before.

“I’m very happy. I can’t describe my feelings after we won the league after 30 years. I can see people’s joy and this is so important for all of us. I enjoy the atmosphere here. I love this place and I hope to stay for a long time.”

Salah revealed his love for Anfield and the extraordinary sight of the Kop in full voice. He even admitted to realising he one day wanted to play there, when visiting with Chelsea in a disappointing first spell in the Premier League.

“The atmosphere here is different to any other place. It’s really special. I remember I even felt that when I was playing with Chelsea, and that is what made me feel wanting to play here, and to come to play with Liverpool,” he said.

“Everything is special about it, from the beginning, hearing You’ll Never Walk Alone boosts your enthusiasm and makes you feel you want to give more and more.

“I’m really delighted to win the league with Liverpool after 30 years. After I left Chelsea, I was determined to go back and change everything.

“ I went back, won the UEFA Champions League, the league and was the top goal scorer for two seasons, I think I did well.”

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Salah has now won four trophies in a year at Liverpool but he believe it is possible to win even more now, under the relentless management of Jurgen Klopp. And he says everyone is in it together, despite rumours of a rift with Sadio Mane.

“We have adapted well as a team and our understanding is perfect. If this continues, we can achieve more. It’s difficult to maintain our current level, but it’s not impossible.

“[With Mane] it is isn’t a fight. Everyone wants to help Liverpool to win and support other team mates. Sometimes we get angry in the match, but that finished immediately

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Jordan Henderson on leadership, Liverpool’s Premier League title win and a very special next tattoo

Amid Liverpool’s squad and staff chorusing a thundering cry of ‘campione, campione’ at Formby Hall as Jurgen Klopp’s wife and sons listened in on speaker, Andy Robertson and Adam Lallana pointed to the blank canvas on Jordan Henderson’s right thigh.

On the opposite side, ink serves as a permanent homage to lifting the Champions League trophy in Madrid a year ago.

When the captain decided to tattoo the biggest achievement of his career at that point while on holiday in California, his teammates told him to prime for the pain of getting another trophy immortalised on his skin. Not just any piece of silverware either.

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Before securing their sixth European Cup and the first trophy under Klopp at the Wanda Metropolitano, Liverpool missed out on the league title to Manchester City by a point.

The team reported back for the current campaign with a crystalline focus: winning the top-flight for the first time in three decades.

When that objective was reached, the players duly reminded Henderson of their prediction and the fact he’d now have to decorate his right thigh.

“A few of the lads have mentioned that to be fair,” the skipper said, fresh from the celebrations of Liverpool being crowned England’s best.

“So I don’t think I can let them down, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

This conversation takes place on Friday afternoon, the effects of an all-nighter to toast ending a 30-year wait for domestic supremacy by a 23-point margin still visible.

The party the evening prior stretched into the early hours, with the final players standing only going to bed just before 5am.

But when Henderson returned home after a round of golf, there was no respite from his most important responsibilities.

“As soon as I came in, I was on the back foot,” said the father of two daughters and a baby boy. “I had to start looking after the kids and basically letting them boss me about for a few hours before bed.

“They were just having their tea and asking me to make them a drink. As I walked through the door, the baby was handed into my arms. To be fair, I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The stream of congratulations hadn’t stopped, so much so that Henderson “can’t open my phone, I can’t literally get through them all and reply to them all.

“It will take quite a while to do and at the minute I cannot even look at it or think about that. It is overwhelming you know. It will take a while to sink in properly.”

Henderson has become the first captain in British football history to hold the European Cup, European Super Cup, World Club Cup and domestic league title simultaneously.

But typically, it is the collective effort that resonates with him rather than individual honour.

“I don’t really think about stuff like that,” the 30-year-old said when his record, highlighted by Kenny Dalglish, is brought up. “I’m thinking ‘we’ve done it. We finally got over the line and won the Premier League.’

“After so many years, to give back what the fans have wanted so badly, feels amazing for all of us involved at the football club.

“I’m just honoured and proud to be part of it. I think the manager mentioned it – this is not only for us as players and the fans, but it is also for people like Stevie [Steven Gerrard] and Kenny, who mean so much to this football club.

“I know how much it means to Stevie to win the league title. He is so happy for us to be able to do that.

“I was devastated in 2014 that we couldn’t get over the line for him, but I know that he will be so happy and so proud of this team to be able to bring the league trophy to Liverpool.

“This one is quite personal for me and definitely to do it for him is quite big.”

Gerrard was one of the first to salute Henderson privately, before sharing an image of him putting the armband on his successor with the caption “couldn’t have passed it to a better person, proud of you mate” on Instagram.

Since taking over the captaincy in 2015, Henderson has hurdled unfair and myopic comparisons with the club legend.

When the final whistle went at the Wanda Metropolitano a year ago, it finally felt like a full stop to that exhausting discussion.

Following that up with a benchmark-setting title win only further underscores a Trent Alexander-Arnold declaration: “We wouldn’t be where we are now without Hendo.”

The England international has always interpreted the leadership role in his own way, playing to his own strengths. Finally, his approach is being appreciated and respected in its own right.

“I have said this before when I first took over the role of the captaincy when people might have doubted me and criticised me as a person, but I will always say this – no one will replace Steven Gerrard at this football club no matter what captains or teams win,” Henderson said.

“No one will ever replace him. It wasn’t even in my mind when I took over the captaincy to replace him, it was just to do the best I could the best for this football club and this team and that is all I ever try to do.”

Klopp’s description of Liverpool as “mentality monsters” is a mirror of himself and also of Henderson.

From overcoming Osgood-Schlatter disease, a growing-pains condition requiring regular treatment, to being “smaller and skinnier” than the other young hopefuls at Sunderland’s academy, the midfielder has been flipping the finger to setbacks and severe criticism for two decades.

At 21, he was considered an expensive flop when transferring from the Stadium of Light to Anfield. A year later, he rejected being used as a makeweight in a deal for Fulham’s Clint Dempsey. Joey Barton accused Henderson of “trying to impersonate legends” in 2015, while Alex Ferguson was critical of the player’s gait in his autobiography.

For a long time, a large swathe of Liverpool fans were blind to his value too.

Henderson has used his own experiences to help others in the squad through similar periods of self-doubt and he credits the resilience of the squad for a silverware-lined year.

“There have been so many setbacks,” he said.

“Losing the league on the last day by a point was tough but we reacted in the right way to win the Champions League.

“We started this season really well, showed consistency and a great mentality from everyone to keep a high standard and the winning run going. Then you’re at the point when you’re nearer and nearer to the title and then there’s a global pandemic!

“It was unbelievable really. I’m sure anyone could actually believe what was happening and it still hasn’t really sunk in. We’ve had different things that we’ve had to deal with and again that’s just credit to the boys.

“It was a frustrating time, certainly for me, over the past few months. Obviously, what was going on in the world is much more important, but at the same time, I just wanted to get back and play football to do what we’ve been working so hard towards for so many years.

“Thankfully, the season resumed and even though it was under different circumstances, we finished the job off. I couldn’t be prouder of this team and how they’ve reacted to so many different obstacles not only this season, but over the past few years.

“It’s not particularly hard to be honest when you’ve got the group that we’ve got and the lads we have. We have leaders within that and we see the manager as being someone who would never let any distractions get in the way of what we’re trying to achieve.

“And to be honest, if you asked the same question after the Champions League final, you could ask ‘would they still have that drive, that hunger to go on and win more?’ And I think we have proven this season we do.

“It is down to us next season to prove we still have that desire and hunger and I have no doubt we will have, knowing the lads for a long time, knowing the manager and myself.

“We just want to win football games. It’s been a special journey so far, but I hope it can last a lot longer and there’s a lot more to come because we can still do better and still be better.

“Of course now, you’ve got to enjoy the moment, but then straight away the attention turns to Manchester City, for me. We’ll probably get another period where we can enjoy it a little bit more on holiday with family, if that is possible. But then quickly it turns again and you get straight back into it, and the focus will be on what we can achieve next season and what we want to do as a team.

“And I know that hunger will always be there, certainly for me and the lads and the manager. We have just got to go out and show everyone that is the case.”

Does Thursday’s encounter at City help Liverpool refocus given the quality of the opposition and the growing rivalry between England’s top two teams?

“To be honest, we’ve got seven games left and I’m not bothered who we’re playing,” said Henderson, who flagged Pep Guardiola’s juggernaut and Chelsea as challengers next season.

“What we’ve been so good at over the last few years is of course we respect the teams we face, but we want to win every game regardless of where it is or who we’re playing.

“The next game is City, who are a fantastic side – an unbelievable side, really. They’ve got amazing players, but we’ll go into the game wanting to be the best that we can be and do everything we can to win the game. The mentality of the lads will never change.

“Look, I know what they’re like and I know they’ll want more.

“They’ll want to keep going and keep improving because the hard bit now is continuing that consistency and intensity to keep going at the highest level, keep winning trophies.

“That’s going to be a new challenge for us to cope with and I’ve got every confidence from us that we’ll meet it.”

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Klopp could alter Liverpool summer transfer plans as Reds avoid ‘catastrophe’

Liverpool have been boosted by the news that they won't lose Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita to the Africa Cup of Nations next season, and that could spark a change in transfer approach for Jurgen Klopp.

The newly-crowned Premier League champions have seen their ambitions to successfully defend their crown given a shot in the arm by the news that their African trio won't be needed by their countries next January, with the tournament in Cameroon instead pushed back a year.

Klopp had called the decision to move the tournament back to the European winter "a catastrophe" earlier this year, and suggested that it would make him think twice about signing more African players.

“We will not sell Sadio, Mo or Naby now because they have a tournament in January and February – of course not," he said in January this year before a Premier League clash against Manchester United.

"But if you have to make a decision about bringing in a player it is a massive one because before the season you know for four weeks you don't have them.

“That's a normal process and as a club you have to think about these things. It doesn't help the players, for sure.”

The previous Africa Cup of Nations was held in Egypt last summer, so Liverpool weren't affected by the loss of the trio shortly after they'd won the Champions League.

Prior to that it was held in Gabon in January and February 2017, when the Reds – who hadn't yet signed Egypt's Salah and Guinea's Keita – suffered a huge dip in form when they lost Senegal star Mane for seven games, winning just one.

“The Africa Cup of Nations going back to January is, for us, a catastrophe," continued Klopp in January this year.

“On top of that we have absolutely no power so if we did say 'We don't let him go' the player is suspended. How is that possible that the company who pays the player cannot decide that the player has to stay or not?

“If you would say 'Let's play the African Cup of Nations but the players play in other countries, not in Africa, it still would be a great tournament but not the superstars but the superstars of tomorrow.

“I don't say that would be a solution for it but it is strange we have absolutely no say. We just sit there and plan the route, the flight for the boys, and say 'There you go, have the boys'.

“Nowadays it should not be like this. But I speak here about it and no-one will listen. It is like the biggest waste of time ever. The Moaner from Liverpool or whatever it is again, on track. As long as nothing changes I will say it all the time.”

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Liverpool break nine-year transfer record as net spend tiny compared to rivals

Liverpool are the first Premier League champions to spend less than £10million on transfers in the season they won the league for nine years, having shelled out just £8.6million during their title-winning campaign.

The Reds wrapped up the 2019/20 title – their 19th league success overall but a first in the Premier League era – when Chelsea beat their closest challengers Manchester City at Stamford Bridge last Thursday.

That led to wild celebrations among the squad, who were gathered together to watch the game back on Merseyside.

Among their number was the Japanese attacking midfielder Takumi Minamino, who the Reds spent £7.25million on in January, and the young defender Sepp van den Berg, who was signed from Dutch side PEC Zwolle for £1.35million last summer.

The pair – who have only made five Premier League appearances between them this season, all Minamino's – are the only two players Liverpool have spent money on in the past year.

Goalkeepers Adrian and Andy Lonergan also arrived on free transfers, while Harvey Elliott's fee has yet to be determined as Fulham will take the Reds to a tribunal over a price for the youngster.

That makes Liverpool's title winning season the least expensive – in terms of transfer fees, at least – since Manchester United won the league in 2010/11 having spent just £6.3million that campaign, according to Premier League Productions.

Sir Alex Ferguson brought in the likes of Chris Smalling and Javier Hernandez that summer ahead of clinching his 12th and penultimate Premier League title.

Since that time every other Premier League winner has spent over £60million, bar Leicester's £27.3million in 2015/16.

Liverpool's low fees go alongside their incredibly meagre net spend during Jurgen Klopp's time in charge to paint a healthy transfer picture at the club.

As detailed by The Athletic, at a total of £92.4million the Reds' net transfer spend over the last five years is much less than the likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, Aston Villa, Newcastle United and Watford.

Over the same period, Manchester City's net spend is some £505.6million and Manchester United's is £378.9million.

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Liverpool stars "can’t lace Kevin de Bruyne’s boots", says ex-Reds midfielder

Danny Murphy has claimed some of Liverpool's stars 'can't lace Kevin de Bruyne's boots'.

Jurgen Klopp's side are 23 points ahead of Manchester City and romped to the Premier League title with seven games to spare.

Pep Guardiola's men will give the Reds a guard of honour on Thursday night ahead of the clash between the teams at the Etihad.

Former Liverpool midfielder Murphy has slammed the idea and says some of Klopp's squad are not in the same league as City star De Bruyne.

He said: "Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder, probably, in the world, and he's clapping his hands and giving a guard of honour to players who can't even lace his boots."

Guardiola believes Liverpool deserve the recognition after replacing them at the summit.

However, Murphy claims the act is meaningless.

He told talkSPORT : "It's a perception of respect, 'the right thing to do', the message you're trying to send to the football world that when somebody wins, that you show respect and grace.

"The fact City will be doing it on Thursday will show humility, saying 'well done' to Liverpool and appreciation for their quality. I think it's a load of nonsense!

"I don't know where it started and why it started, I would feel uncomfortable doing it.

"I'd do it because you have to do it, but I wouldn't want to do it, because it's not done with sincerity.

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"If I was a Liverpool player and United won the league, you know they're better than you, you respect that and you're trying your best to be like them, so they know you respect them.

"The fans don't want you to do it, the players don't really want to do it, it's all for effect and it doesn't mean anything."

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Liverpool told they won’t have transfer advantage just because they’re champions

Liverpool legend John Barnes has warned that players won't necessarily favour a move to Anfield over the likes of Manchester City this summer even given the Reds' sensational season.

Jurgen Klopp is likely to be keen to add one or two stars to his squad this summer as he tries to retain the Premier League title next season as well as win back the Champions League.

The likes of Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly have been linked, but speaking to BonusCodeBets.co.uk, Barnes said finances will still have a big part to play in any deal.

"If Manchester City offer Koulibaly twice the salary, then he'll go to Manchester City," Barnes said.

"The whole idea that Liverpool are the champions and that means he’ll go to them, that’s not the case. Liverpool is an attractive proposition, as attractive as anybody else, whether they are more attractive than Barcelona or Manchester City I don’t think that’s necessarily true.

"What may happen is that his type of football may suit Liverpool. I don’t think he’s suited to the type of football that Manchester City play."

Some may question why Liverpool need any further signings given the ease with which they won the title this season.

But Barnes thinks it is important that they do not go stale, and has urged them to make moves in the window if there are players available that they think could improve the squad.

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"Liverpool always looking to improve on players and you’re always going to be linked with players if you’re a big club and it’s a good time to buy when you’re at the top," he added.

"I don’t think there’ll be many signings coming to Liverpool. If there’s a signing that they feel will improve them they’ll do that, but that’s no different to any other club."

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Liverpool transfer news – Thiago latest, Lovren in Koulibaly swap bid

Liverpool’s plans for the 2020/21 campaign start now, with Jurgen Klopp already plotting how and where to strengthen the Reds for their title defence next season.

Frustration over losing out to Chelsea in the race for Timo Werner is unlikely to deter the former Borussia Dortmund boss from dipping into the summer market.

However, with funds likely to be restricted at Anfield, Klopp will be aiming for squad additions and potentially one big-name purchase.

We take a look at the biggest transfer rumours involving the new Premier League champions.

Bayern Munich react to Liverpool interest in Thiago

Bayern Munich boss Hans-Dieter Flick remains convinced star midfielder Thiago Alcantara will remain with the Bundesliga champions, despite interest from Liverpool.

The Spanish international has been linked with an exit from the Allianz Arena after talks over a contract extension, stalled earlier this month.

However, Flick is unmoved by the speculation, insisting the former Barcelona man remains central to his plans.

“I don’t think about Thiago leaving us at all,” he said as per a report from the Daily Express, following Bayern’s final game of the season.

“Thiago is an exceptional player, who gives a lot to the team, so I do not think about him leaving.”

Flick confirmed talks are ongoing with Thiago’s representatives, but with no update at this stage.

If Bayern do opt to eventually sell, he could be available for a fee of around £54m.

Liverpool offer Lovren in Koulibaly swap deal

Liverpool could offer Croatian international Dejan Lovren to Serie A giants Napoli, as part of a deal to bring Kalidou Koulibaly to Anfield.

Klopp has been linked with a host of defensive targets in recent weeks, including Sevilla star Diego Carlos and Real Valladolid’s Mohammed Salisu.

However, according to reports from the Daily Mail, via Tuttosport, Klopp will challenge Manchester City for the signature of Senegal international Koulibaly.

Napoli are currently demanding in the region of £90m for the 29-year old, but Liverpool are hoping the inclusion of Lovren could lower that price to closer to £70m.

Lovren looks set to leave Anfield this summer, despite claiming he wants to stay and fight for his place.

Reds battle neighbours over Ligue 1 star

Liverpool and Everton will reportedly go head to head to sign Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara this summer.

Kamara, who can operate at full back and centre-back, has been linked with a move away from the French club after an eye-catching campaign with Andre Villas-Boas’ side.

Reports from French outlet Le10 Sport claim Everton are currently ahead of their rivals in the race to sign the 20-year old, with Liverpool eyeing him as a backup option to Koulibaly.

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Marseille secured Champions League qualification at the end of the 2019/20 French season, but Villas Boas has been told he needs to sell players this summer.

Kamara is just one of his stars who could be heading for an exit after an impressive 12 months at the Stade Velodrome.

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Luis Suarez makes huge Jordan Henderson claim after Liverpool title triumph

Luis Suarez has claimed Jordan Henderson is "one of the best captains in Liverpool ’s history" after the Reds skipper led his team to the Premier League title.

Henderson is the only Liverpool captain to win domestic, European and world crowns at the club – doing all three in the past year.

The midfielder is also considered one of the candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award following his impressive performances this season.

It's been a remarkable rise for Henderson after his initially difficult spell at Anfield, and Suarez has been full of praise for his former teammate.

"I am so happy for him because when he arrived in Liverpool they had a not-really-good moment," Suarez told the official Liverpool website. "He came in from Sunderland and it’s difficult for an English player, when they come to a bigger club.

"I think when he had near him Steven Gerrard, he can see how Stevie is, how he is all of Liverpool. I think the best teacher he had is Steven."

Henderson almost left Liverpool under Brendan Rodgers but opted to stay and fight for his place.

It was while Suarez was at the club that Henderson broke into the side and played an integral part in the team that narrowly missed out on the title in 2014.

After taking over armband duties from Gerrard, Henderson has gone from strength to strength under Klopp.

And Suarez feels his achievements in the last year have put Henderson on a par with some of Liverpool's great leaders of years gone by.

“When he lifted the [Champions League] trophy, the dream is done but this season I [will be happy to] see him lifting the [Premier League] trophy because he is a really good person.

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"I speak sometimes with him and I said to him, ‘You have a really good chance this season’ and he is so excited."

"We [ Barcelona ] watch some [Liverpool] games when we can and we see that Jordan, he is the captain from the midfield.

"He speaks a lot and for his teammates this is so important, when they have confidence with the captain. For me, Jordan is one of the best captains in Liverpool’s history."

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Liverpool chairman Tom Werner hails role of Michael Edwards in title win

Liverpool chairman Tom Werner has paid tribute to Michael Edwards as being one of the unsung heroes of the Reds' Premier League triumph.

The Merseyside club mathematically confirmed their maiden Premier League crown, and their first league title for 30 years, earlier this week after rivals Manchester City lost to Chelsea.

While the public sees Jurgen Klopp and his players swatting opponents aside, sporting director Edwards is the man who has masterminded from behind the curtain.

Edwards arrived at Anfield as Head of Performance and Analysis in 2011, having previously worked at Portsmouth and Tottenham, before moving up to the sporting director role in November 2016.

As part of his role, Edwards got rid of flops like Jordon Ibe and Christian Benteke and replaced them with the likes of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk.

"Michael operates under the radar but his role in our success cannot be underestimated," Werner told the Athletic. "He has been pivotal to it.

"It’s not simply about going out and finding the highest-priced target. It’s about developing our talent and making long-term arrangements with them so there’s consistency year after year.

"I also want to pay tribute to Michael’s key staff in Dave Fallows and Barry Hunter. They work tirelessly too to give Jurgen the support that he needs.”

Werner also piled praise on manager Klopp for his ability to share the acclaim for the club's success.

“There is a banner on the Kop that says ‘Unity Is Strength’. I think one of Jurgen’s great qualities is that he understands that while he is the leader, he shares this trophy not just with the players, but with Michael Edwards and all the other staff too.

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“Look at how he responded to winning the league on Thursday, taking the time to thank all of his staff individually. He just wants everyone to participate in this triumph.

“Not only have we acquired great talent but Jurgen makes great talent even better. He’s a brilliant strategist and he’s brilliant in terms of his competitiveness. But he also has such empathy and such a big heart and I think that’s apparent to everybody.”

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