Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp makes Premier League vow as Reds close in on title glory

Jurgen Klopp insists his Liverpool players will not down tools once the Premier League title is won and will “try everything” to win all remaining 27 points and set a new league record. The Reds’ chase for a first title triumph since 1990 was put on hold by a three-month enforced break due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

But the Premier League will return on Wednesday June 17, and Liverpool get back to action knowing they need just six points to be crowned champions.

Before the break, they were on record-breaking pace with 82 points from 29 games, picking up 27 wins and losing just once.

While Watford put an end to any hopes of an unbeaten season, Liverpool can still set a new points record – needing to claim 19 points, or at least six wins and a draw, from the final nine matches.

That would see the Merseyside club surpass the 100-point tally Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City set in 2017-18.

And though Liverpool could even win the league in their first match back against Everton on June 20 if City lose to Arsenal days earlier, Klopp insists his squad will not think the season is over as soon as the title race is mathematically over.

“It’s nice to think about it but we are not champions yet and we know that,” Klopp told BBC Radio 5 Live Sport.

“We know we are close but close is not there. There are 27 points left for us and we will try everything to take them all.

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“We are still not champions. We have to play football games and we have to win them.

“We don’t want to stop winning after two games or whatever it is.

“I don’t see results written in the stars; we have to work really hard.”

Liverpool’s players have been back in full contact training in recent days and trained at Anfield on Monday to get used to playing in an empty stadium.

On the condition of his stars coming back to training after being restricted to keeping fit at home, the German boss continued: “Some of them were better than last summer after a shorter break.

When we start, we will have had four weeks – three weeks of contact training together – and that should be enough, it has to be enough.

That makes it impossible for Liverpool to put on the bus parade they had last season, when 750,000 fans lined the city to celebrate as the squad returned from Madrid with the Champions League trophy.

“If we become champions, whatever celebrations are possible we will do as a team internally and with all our supporters in the moment we are allowed to do so again,” Klopp added.

“I can promise that if it happens, there will be a parade as well. Whenever. Who cares!

“We only need one day when everybody is able to come and then we will do that.”

“You never know after a summer break how you will be when the season starts again and it is a little bit similar to this time.

“From the first match, we all play for absolutely everything.”

Klopp has also promised that should Liverpool end the club’s lengthy wait for a league title – as now seems inevitable – then the fans will get the party they crave… eventually.

Matches will be held behind closed doors for the foreseeable future and mass gatherings are also prohibited.

As it stands, people can meet in groups of up to six people provided strict social distancing guidelines – which require people to stay two metres apart – are adhered to.

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George Floyd death: Liverpool and Chelsea among Premier League clubs to show support for Black Lives Matter movement

Liverpool, Chelsea and Newcastle players have all taken a knee in a show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of American George Floyd.

Floyd died on May 25 after a white police officer, who has since been charged with his murder, held him down by pressing a knee into his neck.

A number of Liverpool players, including James Milner, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson, tweeted pictures of the squad on one knee around the centre circle at Anfield on Monday with the message, ‘Unity is strength #BlackLivesMatter’.

Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter pic.twitter.com/sSu2sarAXa

The squads at Chelsea and Newcastle followed suit on Tuesday, after footballers Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho had both called for “justice” over Floyd’s death, which has led to protests across the United States.

“It is something where we want to use our position to express that we are living in a world where we have to try to improve it for the future, to be a better world with more love, without hate,” Cezar Azpilicueta told Chelsea’s official website.

“We have seen recently the result of racism and we see every day that that kind of hate has to be eradicated from society, and we have to play our part.”

Before training at Cobham this morning, the Chelsea players and coaching staff formed the letter H, for humans, and knelt in a show of support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. pic.twitter.com/yI6kAywa93

Manchester United forward Rashford said society is “more divided than ever” in a powerful anti-racism message on Monday.

The 22-year-old wrote on Twitter: “I know you guys haven’t heard from me in a few days. I’ve been trying to process what is going on in the world.

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“At a time I’ve been asking people to come together, work together and be united, we appear to me more divided than ever. People are hurting and people need answers.

“Black lives matter. Black culture matters. Black communities matter. We matter.”

#blacklivesmatter pic.twitter.com/LSEeQ61YRz

It follows England team-mate Sancho revealing a message calling for “justice” after scoring for Borussia Dortmund on Sunday.

Sancho put Dortmund 2-0 up 57 minutes into their Bundesliga match against Paderborn, before removing his jersey to reveal an undershirt with a message reading “justice for George Floyd”.

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Sancho, who came through Manchester City’s academy before moving to Germany in 2017, and team-mate Achraf Hakimi were both shown a yellow card for removing their shirts during the tribute.

Solid performance from the team!! Delighted to get my first career hat trick, a bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We shouldn't fear speaking out for what's right, we have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼

A post shared by Jadon Sancho (@sanchooo10) on

The 20-year-old, who was part of the England squad that was subjected to sickening racist abuse in last year’s Euro 2020 qualifiers in Montenegro and Bulgaria, went on to score a hat-trick in the 6-1 victory.

Those tributes came after another Bundesliga player, Borussia Monchengladbach’s Marcus Thuram, went down on one knee after scoring earlier on Sunday in an apparent tribute to Floyd.

Thuram, the son of 1998 World Cup winner Lilian Thuram, briefly accepted the congratulations of his team-mates during the 4-1 win over Union Berlin, before dropping to his knee for five seconds with his head bowed.

Thuram later took to Twitter to say: “Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change #BLACK–LIVES–MATTERS.”

Together is how we move forward, together is how we make a change 👊🏿 #BLACK_LIVES_MATTERS pic.twitter.com/7OJUWqTLQZ

Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger posted a photo of the Frenchman’s celebration with the caption “R E S P E C T!” and “no explanation needed”.

Liverpool striker Rhian Brewster, who like Sancho was part of the England squad that won the 2017 U17 World Cup, highlighted the urgent need for change.

Brewster, who has spoken previously of suffering racist abuse on the field, wrote on Twitter and Instagram: “This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up.

⁣This is way deeper than just pointing out who’s staying quiet and who’s speaking up. Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard 1/3 pic.twitter.com/Lo3pvJlTQJ

“Unfortunately for us black/brown people etc, this is a real life & everyday occurrence in so many different ways. For years & generations we’ve been screaming out for change and to be heard yet the pain continues…”

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Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted #BlackLivesMatter to his 5.7m Twitter follows, which featured a video of a young black American girl in tears about inherent racism in society.

Tennis player Serena Williams tweeted Nike’s powerful ‘Don’t Do It’ video along with the message: “Don’t pretend there’s not a problem in America”.

Kick It Out urges all players to kneel for Floyd

Kick It Out chairman Sanjay Bhandari has urged all players to take a knee for Floyd because “we’re all hurt by racism”.

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Five Barcelona stars test positive for coronavirus ahead of La Liga restart

Barcelona stars and coaching staff tested positive for coronavirus ahead of a return to training but have now fully recovered. All five players were asymptomatic and have since gone on to make a full recovery.

The results were discovered through tests taken before a return to training in May and pose no problems for the club ahead of La Liga restarting.

Barcelona return to action against Mallorca on Saturday, May 13 as they look to win the title.

Quique Setien will hope his team can beat rivals Real Madrid in a close race for the La Liga trophy.

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La Liga fixtures

Thursday, June 11

Sevilla vs Real Betis (10pm)

Friday, June 12

Granada vs Getafe (7.30pm)

Valencia vs Levante (10pm)

Saturday, June 13

Espanyol vs Alaves (1pm)

Celta Vigo vs Villarreal (5pm)

Leganes vs Valladolid (7.30pm)

Mallorca vs Barcelona (10pm)

Sunday, June 14

Athletic Bilbao vs Atletico Madrid (1pm)

Real Madrid vs Eibar (7.30pm)

Real Sociedad vs Osasuna (10pm)

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Man Utd debunk Jadon Sancho transfer theory involving one player – EXCLUSIVE

Manchester United want to strengthen their side this summer with the signing of Borussia Dortmund and England winger Jadon Sancho. The 20-year-old underlined his talents by scoring his first ever hat-trick at the weekend for the Bundesliga giants.

Last week reports emerged that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had offered Alexis Sanchez as part of a swap deal to bring Sancho to Old Trafford.

But Express Sport understands no such bid was made and United have not included the former Arsenal man in any plans to sign their top target.

Sancho has been in sensational form this season, netting 20 goals and providing 20 assists in all competitions.

That has alerted the likes of United, Chelsea and Liverpool to his talents but Express Sport understand the Red Devils are the frontrunners.

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Sancho is keen on a move to the club and is good friends with Marcus Rashford.

Sanchez has been a flop at Old Trafford since his move from Arsenal and is currently on loan in Serie A with Inter Milan.

Antonio Conte’s side are not expected to make the deal permanent though, leaving United with a problem in finding a new club for the 31-year-old.

United boss Solskjaer has made a point of recruiting young talent that can develop at Old Trafford and become long-term stars for the club.

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It is all part of his plan to bridge the gap to Liverpool and Manchester City and compete for major honours again.

Sancho is keen to buy into the project and United have even reserved the No. 7 shirt for him if a deal is struck this summer.

One sticking point for the deal could be Dortmund’s demands of over £100million for the winger.

With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, there is an image problem in spending such a hefty amount on one player in the next transfer window.

United would have the financial capability to pull off a deal of such magnitude for Sancho though.

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Wes Brown believes Sancho can bring qualities similar to Cristian Ronaldo to Old Trafford if the club can seal a transfer.

He told MUTV: “Talent and excitement. We need someone exactly like that at the club.

“We’ve had them over the years and I’m sure if we were to sign him he would bring that excitement back to the club. It would be good for the team as well.

“We’ve had players like that in the past, like with Cristiano Ronaldo.

“They’re the type of player who draw three or four defenders out and make the game a lot easier for the other players.

“If we could do it, it would be a brilliant signing.”

United are all set for the Premier League restart and will look to leapfrog Chelsea to finish in the top four.

That would ensure Champions League qualification and make them a more attractive club for prospective new players to join.

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Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia set for transfer meeting to discuss £35m swap proposal

Juventus are planning an audacious swap proposal to sign Chelsea star Jorginho, reports claim. Manager Maurizio Sarri wants to be reunited with the Italy international in Turin and is prepared to offer Federico Bernardeschi in exchange.

Jorginho, 28, joined Chelsea for £50million and arrived on the same day Sarri was appointed as Antonio Conte’s successor in July 2018.

The pair worked together at Napoli and combined to good effect in west London – helping the Blues beat Arsenal to win the Europe League and subsequently secure Champions League qualification.

And with the likely departure of Miralem Pjanic, who’s been linked with a move to Barcelona, the Italian tactician wants Jorginho to fill the void.

However, the financial impact of COVID-19 means Juventus will be looking to negotiate swap deals in the upcoming transfer window.

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Calciomercato claim the Italian champions value Jorginho at around £35million and will look to offer Bernardeschi in exchange.

Juventus signed Bernardeschi, 26, from Fiorentina £35million in 2017 but having completed just three 90-minute appearances in all competitions under Sarri this season – the 24-capped Italy midfielder appears surplus to requirements.

Despite his struggles, Chelsea boss Frank Lampard likes Bernardeschi ‘very much’ and would reportedly consider the exchange proposal.

Calciomercato suggest Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici is expected to hold a sit down meeting with Chelsea officials, who include transfer guru Marina Granovskaia.

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The agent of Jorginho, Joao Santos, has recently denied knowledge of any interest from Juventus – but did praise the club.

“Juventus are one of the top teams in Europe and any player would like to play for them,” Santos told Radio Kiss Kiss.

“I haven’t heard from sporting director Fabio Paratici, he hasn’t called me. Jorginho has three years left on his contract with Chelsea, he’s doing well in London.

“I read about the links with Juve through newspapers and various outlets. I repeat, Juventus are one of the top clubs in football.”

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Odion Ighalo wages: How much does Ighalo earn as Man Utd extend loan?

Odion Ighalo has impressed since arriving at Old Trafford on loan from Shanghai Shenhua during the January transfer window. The Nigeria international has scored four goals in three starts, with Manchester United Ole Gunnar Solskjaer extending his stay.

The Premier League season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic plans are in place for the campaign to resume on June 17.

Ighalo’s loan deal initially expired on May 31 but United have managed to extent his deal until January 2021.

Solskjaer said: “They [Shanghai Greenland Shenhua] have been great towards us, allowing him to play for his dream club.

“It’s been a dream for him and hopefully he can finish what he started and win a trophy with us.”

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How much does Odion Ighalo earn?

According to The Sun, Ighalo takes home £180,000 per week with United.

Upon his arrival, the former Watford striker revealed he took a pay cut in order to secure his loan move to Old Trafford.

He was reportedly earning £300,000 per week in China.

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“I didn’t sleep throughout that night, because it was going to end at 7am, Shanghai time, and the transfer [window] is going to close there,” Igalo said of his move.

“So, from 11pm, there was paperwork, negotiating and all that, for the loan deal and all that, so we are talking and other teams are calling them, wanting me, but I told my agent that this is what I want. I want to come here.

“He said you’re going to get a pay-cut to go to United. I said I don’t care. Make this deal happen. I want to go to United.

“I don’t care how much is the pay-cut, I know that, make it happen.”

Ighalo was drafted in following an injury to Marcus Rashford but he has won United fans over with his dedication.

The striker also feels he has improved as a player working under the tutelage of Solskjaer.

“When I moved to United, I learned a few things from him,” Ighalo told MUTV.

“During games… there was even a game I scored in, and he said ‘You should have scored more if you do this or do that’.

“I thought about it and I know if I would have done what Ole said, I would have scored more. He says: ‘You’re a striker, take the chance’.

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“So I’ve learnt a lot from him, in terms of positioning and how to do one or two things in a game.

“As a striker, it’s good when a striker is coaching you.

“And, as a striker, you benefit even more than the defenders.

“He is someone who has scored goals for a long time and has done a lot for United, so it’s good to learn from him.”

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Man Utd make Raul Jimenez and Declan Rice transfer call ahead of summer window

Manchester United have decided Declan Rice and Raul Jimenez are lower priorities than the likes of Jadon Sancho and Jack Grealish, reports say. The Red Devils have been backed to sign the West Ham and Wolves players ahead of the summer transfer window. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer doesn’t deem them essential, with the Norwegian having other intentions instead.

Manchester United boss Solskjaer is eyeing a summer spending spree as he plots a path to Premier League title glory next season.

The Red Devils have made strides under the Norwegian since the turn of the year and, now, currently have Sancho and Grealish in their sights.

Interest in the Borussia Dortmund and Aston Villa players has been well-documented ahead of the transfer window, with United putting them top of their priority list.

And the Independent say that United have also decided that Rice and Jimenez aren’t essential signings this summer.

West Ham could have to cash in on Rice in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

United were eyeing the England international last summer but flatly refused to meet the Hammers’ huge asking price.

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Chelsea have since emerged as suitors for Rice, especially given his friendship with Frank Lampard favourite Mason Mount.

And United’s stance will give the Blues a boost in their pursuit of the 21-year-old ahead of the transfer window.

It’s claimed that Solskjaer also doesn’t have Jimenez as a priority.

And the fact the Red Devils have secured Odion Ighalo on loan until January 2021 may be the reason why.

The Nigeria international will be staying at Old Trafford for a little while longer yet after United successfully negotiated an extension with Shanghai Shenhua.

They will be paying £10.5m to keep the former Watford star on their books until the New Year.

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And United are now well-stocked up top with Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial also capable of playing there.

While the pair aren’t priorities for United, Sancho and Grealish are.

They’re hellbent on signing the former, with the Red Devils willing to give the Borussia Dortmund star their prestigious No 7 shirt.

Any potential move for Grealish, though, appears to depend on what happens with Paul Pogba’s Old Trafford future.

The France international continues to attract transfer interest from Real Madrid and Juventus, with PSG now in the hunt as well.

And United are only likely to move for Grealish if their current midfield general departs – something the midfielder himself is still hoping for.

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Meanwhile, speaking last month, Solskjaer opened up on the transfer market and admitted he expected things to be different this summer than in previous years.

“We’re always looking to improve the squad,” said the Norwegian.  

“This uncertainty in the market now, who knows how football and the market is going to be, but I’m very happy with the squad I’ve got.

“Today’s world is different to what it was two months ago.

“We’ve got to adjust, adapt, there’s clubs out there struggling more than us financially.

“It’s a new world, and I think the transfer market this summer will be completely different to what anyone thought it would be.”

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Floyd Mayweather offers to pay for George Floyd’s funeral

Floyd Mayweather has offered to cover the funeral expenses for George Floyd, the African-American man whose death while in police custody in Minneapolis prompted protests across the United States.

The former five-division world champion’s promotional company, Mayweather Productions, confirmed on Twitter he had made the offer, and several local media reports have said the family have accepted.

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Mayweather Productions and the boxer’s agency have yet to respond to a request for comment.

The Minneapolis police officer who kneeled on Floyd, Derek Chauvin, has been sacked and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter

Three other officers involved in the arrest have not been charged.

The incident has prompted anger across the United States and abroad, with numerous professional athletes and leagues speaking out, including NBA great Michael Jordan and golf’s 15-times major champion Tiger Woods.

Ravens owner pledges $1m for social justice reform

Steve Bisciotti, the owner of the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, has pledged $1m for social justice reform and said a group of former and current players would decide which organisations benefit.

“There is nothing I can say to ease the pain felt by African-American communities across our country. No words will repair the damage that has been done,” Bisciotti said in a statement.

“Like many people, I am sickened, disheartened and shaken by the acts of racism that continue to overwhelm our society.

“The most recent killing, involving George Floyd, is yet another tragic example of the discrimination that African-Americans face each day.

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Chelsea could have upper hand in Timo Werner transfer race claims ex-Blues star

Chelsea could be able to convince Timo Werner to snub a move to Liverpool in favour of the Blues, because they will be able to provide him with something the Reds won’t. Former Chelsea player Craig Burley reckons the Blues will be able to offer him first-team minutes and the Premier League leaders would make him more of a squad player.

Werner appears set to leave RB Leipzig this summer.

The German striker is wanted by a host of clubs ahead of the upcoming window, having bagged 31 goals for Leipzig this season.

He has been tracked by Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Manchester United, though Liverpool are believed to be leading the race for his signature.

The 24-year-old has been relatively coy over his future, having declared he isn’t interested in signing for Munich.

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Liverpool are believed to be Werner’s desired destination given his admiration for Jurgen Klopp, and the Reds are seemingly determined to sign him, though they are believed to be reluctant to pay his £52million release clause.

Chelsea feel they can swoop in and sign the German youngster from under Liverpool’s noses, and ex-Blues ace Burley revealed that he feels the main reason could be Werner’s game time.

Werner is ever-present for Leipzig, and will likely want guaranteed first-team football wherever he ends up.

And due to Liverpool’s free-scoring front three of Roberto Firmimo, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, doubts have been raised over where Werner could fit in.

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Speaking on ESPN FC, Burley suggested that even though the Reds’ front three won’t be able to play every game, Werner would likely be used as a squad player.

“You want to back yourself as a player,” he said.

“You’ve got a manager in Klopp who will be very enthusiastic in trying to sell the platform to him.

“Clearly when I played, you played on the Saturday, you played on a Wednesday and expect to play the following Saturday if you played well enough. If you got told you were left out of the side, you knew it wasn’t for resting purposes, it was because you were dropped.

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“The game has changed, you’ve got to have a deep squad, a deep squad and a quality squad.

“I think Klopp can sell to Timo Werner that Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah have carried the load for Liverpool, and they’re not going to play 50 or 60 games-per-year.

“I’m not surprised Chelsea would be interested, he ticks every box for them.

“He can play out wide, they’ve got wide players, he can play through the middle, he works hard, he presses when he’s not got the ball, it absolutely makes sense for him.”

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Liverpool target Timo Werner backed for Chelsea or Man Utd move despite Klopp Skype call

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has been speaking with transfer target Timo Werner on Skype or Zoom to discuss a potential move ahead of the summer window. That’s according to German football expert Jan Aage Fjortoft, who believes it is “clear” that the 24-year-old will leave RB Leipzig this summer.

Werner’s future continues to be a subject of heavy speculation ahead of the summer transfer window, with reports linking him with multiple teams.

Liverpool are believed to still be the frontrunners to sign the German hotshot, who has a release clause of £52million.

However, the Reds are said to be reluctant to pay the release clause, and could try to get Leipzig to let him go on the cheap due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chelsea are said to be interested in making a move to sign him, while Bayern Munich have already given up on any hopes they had.

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Werner has been relatively coy over his future, but has hinted that he wants to play outside of Germany, opening the door to a Premier League switch.

And according to Fjortoft, Werner has been speaking to Reds boss Klopp during the coronavirus pandemic and has discussed a deal.

Speaking on ESPN FC, he revealed he had spoken with the striker and was stunned by how honest he was about wanting to move to Liverpool, before stating there had been contact between the German striker and Klopp.

Fjortoft did, however, indicate that the financial impact of the coronavirus could change the landscape of Werner’s future, meaning moves to Chelsea and Manchester United couldn’t be counted out.

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“I couldn’t believe how honest he was about how much he wants to play for Liverpool,” he admitted.

“But I think it should be said, he wants to play for Klopp.

“We know that they’ve been talking, we know they’ve been using Zoom or Skype, they’ve talked to each other during this Corona[virus] time.

“The financial situation after the coronavirus is anyone’s guess.

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  • Wolves star Ruben Neves reacts to Man Utd and Liverpool transfer links

“Chelsea, who are right now waiting to buy players, are interested in getting Timo Werner – that’s not a surprise.

“It’s quite clear that Timo Werner will leave RB Leipzig this summer.

“Bayern have said they don’t want him and he doesn’t want to go to Bayern, so I think he’ll move abroad.

“I think Liverpool are still the favourites, but Chelsea, Manchester United, there are teams in for him who could try to sign him.”

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