Klopp happy with Firmino in central role

The 24-year-old has adapted well to a more offensive position this term, and his boss believes his versatility means he can play almost anywhere in the opposition half

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp explained his decision to play Roberto Firmino as a centre forward, lauding the Brazilian’s all-action displays.

Firmino has been preferred in a central role ahead of the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi, netting twice in five Premier League games.

‘Liverpool good enough to win the Premier League’

Klopp said the 24-year-old’s ability to press naturally allowed him to feature anywhere across the attacking line.

“Roberto is always involved in offensive action or defensive action,” the German told Sky Sports.

“He has a natural skill that he knows and he doesn’t think too much about winning the ball back, it is a natural instinct if you want.

“He’s really strong in that situation and he can play nearly all the offensive positions.”

While Klopp would prefer to keep possession longer, he was full of praise for Firmino.

“Roberto is in the centre and had the physical ability to do it,” he said.

“It is the most intense job actually because he has both sides involved, when we are a little bit deeper.

“He’s involved so he always has a job to do if you want but the target is to have the ball for as long as possible that we don’t have to think too much about what we do when they win the ball.

RUMOURS: Bayern want Klopp

“We know it, we respect it but it’s only one part of the preparation.”

Liverpool are into fourth in the table after three consecutive league wins, including a 5-1 victory over Hull City on Saturday.

Their next outing is a trip to Swansea City on Saturday.

RUMOURS: Chelsea prepare bid for Burnley's Keane

With Saturday’s 3-0 drubbing at Arsenal highlighting the side’s fragility, the manager is looking at the 23-year-old as reinforcement in the next transfer window

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has identified Michael Keane as a solution to his defensive problems at Stamford Bridge, according to the Mirror

The Blues’ backline has been anything but stable since the Italian took over, despite the re-signing of David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain. 

Burnley’s 23-year-old star could set Chelsea back up to £25 million, and has been identified as a possible long-term successor to John Terry in the middle of defence. 


Schmidt lauds Leverkusen hitman Chicharito

The Mexico international showed his goalscoring pedigree with 26 goals last season for the Germans, and he saved some of his best performances for Europe

Bayer Leverkusen head coach Roger Schmidt is delighted to have Javier Hernandez in prime form ahead of the Champions League Group E clash with Monaco.

After being restricted to a diet of substitute appearances and occasional starts with Manchester United and Real Madrid, Hernandez relished life as Leverkusen’s attacking focal point last season – scoring 26 times in all competitions, including five in six Champions League outings.

The Mexico international missed the start of Leverkusen’s Bundesliga campaign after falling down the stairs at home and suffering a broken hand, but he was back to his brilliant best over the weekend, scoring a hat-trick as Schmidt’s men twice came from behind at Mainz to win 3-2.

‘Liverpool good enough to win the Premier League’

“Javier Hernandez is a very important player for us because he scores goals,” Schmidt told a news conference at the Stade Louis II.

“Not only that, he also works hard for the team.

“At the start of the season he had a broken hand, which held him back. Now he’s scoring goals and we’re very happy for him.”

Leverkusen were held to a 2-2 draw by CSKA Moscow in their group opener, while Monaco were surprise 2-1 winners over Tottenham at Wembley.

Nevertheless, their domestic exploits over the weekend to secure only a second Bundesliga triumph of the campaign, means goalkeeper Bernd Leno could report on a travelling party in high spirits.

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“The win in Mainz was important. With that win we could train with our heads up,” he said, speaking alongside his boss.

“Now we want to get our first Champions League win, even though we know it’s going to be difficult.”

Schmidt is hopeful he can have Lars Bender can join Hakan Calhanoglu in returning to action against Monaco and added: “Monaco take very few risks. You must be very patient against teams like this.”

Klopp names David Silva as favourite Premier League player

The manager most admires the Manchester City star following a perfect start to the top-flight season for Pep Guardiola’s title favourites

Jurgen Klopp has named Manchester City star David Silva as his favourite player in the Premier League.

‘Liverpool good enough to win the Premier League’

The manager, speaking while on Sky Sports’ ‘Monday Night Football’, has masterminded a fine start to the season for Liverpool, with four wins and a draw from their opening six games including impressive wins over Arsenal and Chelsea.

With the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and summer signing Sadio Mane all drawing plaudits, it is a midfield rival which Klopp most admires after a year managing in the Premier League.

“I like David Silva – he is a wonderful player, he’s everywhere, he’s so skilled and he has a wonderful attitude,” he said.

“Even though I haven’t heard his name too often during Manchester City’s wonderful start to the season, I’m pretty sure he has a role and I like his style of play.”

RUMOURS: Bayern want Klopp

He added: “I am not too interested in the players of other teams. They are all dangerous if you allow them to be.”

RUMOURS: Mourinho to open contract talks with Mata

The former Chelsea man still has two years on his current deal but is keen to extend his stay at the club despite his previously frosty relationship with the Portuguese coach

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is in contract talks with Juan Mata and the Spanish star is keen to sign a new long-term deal, according to the Sun

The ex-Chelsea and Valencia man is said to be settled in the Manchester area and is not interested in moving elsewhere despite previously being sold by Mourinho. 

Despite having two years left on his current contract United are ready to his extend his stay, with young duo Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard also in line for extensions.