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Shaqiri to Make Decision on Liverpool Future After Euros

Photo by UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images The Biggest Shaqtus probably wants some game time. The 2020 summer transfer window was supposed to be the exit for many a Liverpool FC fringe player. However, due to COVID-19 affecting many clubs’ ability to spend, that turned out to be not the case. For one Xherdan Shaqiri, this… Read More »Shaqiri to Make Decision on Liverpool Future After Euros
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Rafa Benítez Reportedly Finalizing Deal With Everton

2019 CFA Cup - Dalian Yifang v Shanghai Shenhua
Photo by Visual China Group via Getty Images/Visual China Group via Getty Images via Getty Images

The former Liverpool manager is closing in on a return to Merseyside.

Rafael Benítez, the man who orchestrated the Miracle of Istanbul, is on the verge of making his return to Liverpool, but this time he’ll be guiding the boys in Blue instead of the ones in Red.

This news comes courtesy of Sky Sports, who are reporting that the beloved Spaniard is prepared to fill the vacancy created when Carlo Ancelotti resigned so he could return to Real Madrid earlier this month. If Benítez and Everton do indeed reach an agreement, Rafa would become the first man to manage both LFC and EFC.

Rafa was tipped to be on Everton’s wishlist shortly after Ancelotti’s departure, but the news didn’t get as much attention as it may have due to the fact that Steven Gerrard was also supposedly being considered for the role.

It’s hard to feel too much animosity towards Benítez over this. If this had happened before Jürgen Klopp came along and put Liverpool back on their perch, there might be some bitterness. But, given recent success, it’s hard to feel anger or disgust for the man who delivered one of the most sensational nights in football history.

On the flip side, it will be interesting to see how Everton supporters react to suddenly cheering on the man who was at the helm for one of their rival’s greatest triumphs. It’s not hard to imagine some Toffees having a difficult time accepting it.

One thing is for sure; there will not be a lack of narrative leading up to the next Merseyside Derby.

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Basque Reports Claim Liverpool Targeting Real Sociedad’s Alexander Isak

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Photo by JOSE MANUEL VIDAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The 21-year-old Sweden international is said to be seen as the long-term successor to Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool’s top transfer priority heading into the summer was at centre half, and the club moved quickly to sign Ibrahima Konaté from RB Leipzig as a result. Their second priority is to sign a midfielder following the departure of Gini Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain.

After that, and depending on whether new homes can be found for the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi, a forward could be targeted. And local Basque reports claim that the club’s top forward target is Real Sociedad and Sweden 21-year-old Alexander Isak.

According to Noticias de Gipuzkoa, Liverpool see Isak as an valuable short-term squad piece and potential long-term replacement for Roberto Firmino—though if true, given Isak stands 1.92m or 6’4”, it would likely signal a radical change in approach for the Reds.

In addition to being built more like Peter Crouch than Firmino, Isak isn’t a creative presence. He had 17 goals and two assists last year in the league for a goal or assist every 124 minutes from 16.47 expected goals and just 1.84 expected assists, with 0.38 key passes per 90.

By comparison, Firmino scored nine goals and seven assists for a goal or assist every 180 minutes, though he did that while creating 12.86 expected goals—a number that speaks to his struggles finishing—and 6.12 expected assists while making 1.37 key passes per match.

Isak’s goal return is exceptional for a striker his age—but he’s a very different sort of striker than Firmino or any Liverpool have had during Jürgen Klopp’s tenure. He’s also said to have a release clause of €70M, and Sociedad are unlikely to be willing to sell for less.

Add it all up, and there seems plenty of reason for skepticism, even if the chatter is coming from a local outlet. One interesting note, though, is that it wasn’t long ago that Sociedad were said to view Divock Origi as a potential target should Isak depart this summer.

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Rumour Mongering: Liverpool and Tottenham Ready to Trigger Pellegrini Release Clause

Italy Training Session And Press Conference
Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

The transfer chatter out of Italy has Lorenzo Pellegrini choosing between the two English sides and a Roma stay.

The consensus is that Liverpool will seek to sign a midfielder this summer to replace the departed Gini Wijnaldum, and while the likes of Florian Neuhaus and Youri Tielemans have dominated the rumour mongering headlines, there are other possibilities.

Other possibilities like 24-year-old Roma midfield Lorenzo Pellegrini, who has been linked with the Reds in recent months. Now, at least according to the Italian transfer chatter, it’s a three-way race for the player with Liverpool quite possibly leading the way.

According to Calciomercato, both the Reds and Tottenham Hotspur have been won over by the player’s bargain €30M release clause and are fully ready to trigger. Meanwhile, Roma are still trying to get the player to agree a new deal—but Pellegrini is resistant.

In fact, if the rumour is to be believed, despite their efforts to re-sign him, Pellegrini has recently signalled to Roma that he will be moving on. For Liverpool, though, there might be some questions over Pellegrini’s fit for Jürgen Klopp’s uptempo system.

At least on paper, it’s easier to see how players like the more heavily linked Neuhaus and Tielemans would fit into the side. Still, Pellegrini looks a quality progression specialist and that €30M release clause would make him quite the bargain on talent.

As such, while we have some doubts about the legitimacy of transfer rumours linking him to the club, depending on how Liverpool intend to evolve their midfield there’s a case to be made for why he might be a legitimate target for them this summer.

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