Liverpool owner John Henry takes swipe at Philippe Coutinho ahead of Champions League final

Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona from Liverpool in January (Picture: Getty)Liverpool owner John Henry has taken a swipe at Philippe Coutinho ahead of the club’s Champions League final against Real Madrid.

The Reds will attempt to win a sixth European Cup on Saturday evening when they face Spanish giants Real in Kiev.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have enjoyed a stunning run in Europe this season, beating Porto, Manchester City and Roma in the knockout stages to reach the final.

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Liverpool have twice been forced to sell their star players to Barcelona in the last four years, with Coutinho joining Luis Suarez at the Nou Camp in January.

Asked about the duo ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final, Liverpool owner and American businessman Henry told AP: ‘They’ll be watching this weekend and could have been playing.

‘But (part owner) Mike Gordon, (sporting director) Michael Edwards and everyone in our scouting department have done a terrific job in making the best of those two difficult situations.’

Liverpool owner John Henry with manager Jurgen Klopp (Picture: Getty)He added: ‘You don’t want to be in the position where players want to go somewhere else, even if it is a great club like Barcelona.

‘It’s hard to understand why players would want to go to a league where the competition is so weak. They must play 30 or so meaningless matches per year waiting for Champions League matches.’

Suarez scored a staggering 82 goals in 133 games for Liverpool before joining Barcelona in 2014 for around £65million. He has since won three La Liga titles and the Champions League.

Coutinho will hope that kind of success awaits him at Barca – his January move cost over £140m and he scored 10 goals in 22 appearances as Barcelona won La Liga and the Copa del Rey.

Coutinho joined Luis Suarez at Barcelona (Picture: EFE)More: Football

Henry, who has been in charge of Liverpool for eight years, said: ‘Maybe it’s because I’m an American, but I have a difficult time understanding why anyone would want to leave Liverpool.

‘The club is so rich in history and tradition, supported by so many millions around the world, in virtually every country of the world.’

MORE: Simon Mignolet ‘not thinking’ of Liverpool future beyond Champions League final

Simon Mignolet ‘not thinking’ of Liverpool future beyond Champions League final

Mignolet is likely to have a watching brief when Liverpool face Real Madrid. (Picture: Getty Images)Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet will not allow uncertainty over his future to overshadow the upcoming Champions League final against Real Madrid despite his Anfield career looking bleak.

The Belgium international has not played for the Reds since the FA Cup loss to West Bromwich Albion in December, with Loris Karius installed as number one by Jurgen Klopp.

And with the Liverpool boss showing no sign of reversing his decision and speculation intensifying over a possible move for Roma goalkeeper Alisson Becker, Mignolet is set to remain on the peripheral.

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But the 30-year-old, who will again be on the bench when Liverpool face Real in Kiev this weekend, does not want talk over his immediate plans to eclipse this weekend’s game.

‘No individual is bigger than the team, especially when you have the final of the Champions League to play,’ he said.

‘Even more so you have to play the part the club, the players and supporters need because in the end if you play for a trophy like that any individual is not important.

‘[My future] that’s not really something I am thinking of. I have three years of a contract. There will be a lot of speculation about my name because I am not playing but I am not really thinking about it.’

Mignolet’s campaign began encouragingly – with a penalty save against Hoffenheim.Mignolet had begun the campaign in possession of the number one jersey, starting 19 of the club’s first 22 Premier League fixtures, with Karius’ opportunities restricted to the Champions League group stage during the first half of the campaign.

He did however start both legs of the Champions League play-off against Hoffenheim, saving a penalty in the first leg from Andrej Kramaric before the Merseysiders claimed a 6-3 aggregate win to progress.

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And having played a major part in Liverpool eventually reaching the final – he started 28 times in the Premier League as Liverpool finished in the top four last season – Mignolet is naturally frustrated that he no longer has a leading role to play.

‘I try to be as part of it as much as I can,’ he added. ‘There are times when there are frustrating moments because of what has been before, not only that game against Hoffenheim away but also here at home and the whole campaign (last season) before to get into the Champions League.

‘We had to work really hard for that, just as this year, until the last game of the season to grab fourth spot.

‘We still had to play a qualifier to get into it and then you know what you have done. Because you have such a good dressing room everyone feels together and there is a real togetherness in the squad which helps a lot.’

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Jurgen Klopp drops major hint over Liverpool’s deal to sign Nabil Fekir

Nabil Fekir is on Liverpool’s radar. (Getty Images)Jurgen Klopp has indicated that Liverpool are ready to make their move for Nabil Fekir after insisting his side need ‘more quality’ and are looking to replace Philippe Coutinho.

Liverpool’s midfield will already be bolstered by the arrival of Naby Keita from RB Leipzig this summer, but the Champions League finalists are still in the market for further reinforcements.

Reports in France claim that Liverpool are in the driving seat to sign Fekir and are prepared to pay £60 million for the Lyon midfielder.

And Klopp has suggested that he is looking to sign a replacement for Coutinho as he wants an attacking midfielder to support his trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

‘We need more quality,’ Klopp said in an interview with the Daily Mirror.

Fekir has impressed for Lyon this season. (Getty Images)More: Football

‘What do we do? We brought in Naby Keita already, an outstanding player.

‘We will bring in a couple more players, that will happen.

NABIL FEKIR 2017-18 STATS

MINS PLAYED: 3141

GOALS: 23

ASSISTS: 9

‘We played without Adam Lallana and half a season without Philippe Coutinho. Two of the best players in whole Premier League.

‘They didn’t play on the pitch for us.

‘Can you imagine Phil Coutinho still in the team? And we play with the three up front and Phil at No.8, that would have been nice.’

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Is Mohamed Salah fasting for Ramadan ahead of the Champions League final?

Mohamed Salah  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)The Champions League final comes round this weekend, which is right in the middle of Ramadan, leaving Muslim players in a difficult situation.

The rules of Ramadan forbid eating or drinking during daylight hours, which means Muslim players would have to fast all day before an evening kick-off.

Liverpool’s standout player this season, Mohamed Salah, and another of their key men, Sadio Mane, are devout Muslims and face this tricky scenario ahead of the clash with Real Madrid on Saturday night.

So how are they going to deal with the situation?

Salah celebrates his goals by praying (Picture: PA)According to reports in Salah’s home country of Egypt, he has no intention of breaking fast early due to the game, Mane is also thought to be sticking to the rules.

This means no eating or drinking (or smoking or having sex) before the sun goes down on Saturday night.

Luckily, the sun is expected to set around 30 minutes before kick-off in Kiev on Saturday night, so this will give both players time to re-hydrate and refuel before the game starts.

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Ramadan ends on 14 June this year, with Eid-al-Fitr the following day, which happens to be Egypt’s opening game at the World Cup.

Mane’s national side, Senegal, do not start their World Cup campaign until 19 June, so he will be unaffected by Ramadan as he takes to the field in Russia.

Jurgen Klopp will be hoping Salah is at the top of his game (Picture: Action Images via Reuters)The Egypt national team has put in measures to help their side deal with the fasting in the build-up to their opening World Cup game against Uruguay.

Head coach Hector Cuper said: ‘The Egyptian Football Association has hired specialists to help me and the players during the fasting month of Ramadan.

‘We will organise and monitor their eating and sleeping and hope that this will not affect them badly.

‘It may be a problem for the coaches because the players will stop eating from sunrise until sunset, so it will not be easy during training but that is to do with the religion and I can’t prevent them from observing Ramadan.’

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Thankfully for Liverpool they have Alberto Moreno on hand who told Spanish radio station El Transistor: ‘I think Salah trains at 20 per cent because he’s scared of injuring himself.

‘Now it’s Ramadan, I’ll eat and drink for him, that’s something I can do!’

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Cristiano Ronaldo laughs off comparison with Mohamed Salah ahead of Real Madrid vs Liverpool Champions League final

Mohamed Salah and Cristiano Ronaldo have enjoyed stellar seasons in the Champions League (Picture: Getty)Cristiano Ronaldo insists he simply cannot be compared to Mohamed Salah ahead of Saturday’s Champions League final.

The Egypt international has enjoyed a record breaking first season at Anfield, scoring 44 goals in all competitions and spearheading Liverpool’s run to the Kiev showcase.

Ronaldo, meanwhile, overcame a sluggish start to the campaign to help inspire Zinedine Zidane’s side to the brink of a third Champions League crown in a row.

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The 32-year-old admitted he has been impressed with Salah’s exploits since swapping Roma for Liverpool last summer, but believes he still stands head and shoulders, figuratively and literally, above his rival.

‘Not really,’ said Ronaldo when asked if he saw any similarities between himself and Salah.

Mohamed Salah beat Harry Kane to the Premier League Golden Boot scoring 32 goals (Picture: Getty)

Cristiano Ronaldo is aiming for a third consecutive Champions League title with Real Madrid (Picture: Getty)‘He is completely different. He plays with the left, I play with the right. I’m tall he’s a little bit shorter, I play with the head.

‘We are completely different. People want to compare me with other players but I’m different from everyone.

‘Salah is different but I have to say he has had a fantastic Champions League a fantastic league season, but Saturday, let’s see.’

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How can I watch the Champions League final for free through BT Sport and YouTube?

Can Mohamed Salah inspire Liverpool to Champions League glory? (Picture: Getty Images)The world will be watching this Saturday night as Liverpool and Real Madrid contest the 2017/18 Champions League final in Kiev.

With both teams full of attacking flair it looks certain to be a memorable contest in Ukraine, and you will not want to miss out if you haven’t been lucky enough to go the match yourself.

Obviously the match is being shown in the UK, but thankfully, it is also being shown for free!

Here is everything you need to know about when and where to watch the contest…

Real Madrid go into the match as favourites (Picture: Getty Images)When is the Champions League final?

Liverpool and Real Madrid meet at the Olympic Stadium in Kiev on Saturday, 26 May with kick-off at 7.45pm.

What TV channel is the match on?

BT Sport 2 will be showing the game live with coverage starting at 7pm.

Jurgen Klopp can make history in Kiev (Picture: Getty Images)But how can I watch it for free?

BT Sport have generously decided to let you stream the match without a subscription.

You can do so through their YouTube channel, on the BT Sport app and on the BT Sport website.

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Pete Oliver, managing director for marketing and sales at BT Consumer, said: ‘This season we have shown some absolutely amazing games and have had some of our biggest games to date with our UEFA Champions League viewing figures up by 47 per cent this season.

‘The final is set to be a classic and we can’t wait to bring it to football fans across the UK.’

What are the Champions League final odds? (Courtesy of Betfair)

Real Madrid 6/5

Liverpool 21/10

Draw 11/4

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Cristiano Ronaldo wanted to face Manchester United in Champions League final

Cristiano Ronaldo hopes to lead Real Madrid to more European glory (Picture: AP)Cristiano Ronaldo has admitted Liverpool remind him of Real Madrid, but insisted his side would soon be Champions League kings again.

Real are the favourites for the showdown this weekend, with Liverpool aiming to win their first Champions League trophy since 2005.

Ronaldo, a former Manchester United player, accepts Liverpool have a powerful attack and Real will need to be at their best to beat the Reds.

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But, the five-time Ballon d’Or winner expects Real to be triumphant.

‘Finals are always special occasions. I would have preferred it to be Manchester United,’ Ronaldo said.

‘But Liverpool deserve respect. We’re not going to have it easy. They deserve to be in the final.

Liverpool have a free-scoring front three (Picture: Reuters)‘They remind me of Madrid three or four years ago. Their three front players, they’re very quick… they are powerful in attack and I respect them.

‘But Madrid are better. We have to play to our level, but we also have to respect the opposition.’

Ronaldo spent six years at United and still has a hero reputation at Old Trafford.

Ronaldo spent six years at Manchester United (Picture: Getty)

(Picture: AP)United were knocked out in the last-16 of this season’s tournament after losing their home tie against Sevilla.

Liverpool beat Roma in the semi-final to earn their place alongside Real and will be hoping talisman Mohamed Salah can fire them to victory.

Real and Liverpool go toe-to-toe in Kiev at the Olimpiyskiy National Sports Complex, with the Los Blancos aiming for their third consecutive Champions League victory.

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Dejan Lovren reveals chats with Real Madrid players ahead of Champions League final

The Croatian defender is eagerly looking forward to taking on his countrymen in Kiev (Picture: Getty)Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren has revealed that he is in frequent contact with Real Madrid duo – and compatriots – Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic ahead of the Champions League final.

The Croatian teammates go head-to-head in Kiev on Saturday as the Spanish giants look to claim their third successive trophy, and Lovren says the Real pair have been looking forward to taking on Liverpool for some time.

Asked whether he’d said anything to his countryman at Liverpool’s pre-final press conference, Lovren replied: ‘Like I said, we’ve been talking before the semi-finals, before the draw.

Lovren has been speaking to Modric and Kovacic in the run up to Saturday’s final (Picture: Getty)‘I said, “You guys I want to catch you for the final”. They said, “OK, we are ready for you”. I said, “Let’s see what happens”.’

‘Now we are in the final. For them they are already three in a row in a final, they are used to it.

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‘But they are a really competitive team who wants to catch something impossible. They have already made history but they can beat it again.

‘But for us also we have something to catch. For the whole squad this is the first time in a final of the Champions League. We know what we are playing for.

Lovren spoke to the media alongside Liverpool teammate Sadio Mane (Picture: Getty)‘We knew from day one how hard it was, back in pre-season in China or somewhere.

‘It will be a great final to enjoy. We need to enjoy every minute and hopefully at the end we can go away with a smile on our face.’

Manager Jurgen Klopp was also at Monday’s press conference and looked in good spirits (Getty)Jurgen Klopp also spoke to the press about the task facing his side: ‘It’s a fact that Real Madrid is more experienced.

‘If only there was an experience market they could sell it and be more rich. It’s important to have experience in life, in football, but you can level it.

‘We haven’t been together as long as them. As a group they are very strong, they’ve won it for the two previous years with the same team but this is football, we have a chance, let’s go there and try.’

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Liverpool already planning Champions League victory parade

The Merseysiders take on Real Madrid on Saturday May 26 in Kiev (Picture: Getty)Plans are already being put in place for a victory parade for Liverpool should they beat Spanish giants Real Madrid in the final of the Champions League at the end of the month.

The Merseysiders travel to Kiev on Saturday May 26 as they look to deny Zinedine Zidane’s side a third consecutive European crown, and will return to Liverpool the day after.

Should they emerge victorious in the Ukrainian capital, the team will take an open-top coach along Liverpool’s waterside before finishing near to Liverpool’s Olympia concert hall.

Liverpool are currently at a training camp in Marbella ahead of the final (Picture: Getty)Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson explained: ‘Regardless of whether you are a Red, Blue or not a football fan at all, an event like this has a hugely positive impact and will once again shine the international spotlight on the city.

‘We are all tremendously proud of LFC’s achievement and you can already feel the buzz around the city ahead of the final.

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‘The club requested the parade takes place on the Sunday, and even though it’s already a busy day for the city, we want to make sure we are ready to give them the heroes’ welcome they deserve should they win.

There are several other events in Liverpool on Sunday May 27 so the club are keen to get plans in place now (Picture: Getty)‘I understand there will be disappointment for those fans who are unable to get back from Kiev in time, but it was a similar situation in 2005 and we have to be guided by the club in terms of the date and time.

‘We’re keeping everything crossed for the final and hope the team and the fans do Liverpool proud in Kiev as they have throughout the competition.’

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What TV channel is the Champions League final on? Live stream, date, time and odds for Liverpool vs Real Madrid

Liverpool have romped into the Champions League final (Picture: AP Photo/Dave Thompson)Liverpool fans still have over a week to wait till the biggest game of their season as they meet Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

After a thrilling run through the competition, the Reds now head to Kiev to take on the Spanish superstars in what could be a classic final.

A lucky few will be in Ukraine watching the match live, but for the rest of us who are staying at home, we will have to find ourselves a television screen.

Here is where will be showing the game and everything else you need to know…

Will Cristiano Ronaldo be celebrating in a Champions League final yet again? (Picture: AFP/Getty Images)When is the Champions league final?

The final will be held on Saturday 26 May 2018 with kick off at 7.45pm BST.

It will be held at  the NSC Olimpiyskiy Stadium in Kiev, Ukraine.

How to watch the final

BT Sport will be providing coverage of the final but they not yet released full details of the schedule.

There will be a live stream available for BT Sport customers who can watch the match through the BT Sport Player or on BTSport.com.

Can Jurgen Klopp create history? (Picture : AFP/Getty Images)What are the odds? (Courtesy of Betfair)

Real Madrid 11/10

Liverpool 9/5

Draw 13/5

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Previous meetings

04 Nov 2014 – Real Madrid 1-0 Liverpool

22 Oct 2014 – Liverpool 0-3 Real Madrid

10 Mar 2009 – Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid

25 Feb 2009 – Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool

27 May 1981 – Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool

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