Liverpool find fresh confidence in sealing £60million Nabil Fekir transfer

Nabil Fekir seems set for a switch to Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are confident they will win the race to sign Lyon star Nabil Fekir after a breakthrough in talks, reports claim.

The Lyon midfielder has been heavily linked with a transfer to Anfield this summer, but is also being watched by a host of other big-spending clubs.

Lyon had previously said only a ‘very, very rich’ club could hope to secure Fekir’s signature this summer, but their stance has now softened.

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The Telegraph claim a breakthrough in the last 24 hours has encouraged Liverpool to such a degree the Reds believe they are the stand-out frontrunners.

Liverpool will accelerate talks with Lyon next week, once the small matter of the Champions League final is dealt with.

The Reds take on Real Madrid in Kiev on Saturday night and Jurgen Klopp is eager to follow up that game, whatever the result may be, with a massive summer signing.

Fekir has captained Lyon this season (Picture: Getty)

Fekir is considered a direct replacement for the departed Philippe Coutinho, who left Liverpool for Barcelona in January.

The Frenchman has enjoyed a stellar season with 23 goals from midfield as well as eight assists.

Fekir has been at Lyon since he was 12 years old, but is eager to move onto a new challenge and has so far refused to pen a new deal.

(Picture: AFP)The 24-year-old’s current deal expires in 2020 and Lyon have told Liverpool a bid of £60million would be enough to complete the transfer.

Fekir has done little to dampen speculation and added more fuel to the flames on Friday when he openly admitted he would be interested in joining Liverpool.

‘Why not?’, was Fekir’s response when asked if he could sign for Liverpool this summer.

Liverpool arrived in Kiev on Thursday (Picture: UEFA)

(Picture: UEFA)Klopp sees Fekir as the perfect man to fill the midfield hole left by Coutinho and believes the inventive Ligue 1 star can help cut the gap between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Liverpool dumped City out of the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage, but were easily outperformed by the Premier League champions domestically.

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Lyon star Nabil Fekir admits he is open to Liverpool transfer

Nabil Fekir is being heavily linked with a move to Anfield (Picture: Getty)Nabil Fekir has admitted he would be interested in a switch to Liverpool if the Merseysiders bid for him this summer.

Transfer speculation has continued to swirl around the Lyon star, with some reports claiming Liverpool’s deal to bring Fekir to Anfield was ’99 per cent’ complete.

Fekir has done little to dampen speculation and it is believed the 24-year-old will fetch up to £62million for Lyon.

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Liverpool are on the hunt for a replacement for Philippe Coutinho as well as further competition in a relatively thin squad.

Fekir seems a perfect option for Jurgen Klopp and the central midfielder has now responded directly to links to Anfield.

He told RTL: ‘Why not? Later there can be discussions with the president, with my entourage, to make a decision. In life, nothing can be forbidden.’

(Picture: Getty)

(Picture: Getty)Klopp has an array of attackers to chose from in his squad, but has experienced issues in his midfield area this season.

Injuries and sales have limited the numbers in that part of the pitch for Liverpool and Klopp is aiming to bring in several new faces this summer.

Emre Can is about to depart the club for Juventus, and Klopp is eager to add further depth to his squad.

Nabil Fekir 2017/18 Stats

(Picture: Getty)Despite the rumours, Liverpool’s and Klopp’s focus will be firmly fixed on the Champions League final on Saturday.

Liverpool take on Real Madrid in Kiev hoping to claim their first European Cup since 2005.

The Reds are the heavy underdogs for the clash, as Real are gunning to win their third Champions League trophy in a row.

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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 names Liverpool squad for Champions League final against Real Madrid

Jurgen Klopp has named his squad for the Champions League final (Picture: Getty)

Jurgen Klopp has named his 24-man squad for Liverpool’s Champions League final clash with Real Madrid.

Emre Can was a doubt with a back injury but the German midfielder returned to training earlier this week and is available for titanic match in Kiev on Saturday evening.

Despite not playing for Liverpool since March, Klopp has confirmed that ‘the door is open’ on Can featuring in the final.

The Reds take part in a training session at Melwood on Thursday morning before jetting off to Ukraine from John Lennon Airport in the afternoon.

Liverpool’s 24-man squad

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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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Timo Werner sends direct transfer message to Liverpool ahead of World Cup

Timo Werner has been linked with a move to Liverpool (Picture: Getty)Timo Werner has denied that he views the World Cup as a chance to ‘audition’ for the likes of Liverpool, Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The 22-year-old striker has scored 42 goals in 77 games for Leipzig since joining the club in 2016 and hopes to lead the line for Germany in Russia this summer.

Werner’s barnstorming form for both club and country has seen him linked with a possible big-money move ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.

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However, the young forward insists he’s happy at Leipzig amid the growing interest from Europe’s elite clubs.

‘The World Cup is not about auditioning for Barcelona, ​​Madrid, Liverpool or whoever,’ he told Socrates magazine.

Timo Werner is hoping for a massive summer with Germany (Picture: Getty)‘I want to become world champion and then I want to attack again with RB Leipzig.

‘I’m not dealing with any thoughts of making a change.’

The attacker is tied into a deal at Leipzig until the summer of 2020.

The German is keen to stay on at Leipzig (Picture: Getty)Werner admitted back in March that he wants to wait until he’s ready before securing a ‘dream’ move to the Premier League.

‘Yes, playing in the Premier League is a dream for me,’ he told FourFourTwo.

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‘I would like to play for two or three clubs, and Manchester United are one of those clubs.

‘But probably not in the next few years – later, when my English is a little bit better! I’m very comfortable at RB Leipzig, though.’

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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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Frank Lampard’s heartfelt message to Mohamed Salah overheard off-camera

Frank Lampard was interviewing Mohamed Salah for BT Sport (LFCTV)Frank Lampard showed his class with a lovely message for Mohamed Salah ahead of Liverpool’s titanic Champions League final with Real Madrid.

Salah has had a record-breaking debut campaign on Merseyside and was named PFA Player of the Year after 32 goals for the Reds in the Premier League.

What makes Salah’s season all the more impressive, though, is how he has managed to bounce back from a disastrous spell at Chelsea in his first crack at English football.

The forward only scored two goals in 19 appearances before being eventually securing a permanent switch to Roma in August 2016.

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One man who saw Salah’s struggles first hand at Stamford Bridge was legendary midfielder Lampard, who played alongside the Egyptian in the 2013/14 season.

The pair met up for the first time since they shared a changing room as Lampard interviewed Salah for a BT Sport interview.

In a touching moment prior to the interview, captured by LFCTV, Lampard taps his former team-mate on the leg before saying: ‘I’m just so happy for you…brilliant.’

Salah stressed that he learned a lot from his time at Chelsea despite a lack of playing time under Jose Mourinho.

‘I had one season with you [Lampard] and we know each other. It was an honour to play with you, but when I was there I was not playing much. I was also still a kid,’ he said.

‘I went to Roma and changed and came back a different person but my time at Chelsea – I was just young and there I didn’t have my chance.

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‘When I look back I learned a lot from Jose, from the club, everything there was different for me because I came from Basel to Chelsea and it was different.

‘For me, I always wanted success and it was always in my mind to come back to the Premier League.’

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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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