Philippe Coutinho sale gives Liverpool advantage over Arsenal in £90m race for Monaco ace Thomas Lemar

Liverpool are leading the race to sign Thomas Lemar (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are leading the race to sign Monaco winger Thomas Lemar over the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea because of Philippe Coutinho’s £142million move to Barcelona.

The Reds were interested in the France international last summer but were unwilling to go beyond the £70m mark – some £20m below Monaco’s valuation.

Arsenal agreed a deal in principle to sign Lemar for around £90m but pulled out due to uncertainity over Alexis Sanchez’s prospective move to Manchester City on deadline day.

The Gunners remain interested in signing Lemar but Liverpool have plenty of cash in the bank from Coutinho’s sale and can now topple Arsenal’s offer, according to the Mirror.

Lemar is rated at around £90m (Picture: Getty)Coutinho’s move to the Camp Nou is the second biggest transfer of all-time and, though Liverpool have already reinvested £75m on Virgil Van Dijk, the Dutchman’s move to Anfield was allocated from last summer’s budget and Jurgen Klopp still has around £100m to spend.

Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim admitted earlier this week that Lemar could leave the club this month if a suitor matches their £90m valuation and Liverpool could trigger it in the next fortnight.

Chelsea and Manchester United have been keeping tabs on Lemar but the Frenchman respects Liverpool’s long-held interest in him.

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Klopp’s men take on Manchester City on Sunday and will welcome Mohamed Salah back into their starting XI.

The Egyptian’s missed the last two matches with a groin strain but he resumed full training at Melwood on Wednesday.

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Mohamed Salah back in Liverpool training ahead of Manchester City clash

Mohamed Salah was back in training today (Picture: Getty)Liverpool winger Mohamed Salah has handed Jurgen Klopp a huge boost ahead of Sunday’s clash against Manchester City by returning to first-team training.

Salah missed Liverpool’s last two games against Everton and Burnley with a groin problem and the Egyptian feared he’d missed the clash against Pep Guardiola’s league leaders at Anfield.

The Egypt international is behind only Harry Kane as the league’s top scorer this term and has bagged an impressive 17 league goals since making a £34million move from Roma last summer.

Liverpool will, of course, be without Philippe Coutinho after his £142m move to Barcelona this week but Salah is expected to start after participating in a full session today.

Salah alongside Lazar Markovic today (Picture: Getty)Daniel Sturridge, who last started for the club on November 25th, also returned to full training after missing the last six weeks of action.

Liverpool are three points above Spurs in fourth place in the Premier League but City will be favourites to extend their incredible unbeaten run when they visit Merseyside.

Guardiola’s men came from behind to beat Bristol City 2-1 in the League Cup semi-finals earlier this week and have won 20 of their 22 league games this term.

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Brendan Rodgers explains his role in transforming Philippe Coutinho into a £142m Barcelona player

Brendan Rodgers talks with Philippe Coutinho during their shared time together at Anfield (Getty)Brendan Rodgers has spoken of his influential role in turning Philippe Coutinho from an £8million Liverpool signing into a £142m Barcelona player.

Over the weekend the Brazilian playmaker completed a big-money switch from Anfield to the Nou Camp.

It marked an incredible transition for a player who wasn’t wanted by Inter Milan less than five years ago.

Liverpool managed to sign him during the January transfer window midway through the 2012/13 season during which time Rodgers was at the helm on Merseyside.

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Coutinho is now a Barcelona player (Getty)The current Celtic manager said he could see there was something very special about Coutinho back then.

‘It’s brilliant for both as he is a Barcelona player if ever there was one. At the time when I brought him, he wasn’t in the team at Inter Milan. People questioned whether he was big enough and tall enough.

‘But I’d seen him as a young player at 18 at Inter Milan around top players and I always felt he had the technical quality. And, of course, he was always going to get better physically.

‘We kept in contact ever since we left.’

Rodgers and Coutinho in 2014 (Getty)Rodgers said he then gave Coutinho what he needed to move to the next level – confidence.

‘Before he came over to Liverpool, he was low in confidence.

‘I believed in his ability. It was clear what he was. If you see him play now, he played like that when he was an 11-year-old child, if you see videos of him playing Futsal.

‘He was exactly the same. But he needed that belief. He came in and developed and improved. He was outstanding for me and a real humble boy.’

Alexis Sanchez wants to leave Arsenal to win trophies at Manchester City, says Craig Bellamy

Alexis Sanchez is expected to join Manchester City either in January or next summer (Picture: Getty)The prospect of winning trophies at Manchester City will be Alexis Sanchez‘s main motivation to leave Arsenal, according to Craig Bellamy.

City missed out on a deadline day move for Sanchez last summer but are expected to revive their interest in the Chile international during the January transfer window.

Pep Guardiola is a known admirer of the 29-year-old and is believed to be hoping to secure his services this month for £25million rather than waiting until the summer when his contract expires.

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City have been a formidable force going forward this season, scoring 64 goals in 22 Premier League games, but Bellamy insists Sanchez would be a valuable addition at the Etihad.

‘With the quality at Manchester City, especially going forward, would he add to that? He would, that’s how good he is,’ the former Wales international told Sky Sports.

‘Do Arsenal need to sell now or get nothing? I can only see him at Manchester City, if it isn’t in this transfer window it will be in the summer.

Pep Guardiola is keen for Man City to sign the Chilean this month (Picture: Getty)I’m sure they’ll try to sign him this month but Arsenal don’t have to sell. They could see it out. They’ve done this plenty of times. But at the same time would I take that risk? I’m not sure.’

Bellamy, 38, also insists the pay rise on offer at City will not be a significant factor for Sanchez, who he believes is motivated by winning trophies.

‘Money won’t be a problem for this guy. He hasn’t got a World Cup to look forward to this summer and that hurt him,’ he added.

‘That’s played a big part in his form this season. He hasn’t missed a summer for four years so that hurt him. He got a lot of stick back home and he won’t have been used to that.

Tottenham target Andre Gomes pushing for Barcelona exit after Philippe Coutinho completes transfer

Barcelona midfielder Andre Gomes has been linked with Tottenham and Juventus (Picture: Getty)Tottenham have reportedly been handed a boost in their pursuit of Andre Gomes, with the Portugal midfielder open to a January move after Philippe Coutinho’s arrival at Barcelona.

Coutinho completed his dream move to the Nou Camp last weekend and his presence will provide even more competition for Gomes, who is already struggling to force his way into the team.

The 24-year-old has started just two La Liga games this season and is concerned his place in the Portugal national squad will be under threat if he continues to feature from the bench, according to Sport.

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The Spanish outlet claim Gomes is open to a move to boost his World Cup hopes, with Premier League club Tottenham and Italian giants Juventus believed to be keen on securing his services.

Spurs were strongly linked with the Barca man last summer and are said to be ready to revive their interest this month after seeing long-term target Ross Barkley join London rivals Chelsea.

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino (Picture: Getty)

Philippe Coutinho completed a stunning move to Barcelona last weekend (Picture: Getty)

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Gomes has played over 60 games for Barcelona since signing from Valencia in 2016 but Sport say he believes the La Liga giants will allow him to leave before the end of the January transfer window.

Spurs, who are fifth in the Premier League, have also been linked with moves for Crystal Palace attacker Wilfried Zaha and Fulham defender Ryan Sessegnon.

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MORE: Arsenal plotting move for Inter Milan star Mauro Icardi

Real Madrid plot Mohamed Salah transfer to upstage Barcelona’s Coutinho deal

Liverpool face a fight to keep the Egyptian after Real added him to their wish list (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are facing up to the prospect of losing another of their attacking stars after Real Madrid made Mohamed Salah their top target, according to reports.

The Merseyside club banked £142m from Philippe Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona, making the Brazilian the third most expensive signing in history and setting a new record Premier League sale.

But, according to Gianluca Di Marzio, the transfer has sent shockwaves through the Real Madrid boardroom who now believe they must respond with a massive signing of their own.

Salah has been the signing of the season, scoring 17 times in the Premier League already (Getty)And the player they want is Liverpool star Salah, who has shone since swapping Roma for Anfield in the summer, and they will try to tempt him away just as Barca did with Coutinho.

The Egyptian is enjoying an astonishingly prolific season and has already netted 17 Premier League goals – second only to Harry Kane – as well as scoring five times in the Champions League proper.

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It is claimed that Salah is considered a Galactico signing ‘worthy of wearing the Madrid shirt’ and could begin readdressing the balance of power in La Liga.

Barcelona are nine points clear at the top of the table and 16 points ahead of Real, with Madrid’s failed recent efforts to sign a Galactico contributing to their poor form this season.

Liverpool have already lost Coutinho to Barca and will do everything to keep Salah (Picture: Getty)The possibility of signing Kane was mooted when Tottenham took on Real and rejected out of hand by Spurs, while PSG beat the Spanish giants to the signing of Kylian Mbappe in the summer.

Salah would provide much-needed firepower at the Bernabeu, with the former Chelsea man having scored more league goals than Cristiano Ronaldo (4), Gareth Bale (4) and Karim Benzema (2) combined this season.

However, Liverpool will do everything possible to hang onto Salah, while the £142m they banked from Coutinho’s departure means they have absolutely no financial need to sell another star.

Liverpool beat Chelsea to Virgil Van Dijk transfer by paying over the odds, claims Antonio Conte

Antonio Conte has confirmed Chelsea wanted Virgil van Dijk (Picture: Getty)Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has admitted the club missed out on Virgil van Dijk because they were unwilling to meet Southampton’s valuation of the Dutchman.

The former Celtic man became the most expensive defender of all-time when Liverpool agreed a £75million deal with the Saints in December.

Manchester City were known to be interested in Van Dijk but baulked at the Saints’ asking price, while Conte only has an advisory position at Chelsea when it comes to transfers.

And the Italian has confirmed Van Dijk was a player he advised his board to sign but they decided he was not worth the £75m shelled out by Liverpool.

Liverpool made Van Dijk the most expensive defender of all-time (Picture: Getty)‘This is football,’ said Conte.

‘This is life. For sure he as our target but as you know this is football. We can have a lot of targets but you must be able to reach those targets. The transfer market is not simple for any club.

‘Liverpool bought Van Dijk to reinforce his defensive line, and I think Van Dijk is a top defender.

They spent [75] million euro for this player. The same time, they sold very well Coutinho because when you sell a player for this amount of money, and then you have the rest of money to invest, to improve your team.

‘But I think the transfer market is not simple, it’s not simple, especially if there is this amount of money. It’s not simple, and Arsenal, I don’t know what happen but, I repeat, the best way to look at ourselves, to try to find the best solution for us is don’t look the other.

‘But I have great respect for the other teams, from the other managers, because behind every operation there is a programme, is a plan and I have great respect for every manager, ever team.’

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Chelsea host Arsenal in the first-leg of their League Cup semi-final on Wednesday and Eden Hazard is expected to start for the Blues.

Manchester City put one foot in the final with a 2-1 win against Bristol City at the Etihad in the other semi-final on Tuesday.

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Juventus will make Philippe Coutinho fee benchmark for Paulo Dybala sale

The Italian giants believe United target Dybala is worth at least as much as Coutinho (Picture: Getty)If Manchester United want to prise Paulo Dybala away from Juventus they will have to eclipse the sum Barcelona spent on Philippe Coutinho, according to reports.

The Brazilian moved from Liverpool to Camp Nou in a £142 million deal over the weekend, becoming the third most expensive player in history – and a record Premier League sale – in the process.

And, according to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, Coutinho’s big-money move has caused ripples in Turin and will be the reference point used by Juventus when they come to negotiate the departure of Dybala.

Only Ciro Immobile and Mauro Icardi have scored more Serie A goals than Dybala this season (Getty)The Argentine striker has been heavily linked with a move to United as an alternative to Antoine Griezmann, who opted to remain at Atletico Madrid last summer and is now demanding a contract worth £400,000-a-week to move to Old Trafford.

Dybala is rumoured to be on United’s list of options to spearhead their attack alongside Romelu Lukaku, while Paul Pogba even brought out his now fabled ‘Agent P’ moniker in an Instagram post featuring his old Juve teammate.

But if Pogba and Dybala are to be reunited at Old Trafford, Tuttosport report that Coutinho’s move to Barcelona will be used as the benchmark to determine the fee United must pay.

Both Dybala and Coutinho play similar roles – with Dybala inheriting Alessandro Del Piero’s iconic No.10 shirt – though the Argentine is younger (by almost 18 months) and has won more titles than Coutinho.

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The Brazilian failed to win any silverware at Anfield, while Dybala has won the Scudetto in each of the last two seasons – top scoring in the first of those title wins – as well as winning the Coppa Italia twice and reaching the final of the Champions League.

Dybala is also more of a goalscorer than Coutinho, who only reached double figures in the Premier League in one of his six campaigns with Liverpool.

Coutinho’s £142m has big ramifications for United, with Juve to demand as much for Dybala (Getty)By contrast, the Juventus star was top scorer for the Old Lady in his maiden 2015-16 season and has hit double figures in each campaign since then, while he only needed six games to reach 10 goals at the start of the latest campaign – though his form has plateaued more recently.

As such, Juventus would expect to receive even more than the £142m Barcelona paid for Coutinho, and United will need to smash their own transfer record of £89m for Pogba to land Dybala.

Liverpool ready to hijack Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s China move with Philippe Coutinho funds

Aubameyang’s potential move to China has caught the attention of Liverpool and Madrid (Getty)Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has emerged as a shock January target for Liverpool as they look to reinvest the funds received from Philippe Coutinho’s departure, according to reports.

The Brazilian completed a £142 million switch from Anfield to Barcelona over the weekend, becoming the third most expensive player ever – and record Premier League sale – in the process.

Jurgen Klopp has been linked with moves for Thomas Lemar and Riyad Mahrez to replace Coutinho, though French outlet Le10Sport have now added Aubameyang to the mix.

Coutinho was unveiled by Barcelona on Monday, with Liverpool netting £142m (Picture: Getty)The Borussia Dortmund striker looks increasingly likely to leave Germany, while it has even been reported in China that he has agreed a £63.5m transfer to the Far East.

However, that deal is not yet closed – with Guenghzou Evergrande and Beijing Guoan the two sides interested – and Aubameyang is yet to give the green light to a move.

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He rejected the chance to move to China in the summer despite an incredibly lucrative contract offer worth £26m a year after tax, and Le10Sport believe his reluctance to leave Europe could entice both Liverpool and Real Madrid.

The Merseysiders have been linked with Aubameyang before, with Klopp having worked with the Gabon international at Dortmund, and the German seems open to a reunion in January.

Aubameyang has 13 goals in 15 Bundesliga appearances this season for BVB (Picture: Getty)Liverpool are somewhat light in the striker department, with Roberto Firmino more of a false No.9, Daniel Sturridge frequently injured and Danny Ings available for loan.

Aubameyang’s potential arrival could see Firmino drop deeper, flanked by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Adam Lallana providing further cover and competition.

Mohamed Salah winning battle to be fit for Liverpool showdown with Manchester City

Mohamed Salah has missed Liverpool’s last two matches with a groin injury (Picture: Getty)Mohamed Salah is winning his battle to be fit enough to return against Manchester City this weekend, according to reports.

The Liverpool winger has been in sensational form since his summer move from Roma, scoring 23 goals in all competitions.

The Egypt international missed his side’s two most recent games against Burnley and the FA Cup third round tie against Everton.

Liverpool emerged victorious from both matches but will be delighted to welcome their top goalscorer back for the visit of Pep Guardiola’s unbeaten Premier League leaders.

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