Liverpool v AC Milan: Match in pictures
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Liverpool are attempting to avoid a repeat of their Gini Wijnaldum mistake by tying down midfielder Naby Keita to a new contract, according to reports. Dutchman Wijnaldum decided to leave on a free transfer in the summer after talks over a new deal broke down.
The Reds were criticised for allowing such an important player to depart for nothing. The 30-year-old played in all 38 of the club’s Premier League games last season.
His consistency and availability were important assets to Jurgen Klopp while the club experienced a devastating injury crisis.
Liverpool’s Premier League title defence was ruined partially by injuries suffered by key players. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho all missed large parts of the campaign.
Wijnaldum remained ever-present but has now exited. The midfielder has joined Paris Saint-Germain.
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Liverpool are now keen to avoid a similar problem with their current stars. Henderson, Fabinho, Alisson Becker, Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have all agreed fresh terms.
And Guinea midfielder Keita is apparently next in line to pen a new deal. According to Calciomercato, Liverpool are keen to extend the 26-year-old’s contract.
Keita’s current deal expires in 2023.
The player was a huge £54million signing in 2018 but has not quite lived up to expectations, despite glimpses of his excellent RB Leipzig form.
He has made four appearances for the Reds this season.
Klopp was frequently told by supporters and pundits during the transfer window that he needed to sign a replacement for Wijnaldum to avoid fresh selection issues.
The German has used 18-year-old Harvey Elliott as a central midfielder at the start of the campaign.
The starlet performed well but Klopp’s problems were exacerbated when the England youth international suffered a dislocated ankle against Leeds on Sunday.
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Meanwhile, Wijnaldum has sensationally revealed that he did not feel Liverpool wanted to keep him when contract negotiations took place last term.
“Several months ago, I had expressed the desire to stay in Liverpool but, without going into details, Liverpool did not give me the feeling of wanting to keep me. In these cases, we have to move forward,” he told L’Equipe.
“Barcelona came. I was really happy because, since I was a child, as for the majority of Dutch players, it was the club of my dreams even if I must admit that my idol was Zinedine Zidane.
“I had a good idea to commit to Barca. But the negotiations lasted a very long time and Paris came in.
“Unlike six years earlier, the club showed me their desire to recruit me. It was time for me to have something else.”
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