Liverpool isn’t planning on cashing in on one of the Premier League’s stars this summer.
Jurgen Klopp and Co. gave Barcelona a resolute “no” after Barcelona submitted a transfer bid of more than $93 million for Philippe Coutinho. Coutinho signed a new five-year contract with the club in January.
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“The main thing I think about is how we can make the next step with the players we had last season,” Klopp told reporters in Hong Kong earlier this week. “The good news is that actually we didn’t lose – and we will not lose – a player we want to keep this summer. That’s the best news actually and then we’ll see who can bring into the squad.”
Coutinho signed for Liverpool in 2013 but had a breakout year in 2015-2016, earning the PFA Young Player of the Year. Last year Coutinho became an even more consistent goal-scorer and playmaker, scoring 13 goals with seven assists in 34 Premier League appearances.
Keeping Coutinho is of supreme importance for Liverpool, which is back in the UEFA Champions League for the first time since the 2014-2015 season.
This week the Premier League Asia Trophy gets underway in Hong Kong with Liverpool, Leicester City, Crystal Palace and West Bromwich Albion all taking part.
[ LIVE: Stream PL Asia Trophy here ]
The tournament will see two semifinals on Wednesday, with the winners then facing off in the final on Saturday and the losers contesting the third-place match.
So, all four teams will get to play four games at Hong Kong Stadium as they continue their preparations for the 2017-18 season.
Click on the link above to watch the games live, while below is the schedule for the tournament.
2017 Premier League Asia Trophy schedule
Wednesday, July 19
Leicester City vs. West Brom – 6 a.m. ET
Liverpool vs. Crystal Palace – 8:30 a.m. ET
Saturday, July 22
Third-place match – 6 a.m. ET
Final – 8:30 a.m. ET
Leicester’s fall from Premier League champions to mid-table side certainly didn’t help their case for keeping Riyad Mahrez.
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Now, the Algeria international is on the minds of another big-time club that looks to fill a void on the wing.
According to Goal, Serie A side Roma is preparing a bid of $40 million for the Leicester winger, who moved to the King Power Stadium in 2014.
Mahrez, 26, has had significant interest from several major European clubs, including Barcelona and Arsenal, both of whom made big pushes for the speedy attacker last summer.
With Mohamed Salah moving on to Liverpool this transfer window, Roma will be looking to plug the hole left by the Egyptian, and Mahrez would be a logical fit for a number of reasons.
On top of the fact that he is a natural replacement out on the wing, Mahrez is openly seeking Champions League soccer in the future, which Roma would be able to offer immediately in 2017/18 after finishing runners’ up in Serie A a season ago.
The greatest hurdle for Roma or any side interested in the Leicester attacker will be the price tag set forth by the Foxes. Leicester is said to be seeking nearly $63 million, a stark difference between what Roma initially offered.
Last week, Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare said the club had yet to receive a bid for want-away attacker Riyad Mahrez and it seems that is about to change.
Sky Sports Italy reports that AS Roma has reached out to Mahrez’s representation in the hopes of luring the Algerian star to the Stadio Olimpico.
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Roma finished second in Serie A last season, four points shy of Juventus in the scudetto race. Their 90 goals scored was second in the league by 13 goals (Napoli led the way with 94).
I Lupi has already added Maxime Gonalons and Hector Moreno this offseason.
Mahrez would be an ideal fit for Serie A and would still get the Champions League experience he desires. If Roma can meet his wages, it seems like a probable destination for him.
Leicester City’s Ron-Robert Zieler and Crystal Palace’s Steve Mandanda are heading back to where they play their international ball.
Zieler, 28, made 13 appearances for Leicester after coming over from Hannover 96 last year. He’ll head back to Germany to join Stuttgart, home of USMNT winger Julian Green, for the club’s Bundesliga return.
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Zieler signed with Manchester United as a 16-year-old, but did not appear with the club.
As for Mandanda, he’s headed back to Marseille. The 32-year-old backstop made 441 appearances for Marseille and earned 24 caps for France before heading to Palace last season.
Mandanda missed six months for Palace with a knee injury and finished his lone PL season with nine starts which included three wins and two draws.
Zieler’s return to the Bundesliga makes sense with Kasper Schmeichel sticking around the King Power Stadium, but we have to wonder whether things may’ve went differently for Mandanda had he not done his knee after nine-straight starts for the Eagles. Oh well, he’ll have to settle for a return to a club where he’s a club legend.