Jurgen Klopp‘s summer on comments on transfers have been difficult to interpret, and that’s not necessarily his fault.
The Liverpool man is coming off a UEFA Champions League win and a Premier League campaign which would’ve been enough to finish first in almost any other season, so naturally neutrals and supporters alike have been wondering what Liverpool can do to chase down Manchester City. Klopp even had to rubbish talk of adding Gareth Bale from Real Madrid.
Klopp has sometimes mentioned that Liverpool has to spend, and used other occasions to play down the idea of the Reds adding anyone at all. Often, he’s now mentioned healthy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and young Rhian Brewster as additions for the 2019-20 season.
In a feature with The Liverpool Echo, Klopp makes it all a bit more clear: Of course the Reds would add, and even add big, if the right piece was available, but this season is about the Liverpool program and not short-term fixes.
“Having too much quality doesn’t help with the development of players. It’s good for everybody on the outside, because they can say ‘well if he can’t play, then he can play or he could play’.
“You have to create a situation where you need the player, you need the boys. That’s what we try. We have 100% always long-term plans. That’s what is really good about this football club.”
And if this season is, in fact, about making Brewster and Ryan Kent, for example, more regular contributors to the team while continuing the starring roles of 2018-19, then that can fit nicely into a system.
It’s the luxury of having consistency in the ranks, and not plugging holes, which is why Man City, Liverpool, and — maybe — Spurs will have a distinct edge over the first half of the PL season.
Alfredo Morelos has 29 goals and 11 assists this season for Rangers, but it’ll be difficult to remember the campaign for anything other than a color other than his side’s blue or the green-and-white of his rivals Celtic.
Red, as in the color of the card shown to him for elbowing Scott Brown in the Old Firm Derby on Sunday, giving him five dismissals on the season and helping Celtic earn a 2-1 win over Steven Gerrard‘s feisty visitors.
Morelos had just been clipped on the back of the leg during off-the-ball play, and threw his elbow back at Brown. The wily Celtic captain made the most of the contact and red was shown in the 31st minute.
Early reports say Rangers will fine Morelos a week’s wages, and Gerrard said he “can’t defend him anymore.”
But he’s also pretty angry with Brown, whose altercation with Ryan Kent after Celtic’s second goal helped up the venom in an already vicious rivalry.
“You’re playing against a player who loves to antagonize. Morelos and Kent are both provoked. Celtic fans have the right to celebrate but to do it right in your face, Halliday has the right to protect his own people.
“The guy who antagonized it all from the beginning deserves to be punished as well. When you’re provoked, it’s only fair that both sides get punished in my view.
Morelos’ first red came in the 12th minute on Opening Day, a 1-1 draw at Aberdeen. Remarkably, he’s twice more been sent off against Aberdeen in league play plus Sunday’s red and another in the last match of Europa League qualifying.
Those are all big games. Rangers are understandably 1W-1D-2L in the four league matches, and have dropped four points in matches he missed through suspension.
Now Rangers are 13 points behind their Glasgow neighbors.
“The gap was already big and it’s even bigger now. The buck stops with me and I’m ready for that. We will move forward from this and try to finish the season as strong as we can.”
The Bhoys, looking to avenge a first Old Firm loss in ages, went ahead through Edouard in the 27th minute and looked to be in fine shape once Morelos earned his fifth (!!!) red card of the season four minutes later when he threw an elbow into Scott Brown.
But absolutely shocking defense from Celtic allowed Rangers to equalize through Ryan Kent, who scored the winner at the Ibrox, with the visitors’ first shot attempt of the match.
The Old Firm Derby will have a new feel on Sunday, relatively speaking, after Celtic announced it will not keep hold of Moussa Dembele, the electric attacker who scored seven goals in eight matches against Rangers.
The 22-year-old is off to Lyon, netting Brendan Rodgers‘ side $23 million. Celtic signed Dembele on a free transfer.
“It is vital to make clear that we have never promised any player that he can leave the Club at a particular time. It has never happened. In fact, we have said all along that we did not wish to sell Moussa, given the circumstances within the transfer window and that is why we rejected a significant offer yesterday.
“However, this particular decision to accept this offer has been taken in order to serve the best interests of the first-team squad, my coaching team and the culture and environment we have created in these last two seasons.
Celtic will enter the derby one point ahead of Rangers and three behind leaders Aberdeen. They signed former West Brom man Youssouf Mulumbu and Leicester City’s Filip Benkovic on loan.
Out Dan Agyei (Blackpool) Loan
Tom Anderson (Doncaster Rovers) Loan
Jimmy Dunne (Accrington Stanley) Loan
Harry Flowers (Guiseley) Undisclosed
Josh Ginnelly (Tranmere Rovers) Loan
Luke Hendrie (Shrewsbury Town) Undisclosed
Alex Whitmore (Chesterfield) Undisclosed
In Ross Barkley (Everton) Undisclosed
Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) Undisclosed Emerson Palmieri (Roma) Undisclosed
Jack Boyle (Clyde) Loan
Dylan Cogill (Clyde) LoanFraser Horsfall (Kidderminster Harriers) Undisclosed
Danny Kane (Cork City) Undisclosed Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) Undisclosed
Jack Payne (Blackburn Rovers) Loan Ryan Schofield (AFC Telford) Loan
Tadhg Ryan (Released)
Cedwyn Scott (Dundee) Undisclosed
Out James Wilson (Sheffield United) Loan
Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal) Swap
Alex Tuanzebe (Aston Villa) Loan
Matty Willock (St Johnstone) Loan
Charlie Scott (Hamilton Academical) Loan
Demi Mitchell (Hearts) Loan
Martin Dubravka (Sparta Prague) Loan
Kenedy (Chelsea) Loan Islam Slimani (Leicester City) Loan