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Transfer news: Soumare to Liverpool; Lemar to Man United

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Transfer news continues to rumble on despite the lack of games due to the coronavirus pandemic, as plenty of the Premier League big boys are said to be in talks over summer signings.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

Let’s take a look at some of the latest Premier League transfer news below.


Do Liverpool need a new box-to-box midfielder? Apparently so.

With Fabinho in and out of the team through injury, plus Naby Keita linked with a move back to RB Leipzig and James Milner becoming more of a bit-part player, it is perhaps one of the only areas where Jurgen Klopp can strengthen his incredible Liverpool squad.

A report from Spanish outlet Sport claims that Liverpool have held talks with Lille over signing Boubakary Soumare, 21, for some time and are keen on the young Frenchman.

Soumare was linked with a move to either Chelsea or Man United in January but remained at Lille and it appears he will have even more options this summer, or whenever the transfer window opens.


As for Man United, they are said to be interested in Atletico Madrid winger Thomas Lemar, 24, who has totally fallen out of favor with Diego Simeone.

After it looked like he could sign for Liverpool, Chelsea or Arsenal in the summer of 2017, Lemar joined Atletico from AS Monaco in 2018 but has struggled to adapt his game to La Liga and according to ESPN his agents have been in discussions with Man United earlier this week.

The French international has quality on the ball and is a fine dribbler and his arrival could perhaps spell the end at Man United for the likes of Jesse Lingard and Andreas Perreira, as Lemar can operate across all three attacking midfield positions. Alongside the brilliant Bruno Fernandes, Lemar would provide something a little different for Man United’s attack with Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford leading the line. Daniel James has faded a little in recent months after a strong start to life at Old Trafford but is still young but Lemar’s quality and experience would surely see him become a regular at Man United.

As the report notes, Lemar will not come cheap as he has three years left on his contract at Atletico but his direct dribbling style and pace on the counter would suit this Man United side very well. His qualities aren’t suite to the way Atletico play but that would not be the case at Man United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Atletico Madrid relishes capacity to suffer after Anfield triumph

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Atletico Madrid forward Marcos Llorente sounded an alarm to the rest of the UEFA Champions League after his side flustered reigning champs Liverpool to advance to the quarterfinals.

“We don’t have any limits to how much we can go through and suffer,” Llorente said. “We defended with our lives and when we all pull in the same direction, these things can happen.”

[ MORE: Klopp, Milner react ]

Now, sure, Liverpool was dominant and a victim of its own poor finishing on the day, but Diego Simeone’s Atleti had earned its reputation as a stingy side well before Wednesday’s 3-2 extra-time win at Anfield.

“Atletico knew how to suffer, endure, and dethrone the current European champion,” Simeone said after the win, via Marca. “The Rojiblancos will be in the Champions League quarterfinals.”

That’s nothing new; Atleti has been to two UCL finals under Simeone, losing both to crosstown rivals Real Madrid. The manager led the club to two Europa League titles, too.

Simeone lauded goalkeeper Jan Oblak, who was sensational in a nine-save performance.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“He is as important as the others, like Savic, Lodi, Felipe, Joao Félix,” he said. “But we have a goalkeeper who is the best in the world just as Barcelona has Messi.”

Wow. We get the point, but wow.

Former Spurs defender Kieran Trippier explained why Atleti is able to defend so resolutely in a televised interview on TBS after the win.

“The way we play is the way we train,” Trippier said. “[Simeone is] like this on the touchline in training. It’s a joy to learn from him every day and work with him. I knew I needed a change and when a club like Atletico Madrid come in for you, you can’t say no. I’m learning new things every day.”

Klopp reacts to end of Liverpool’s UCL reign

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Liverpool mainstay James Milner and manager Jurgen Klopp faced the camera after Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League run ended at Anfield.

The Reds controlled play for most of a 3-2 extra-time loss to Atletico Madrid in the second leg of their UCL Round of 16 tie, but fell apart after an Adrian mistake set up the first of three late goals for Diego Simeone’s side.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

“They got the first goal, took the stuffing out of us and obviously we were chasing the game after that point,” Milner said (full video here via BeIn). “I thought it was a great performance from the start. We created a lot of chances against a very tough team. We probably should’ve taken a few more of them. But obviously 2-0 we had done a good job at that point. It’s the cost of not getting an away goal, really.”

Klopp was ready to put as positive a spin as he could on the loss, and he wasn’t wrong in most of what he proffered the cameras.

The Reds out-attempted Atleti 34-10 and had 71 percent possession, but Jan Oblak made nine saves and Liverpool finished very poorly in what could’ve been a cakewalk.

They fell 4-2 on aggregate.

[ MORE: Simeone, Trippier, Llorente praise capacity to suffer ]

“Super proud of the boys because for 95 minutes we played a sensational game,” Klopp said. “Our big mistake was to score the second goal five minutes to late. Clearly better side, dominated a side which is packed with world-class players. They defend in a way that was difficult to break down but we did it constantly. We did it constantly.”

Klopp neglected to blame Adrian for his game-changing error filling in for Alisson Becker, mentioning that the Spaniard had “saved us” plenty of times in the past.

Instead, he turned his attention to how hard Atleti had to work to dethrone the reigning UCL champs.

“I really feel proud and I should be. I told them already they should be really proud. We know in some moments we needed luck or a really good hand like against Napoli. We didn’t have that tonight, but really thank you to everybody tonight for the journey. The crowd tonight, wow. You see what you need to beat us here. You need a lot of luck and some help from us.”

UPDATE: Klopp took some shots at Atleti in separate interviews.

First, he proffered:

“I don’t understand with the quality they have the football they play. They could play proper football but they stand deep and have counter-attacks.”

Then, in his press conference with assembled media later in the evening, he continued.

“I’m an under-average loser,” he said. “If I said all the things I have in my mind, I would look like the worst loser in the world so it’s best I stop here.”

He was then asked to follow up those thoughts. He did.

“The way they play I just don’t get it, but the win is right,” he said. “Don’t lose respect with the questions you ask further because you should know already. If not then you didn’t see the game.”

 

Atleti ends Liverpool hopes of UCL repeat

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Marcos Llorente scored twice in extra time, the first off an extra-time blunder from Liverpool goalkeeper Adrian, as Atletico Madrid knocked the reigning champions out of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday.

The match finished 3-2 to Atleti, 4-2 on aggregate, as Alvaro Morata scored late to pour salt in Liverpool’s wounds.

[ MORE: Klopp, Milner react | Simeone, too ]

The Reds forgot their finishing boots on a dominant day, out-attempting Diego Simeone’s visitors 34-9. Atleti goalkeeper Jan Oblak made nine saves.

Roberto Firmino’s goal in the fourth minute of extra time joined Georginio Wijnaldum‘s first-half goal to give Liverpool an advantage it held for less than two minutes.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]


Three things we learned

1. Gini and The Ox run the show, but miserable finishing kills Reds: Wijnaldum and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain rewarded Jurgen Klopp for his risk of removing off-kilter star Fabinho from the Starting XI. The pair teamed up on the opening goal but it was more than that that earned them headlines. Wijnaldum was the best player not named Jan Oblak in the first half, while Oxlade-Chamberlain was a menace to Atleti’s midfielders in the second frame. While Jordan Henderson was understandably a bit rusty at times, his center midfield mates delivered the goods.

That said, Liverpool’s finishing was a combination of truly poor and terribly unlucky. Even when the Reds went ahead in stoppage time, it was Firmino cashing in a rebound after his first shot toward a gaping half of the goal hit the post. Robertson headed off the cross bar. Mohamed Salah shot ball after the ball almost directly to Jan Oblak or over the goal. This won’t go down as “Atleti is so hard to break down,” though Simeone’s men obviously are a tough team; The Reds just didn’t finish enough of their many, many chances.

2. Oblak almost everywhere: Not sure where exactly the joke is here, but Atletico Madrid’s goalkeeper blocked nearly everything that came his way, inspiring “Oh” and “Oh” from the Anfield faithful. The Slovenian shot-stopper

3. Adrian gives it away: Spanish keeper Adrian had very little to do on the day in filling in for the injured Alisson Becker, but ultimately will go down as the man responsible for Liverpool’s failure to defend its UCL crown. He made three saves on the day, but his poor pass up the middle of the pitch to Joao Felix will be what everyone remembers as Liverpool again loses a big UCL match due to a goalkeeper error (and terrible finishing).

Man of the Match: It’s Oblak. Yes, Llorente scored twice. Sure, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wijnaldum were incredible. But the Slovenian commanded his box in the face of extreme adversity and congestion.


Liverpool entered the match with predictable vigor, Jan Oblak’s first duty coming off a Georginio Wijnaldum header of a Trent Alexander-Arnold cross.

Atleti found its footing soon after, Kieran Trippier unable to turn a long diagonal ball off a free kick back toward goal.

Salah tempted the frame with a 20-yard attempt in the 10th minute, and Oblak made a sprawling denial of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain four minutes later.

Atleti won a corner in the 17th, but Felipe nodded short of the near post.

Salah took advantage of a Renan Lodi slip to cue up Sadio Mane, but his bounding shot was blocked and collected by Oblak.

The Atleti keeper then made a fantastic save on Roberto Firmino after an incisive Alexander-Arnold cross.

Wijnaldum leveled the tie in the 43rd minute, and the goal had been coming. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s cross found a wide-open Wijnaldum at the spot for a powered-down header that bounced past Oblak.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Salah stung Oblak’s palms early in the second half, and the Atleti keeper stopped an offside Mane with a fantastic left-hand save in the 50th.

Oblak got low to palm away an Oxlade-Chamberlain drive, conceding a corner.

Joao Felix had a chance out of nothing, and Adrian bumbled the ball but saved his error by blocking Correa’s chop at the rebound.

Robertson was celebrating a would-be go-ahead goal off a Salah cross, but it hit the cross bar in the 67th minute. Oblak made another fine save before the rebound was blocked by a defender.

An 81st-minute corner routine set up Robertson for glory, but he blazed clear of the frame from 18 yards.

Wijnaldum couldn’t finish with a back post header off a James Milner cross, and Mane smashed an overhead kick over the bar.

Saul Niguez was offside when he headed a stoppage-time free kick home, and the match moved to extra time.

Oblak made another save to start stoppage time, his ninth of the match. Firmino then took his rebound off the post to make it 2-0.

But wait, Atleti had an answer when Adrian’s clearance went right to Joao Felix. A few touches later it was 2-1 through Llorente’s low drive, and he added another through a well-worked counterattack to stun the reigning champs.

Morata blazed past the Liverpool back line to seal the result deep in the second period of extra time.

LIVE, UCL last 16: Liverpool v. Atletico, PSG v. Dortmund

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Two huge UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second leg games take place on Wednesday, as Liverpool clash with Atletico Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain do battle with Borussia Dortmund as both teams aim to battle back after narrow away defeats in the first legs.

[ LIVE: Champions League scores

Liverpool host Atletico Madrid at Anfield having to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg as the Premier League champions elect aim to keep up their hopes of defending their European title.

Jurgen Klopp‘s Liverpool are on the cusp of winning their first league title but all of their attention this week will be on getting the better of Diego Simeone’s pesky Atletico who will relish the Anfield cauldron as they showed just how well they can defend in the first leg. Liverpool need yet another special Anfield atmosphere, and comeback, if the European champions are going to defend their crown.

[ MORE: Which Premier League team(s) will reach last eight? ]

Wednesday’s other last 16 game will be played an empty stadium in Paris as PSG host Borussia Dortmund trailing 2-1 from the first leg. Neymar and Co. will be under pressure as their owners desperately want success in the Champions League but Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho stand in their way. This clash between two attack-minded teams will be appointment viewing as Thomas Tuchel takes on his former team managed by Lucien Favre.

Click on the link above to follow all of the action live, while we will have you covered for all of the reaction and analysis right here on ProSoccerTalk.


Wednesday’s UCL last 16 games (both games kick off at 4 p.m. ET)

Liverpool v. Atletico Madrid (0-1)
Paris Saint-Germain v. Borussia Dortmund (1-2)