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Jurgen Klopp privately rubbished speculation that Liverpool were interested in Saul Niguez last summer – by praising Harvey Elliott.
Liverpool emerged as apparent frontrunners to sign Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul in pre-season, with the Spanish side reported to have rejected a €40m offer.
Chelsea eventually loaned Saul in following further interest from Manchester City and Manchester United. The 27-year-old started 12 games for the Blues – four in the League Cup – and will return to the Spanish capital this summer.
But in an effort to dispel the idea that Liverpool would pursue the midfielder 12 months ago, Klopp spoke up the talents of teenager Elliott.
Detailing the club’s season, The Athletic discuss a party that Klopp arranged for staff members to thank them for their contribution towards a ‘gruelling’ pre-season camp in Austria.
‘There was a buffet of smoked meats and cheeses. Attendees could order whatever they wanted from a free bar,’ James Pearce writes. This is important stuff.
While Klopp ‘did not give a speech’ at the event, he endeavoured to speak to everyone individually. During the evening, his fondness for Elliott was laid bare.
‘It’s a joke’ – Liverpool starlet Elliott sees Klopp as ‘father figure’
‘In one of the UK’s national newspapers, there was a story linking Liverpool to Saul Niguez, the Atletico Madrid midfielder who eventually signed for Chelsea,’ Pearce writes.
‘Klopp suggested the story was not true – why would it be when Elliott, a teenager recently returned from a successful loan at Championship Blackburn, had trained so fantastically in Austria?’
The article also explains how Klopp was ‘bullish’ about the strength of his squad and ‘repeatedly talked up the talent in front of him during team meetings,’ despite wider dissatisfaction at their perceived lack of investment.
Liverpool’s only summer signing was Ibrahima Konate, at a time when Manchester City broke the British transfer record on Jack Grealish, Chelsea came close to matching that figure for Romelu Lukaku and Manchester United signed Jadon Sancho, Raphael Varane and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Klopp publicly discussed his surprise at the level of spend his closest rivals were authorising, adding: “We have our way and it’s always been the same since I joined. We can spend, we’re allowed to spend the money we earn – that’s what we always did.”
The criticism he and his side faced ‘suited the manager perfectly in his mission to create an “us versus the world” mentality,’ Pearce writes.
The article Klopp used Liverpool teen to rubbish €40m transfer speculation over Chesea flop appeared first on Football365.com.