EPL

Klopp agrees new Liverpool deal until 2024

By Sports Desk December 13, 2019

Jurgen Klopp has signed a new two-year contract extension with Liverpool, keeping him on Merseyside until 2024, the club confirmed on Friday.

The German sees the agreement as an indicator of where the club is heading, convinced Liverpool's development will only continue.

"For me, personally, this is a statement of intent, one which is built on my knowledge of what we as a partnership have achieved so far and what is still there for us to achieve," Klopp said.

"When I see the development of the club and the collaborative work that continues to take place, I feel my contribution can only grow.

"People see what happens on the pitch as a measure of our progress and, although it is the best measure, it's not the only measure. I have seen the commitment from ownership through to every aspect and function of the club you can think of.

"When the call came in autumn 2015, I felt we were perfect for each other; if anything, now I feel I underestimated that.

"It is only with a total belief that the collaboration remains totally complementary on both sides that I am able to make this commitment to 2024. If I didn't, I would not be re-signing."

Klopp has overseen a steady improvement since joining the club in 2015, making them top-four regulars again before building from that platform and restoring fans' faith in Liverpool's ability to challenge for major honours.

The Reds were beaten in both the EFL Cup and Europa League finals in the manager's first season, and they have shown immense progress from there.

In 2017-18, Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the first time since 2006-07, although they were defeated 3-1 by Real Madrid.

Klopp's men were not to be deterred and returned the following year, going all the way and winning 2-0 against Tottenham in the final in June, becoming champions of Europe for a sixth time.

And while Liverpool missed out on a maiden Premier League title in 2018-19 - chasing a first top-flight championship since 1989-90 - as they finished a point adrift of champions Manchester City, the Reds are well on course to put that right in 2020.

The European champions sit eight points clear at the top of the league table after 16 games.

Klopp insists all of the focus should not be on him, however, as he paid tribute to sporting director Michael Edwards.

"This club is in such a good place, I couldn't contemplate leaving," he continued. "I must also highlight the role of Michael Edwards in this journey so far.

"His input and collaboration has been just as important as anyone else's in getting us into a position to compete for the game's top titles.

"For anyone in football who aspires to compete in an environment where every element of the organisation is at its very best - from the support of the supporters to the vision of the owners - there can be no better place than this."

Klopp's assistants Peter Krawietz and Pepijn Lijnders have also extended their respective contracts until 2024.

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    Jurgen Klopp applauded Liverpool for securing a "dominant" 2-0 win in what he viewed as one of their most captivating matches against Manchester United.

    Virgil van Dijk's 14th-minute header and Mohamed Salah's stoppage-time sealer saw off the Red Devils at Anfield on Sunday and sent Liverpool 16 points clear atop the Premier League.

    Roberto Firmino had a goal disallowed following a VAR review midway through the first half but the hosts made the result safe when Salah chased down Alisson's long ball, held off Daniel James and completed a scintillating counter-attack.

    "It was a really good game, one of the best derbies we have played for sure," Klopp said.

    "Very dominant in most periods of the game. I didn't like too much in the first half, the last five or seven minutes. Nothing happened really, just we weren't as dominant as before.

    "And obviously the last 10-15, maybe, of the game. Okay, [it was] an exception."

    "The start to the second half was absolutely brutal," Klopp continued. "We jumped in and had three, four chances at least. Didn't score and then it's how it always is... the opponent has the chance to come back.

    "We had to defend and the organisation was okay. We defended with a lot of passion, a big heart and stuff like this. Carried as well by the atmosphere, which was great.

    "And then the last situation of the game - Alisson Becker, what an assist. Mo Salah, what a goal. There was a sprint duel of two really quick boys and Mo used his massive experience. A big relief in that moment."

    Liverpool fans sang gleefully about their team's apparent title destiny after full-time and Klopp welcomed the sense of excitement.

    "If our fans could not be in a good mood now that would be really strange," he said.

    "Of course they are allowed to dream, sing, whatever they want, as long as they do their job as well when we play. All fine. We will not be part of that party yet, but it's no problem - we know our job."

  • Alcacer, Mariano and the 'short-term options' Man Utd could target after Rashford injury Alcacer, Mariano and the 'short-term options' Man Utd could target after Rashford injury

    Having already lost key midfielders Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay to serious injuries, Manchester United now face the prospect of being without top scorer Marcus Rashford for the most important part of the season.

    The England international aggravated a back injury during a second-half cameo against Wolves in the FA Cup third-round replay victory, and after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer downplayed United's worries, it was later confirmed to be much more serious than first thought.

    Reports began to emerge during United's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool that Rashford had actually been playing through the pain and Solskjaer confirmed he suffered a double stress fracture against Wolves, meaning he could potentially be out for three months.

    As such, Solskjaer acknowledged United might be forced into seeking "short-term" solutions in the transfer market, with Mason Greenwood and Anthony Martial their only recognisable forwards.

    Below, we highlight some potential options.

    Paco Alcacer (Borussia Dortmund)

    Spain international Alcacer has had a peculiar time at Dortmund. He managed to score 18 times in the Bundesliga last season even though he only started 11 matches, while he has five top-flight goals this term despite only six of his 11 appearances coming as a starter. While he is a completely different type of forward to Rashford, he does represent a kind of attacker United simply do not have, in that he is a poacher. Following the arrival of Erling Haaland – apparently a target of Solskjaer's before he joined BVB – Alcacer might be attainable.

    Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-Germain)

    After falling out of favour at PSG, Uruguay striker Cavani has asked to leave before his contract expires at the end of the season, with Atletico Madrid and others said to be interested. A proven goalscorer and immensely experienced, Cavani would certainly provide United with a focal point they can aim for and play off – though his wages are not insignificant and he might not be entirely suited to counter-attacking football.

    Mariano Diaz (Real Madrid)

    Since returning to Madrid in 2018, Mariano has had a difficult time of it. Niggling injuries have impacted his availability and he has unsurprisingly struggled to make a telling contribution as a result. He is yet to feature in LaLiga this term, having fallen well down the pecking order – but that is not to say Mariano is a poor player. Quick, technically good and certainly capable of finding the net, he is perhaps rather more suited to United's style of play than Alcacer or Cavani.

    Cedric Bakambu (Beijing Guoan)

    In 2018, Bakambu cost Beijing Guoan €40million, the release fee in his contract with previous club Villarreal. The DR Congo striker had enjoyed a solid three-year spell at the Yellow Submarine, with his combination of athleticism, ability on the ball and finishing making him standout as a potential target for bigger clubs. He has continued to score on a regular basis in China and is starting to attract interest from Europe again, with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid apparently keeping tabs on him. United could do a lot worse than the former France youth international.

    Promote from the academy

    Solskjaer certainly can't be accused of neglecting the young talents coming through at the club. If he was to promote from within, rather than dip into the transfer market, D'Mani Mellor and Largie Ramazani would likely be the two frontrunners. Mellor is a 19-year-old forward who likes to drop deep and engage in sharp link-up play with his back to goal, while he is also a capable dribbler. Ramazani, 18, often operates a little more from wider positions, but the Belgium youth international has impressed for United's Under-23s this term with nine goals in 13 league appearances. Excellent on the ball and a possessor of explosive pace, Ramazani certainly seems to fit the mould Solskjaer likes his forwards to be.

  • Ronaldo solves 100 problems for Juventus - Sarri Ronaldo solves 100 problems for Juventus - Sarri

    Maurizio Sarri hailed "champion" Cristiano Ronaldo after his brace saw Juventus to a precious 2-1 Serie A home win against Parma.

    Ronaldo scored in either half to clinch victory on Sunday, capitalising on title rivals Inter's failure to beat Lecce earlier in the day.

    The Portuguese was a defensive contributor, too, yet he was outjumped by Andreas Cornelius as Parma briefly pulled level.

    Sarri is happy to take the rough with the smooth when it comes to his star man, though.

    "We have a champion who sometimes creates a problem for you but solves 100 of them," he told Sky Sport Italia. "The rest of the team has to revolve around him."

    Ronaldo had chances for further goals, and Sarri was frustrated with his team's inability to extend their lead and set up a straightforward finale.

    "The mental intensity can be improved, even the management of certain moments of the matches," he said. "I don't even like dribbling in our own half in the last few minutes.

    "I would prefer to concede a goal on the counter-attack than in our own penalty area.

    "Putting Higuain on at 2-1 was a clear message to the team: let's end the game."

    Victory saw Juve move four points clear of second-placed Inter, although Lazio are also a threat a further two points back but with a game in hand.

    However, Sarri is concerned by neither the Nerazzurri nor the in-form capital club.

    "I have a fear for other things, not for football. Concern? Even that [would not describe it]," he said. "We are talking about sports.

    "We know we have two very strong opponents. One is in an amazing moment that will hopefully not last long."

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