Jurgen Klopp insisted it was too early for contract talks with Liverpool with three years still remaining on his deal.

The German led the Premier League giants to Champions League success last season and reports suggested he was set to extend his contract, which runs until 2022.

But Klopp, whose side face Borussia Dortmund in a pre-season friendly on Friday, said he was unfazed about a new deal just yet.

"I will not leave before the contract is ending. That is my side. That is why a contract is important," he told a news conference, via The Telegraph.

"We have enough time to make decisions in that department. There is no need to do it now. Three years is really a bit early to be concerned. It is just a contract.

"The owners like what I do. I like what the owners are doing. I love the team, they are brilliant. Melwood is sensational. I'm looking forward to going to [the new training ground in] Kirkby and all these things. There is always a step forward.

"We all want to keep the past and traditions and all that stuff, but there needs to be a step forward. It is important that is our attitude. You cannot make that step in three or four years by making sure that I stay until 2000-and-something. It just makes sure that I will stay until then."

Liverpool lost just one Premier League game last season, earning 97 points but falling short of a first league title since 1990.

Klopp said he was only worried about his team, who have had a quiet transfer window, but also believes champions Manchester City are again favourites.

"[I am] completely focused on Liverpool. Completely," he said.

"It would be great if we could be around Man City again because that's the only possibility to have to pass them because it is already clear they are the big favourite again. No problem with that.

"They have a very good situation, which they showed last year especially after having 100 points in the season before – the greed they showed, the determination they showed, it was just impressive."

Jurgen Klopp believes Joel Matip's influence on his Champions League-winning Liverpool side is underrated.

The defender played a key role at the back for Liverpool alongside Virgil van Dijk in the second half of last season, helping the Reds reign in Europe after finishing second to Manchester City in an incredible Premier League title race.

Van Dijk's performances in Liverpool's stellar campaign have seen him come to be regarded as the finest defender in world football.

However, asked about Van Dijk at a media conference ahead of their friendly meeting with Borussia Dortmund, Klopp said: "I think everything about him has been said, what a guy he is, what a player he is, but not a lot of people spoke about the impact Joel Matip had in the last third of the season.

"I don't see a lot of centre-backs in the world who are better in that period, 100 per cent, pretty much without any mistakes.

"Virgil was the constant in that last line [of defence] and it felt always good when you saw him there. He organises a lot of things on the pitch. He's a fantastic player and was a pretty good signing."

The impact of James Milner in the Liverpool dressing room has also become clear and while Klopp feels the 33-year-old still has plenty to offer as a player, he would be willing to offer the former England international an opportunity to cut his teeth as a coach at Anfield.

"There are still a few good years to come [from Milner] and I’m not sure if we already have to think about what he can do after his career," Klopp added.

"But I'm pretty sure for a guy like him there's always a door open at our club, 100 per cent.

"You could see in different moments last season how much it meant to him, four years back [when Milner joined on a free transfer] I don't know what people in Liverpool thought about him, but it was a brilliant idea in that moment because without players like Milly success in football is impossible."

Jordan Henderson hailed the off-field influence of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain when the midfielder was injured and predicts he will be "like a new signing" for Liverpool in the new season.

England international Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a serious knee injury at the end of the 2017-18 campaign and missed most of the following season.

In 2018-19, the 25-year-old was only able to return for the final few weeks as he made two substitute appearances amounting to 19 minutes of action.

However, he has been fully involved in pre-season training in recent weeks and club captain Henderson has his fingers crossed for the former Arsenal man.

"I'm quite close to him. He's a fantastic person off the field," Henderson said in a news conference on Thursday.

"I'm sure he'll have been going through some painful times [but] he was always positive, always happy around the team, always there to support us when we needed him.

"He was a massive part for us off the field last season. This season I hope he's a massive part on the field as well and shows everyone what he's capable of like he did before he got injured.

"This pre-season is important for him to get back to playing games regularly, to get his match fitness back, and I'm sure once he does that he'll be flying again.

"He's like a new signing for us. He's a fantastic player, so powerful and he gives us something different in this team. Hopefully he can stay injury-free for a while now."

James Milner's team talks might not be fit for public consumption but Jurgen Klopp values them as part of the Liverpool midfielder's "outstanding" attitude and leadership.

Now 33, the experienced former England international is set to embark upon his fifth season with the Reds.

It will be his first as a Champions League winner and, with Klopp hesitant to upset the balance by adding new signings, the core of the side that exceeded expectations last term will remain unchanged.

That means the same level of responsibility for Premier League veteran Milner, a player the Reds boss trusts to tell home truths in close confines.

"His attitude is outstanding," Klopp told Liverpool's website. "Millie is a sports guy, in each sport he does he is brilliant. Without Millie it wouldn't have been possible [to have the same level of success].

"His kind of a little bit dirty dressing-room talks I cannot do, these things you say in the dressing room that I am not allowed to say in public.

"That's the last little kick and that's nice.

"Millie looks again in pre-season like [he's in] in his early 20s, but he isn't. He knows that, and we try to respect that. But not only in the game is he [almost unstoppable], in training it's the same."

Milner's professionalism provides the perfect example for youngsters like striker Rhian Brewster, who looks increasingly close to a breakthrough at Anfield.

The 19-year-old has stirred excitement with three goals in two pre-season games, but any first-team minutes over the coming months will be provided free of pressure and expectation.

"We think he is ready, to be honest, but we have to see when and how often and stuff like this," Klopp said.

"He was injured for a long time. He is a fantastic footballer, we fought really hard to get him [from Chelsea] and then to keep him.

"Now he is here and I think he sees the chance, the chance is there and that's very good."

Where will Neymar be playing in 2019-20? It is the €222million question.

After joining Paris Saint-Germain for a world-record fee in 2017, Neymar wants to leave the Ligue 1 champions.

Only a select few of Europe's elite can afford the Brazil superstar. Could a sensational move to Turin be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SR TO TALK TO JUVE

Neymar could team up with Cristiano Ronaldo at Serie A champions Juventus.

That is according to Rai Sport following a report claiming Neymar's father will meet Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici in Turin.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain following his world-record €222m transfer in 2017 and the Brazil international has been linked with a return to Barcelona and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

 

ROUND-UP

- The future of Luka Modric is once again in the spotlight, but the Real Madrid star is reluctant to leave, according to Marca amid interest from AC Milan. The speculation comes as the Rossoneri also look to bolster their defence. Gianluca Di Marzio says Milan are keen on signing €40m-rated Merih Demiral from Juventus, while Tuttosport reports the Italian giants have turned to Manchester United's Eric Bailly after being put off by Liverpool's valuation of Dejan Lovren.

- With Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben no longer around, Bayern Munich are desperate to reinforce their wide areas but the Independent claims the Bundesliga champions have given up on signing Callum Hudson-Odoi from Chelsea.

- Lyon captain Nabil Fekir is attracting a lot of interest from LaLiga and Valencia are now in pole position to sign the France international, according to Le10Sport. Diario Sport says Barcelona's Rafinha Alcantara is also hopeful of joining Valencia.

- According to Marca, Barcelona are ready to sell Arsenal and Tottenham target Malcom for £55m (€60.9m). Everton and Paris Saint-Germain are also reportedly interested in Malcom, who only arrived from Bordeaux in 2018-19.

- CalcioMercato claims Premier League giants Manchester United have entered the race to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo. The 20-year-old has reportedly been involved in a tug-of-war between Tottenham and Juventus.

Inter are edging closer to Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku, who sat out Wednesday's friendly win over Leeds United in Australia. However, Corriere dello Sport also says Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani is an alternative for the Serie A side.

Jurgen Klopp remains "relaxed" about Liverpool's transfer activity and while he is looking at strengthening one position, he reiterated the European champions would be relatively quiet during the window.

Liverpool have signed 17-year-old defender Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle this close season, while the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Alberto Moreno have left.

The Champions League winners have been linked with moves for numerous players, including former playmaker Philippe Coutinho – now at Barcelona – and Lille forward Nicolas Pepe.

Klopp, whose team are in the United States for pre-season friendlies, is remaining calm about Liverpool's movements in the market.

"We are pretty relaxed in that, we will see what's coming up," he told the club's website.

"How I said, it will not be the biggest transfer window of LFC. We invested a lot in the team in the last two years, I would say. We cannot spend every year in the same manner.

"People talk about it like, 'Now another £300million or £200m'. There are maybe only two clubs in the world – it looks in the moment like Barcelona and [Real] Madrid can do the same – [Manchester] City and PSG that can do it every year.

"But we are fine. I'm happy with the team, we are really happy. We have to see if we find maybe one position, if we find something for it, but there's no real pressure because it's not about signing a player. We have solutions for all the situations.

"Do we have exactly the solution that everybody from outside would be 100 per cent happy? I don't think so because people want to have world class here, world class here and the guy on the bench has to be world class as well. That's not so easy. But we are of course working on it."

Marko Grujic will remain on loan at Hertha Berlin, while Sheyi Ojo will spend 2019-20 with Rangers.

But Klopp has no concerns about his squad at Liverpool, who finished a point behind champions Manchester City in the Premier League last season.

"On the outgoing side, we are relaxed. The young boys are here and enjoyed working with us a lot," he said.

"Not to forget Naby [Keita] and Shaq [Xherdan Shaqiri] are injured still and are not here with us. Players will come back.

"I'm really looking forward to the season, it will be really exciting again."

Liverpool face Borussia Dortmund in a friendly on Friday.

Jurgen Klopp is wary of Sadio Mane's lack of rest heading into the new season, with the Liverpool star's campaign yet to come to an end.

On the back of a gruelling 2018-19 campaign, Premier League Golden Boot joint-winner Mane has scored three goals to help Senegal to the Africa Cup of Nations final.

Friday's showdown with Algeria in Cairo ends a season which has lasted close to 12 months for the 27-year-old, who also featured for his nation at the 2018 World Cup.

Liverpool's season starts on August 4 with the Community Shield clash against Premier League champions Manchester City at Wembley.

Newly promoted Norwich City then travel to Anfield on August 9, in the opening Premier League fixture of 2019-20.

And Klopp acknowledged his concern over Mane's readiness for the new season, confirming Liverpool are yet to decide when Mane will return to the fold.

"With Sadio, we have to see about him after the final – how he is feeling and stuff like that," Klopp told Liverpool's official website.

"It will be really difficult. Sixteen days before we play City, his season is finished. We will have to make a decision, but we haven't made it yet."

While Mane's return date is yet to be established, Klopp – whose squad are on tour in the United States – revealed Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and goalkeeper Alisson will return for a training camp in Evian later in July.

The trio have all been afforded extended breaks following their participation in the AFCON and Copa America respectively, with Klopp confident they will have enough time to prepare for the City fixture.

"It means we have nearly a week until City, a strong 12 days until Norwich and then 15 or 16 days until Chelsea [in the UEFA Super Cup]," Klopp said.

"We have to see. The good thing is, when you have a short break you don’t lose a lot. 

"I would have preferred it if they had come back after a week, but that would make absolutely no sense. So, [they have] these three weeks and then we will have them here for pre-season."

Juventus will be known as Piemonte Calcio on FIFA 20 due to the Italian's club's new exclusive partnership with Pro Evolution Soccer (PES), EA Sports has confirmed.

The Old Lady jersey was used on the front cover of FIFA 19 with Cristiano Ronaldo, but Konami now have use of official trademarks and intellectual property for the new PES game.

Instead, a club called Piemonte Calcio shall be created in their place on FIFA, using a custom badge and kits across all game modes.

The fictious club will, however, still include Juve's real-world players in FIFA 20 and FIFA Ultimate Team

EA Sports' loss is a result of PES' gain, with the game striking an exclusive "long-term" deal with Juve that will see the club's players recreated via a "full-body 3D scan in order to recreate their likeness in the game as accurately as possible".

eFootball Pro Evolution Soccer 2020, the next edition's official title, will also boast a link-up with Barcelona, whose players have featured on the covers of the past three PES titles, albeit the deal with the Blaugrana is not exclusive.

Among the other PES "partnered clubs" that will be fully licensed - though not exclusive - in the game are: Manchester United, Arsenal, River Plate, Palmeiras, Boca Juniors, Bayern Munich, Flamengo, Sao Paulo, Corinthians, Vasco Da Gama and Colo Colo.

It is not all bad news for EA Sports, however.

Champions League winners Liverpool have struck a "long-term" deal of their own with the FIFA developers, who will become the Reds' "official football simulation game partner".

Liverpool have confirmed goalkeeper Andy Lonergan will join the first-team squad for their pre-season tour of the United States.

The 35-year-old, without a club since leaving Middlesbrough at the end of last season, will work with the European champions' goalkeeping department alongside Simon Mignolet and Daniel Atherton.

Alisson is yet to return for pre-season duties since winning the Copa America with Brazil, while young keepers Caoimhin Kelleher and Vitezslav Jaros are injured.

Lonergan, who began his career with Preston North End, has played for several clubs in England including Leeds United, Bolton Wanderers, Fulham and Wolves.

He joined Middlesbrough in 2018 but did not make an appearance for the Championship club and spent the second half of last term on loan at Rochdale before being released when his contract expired.

Liverpool face Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Sporting CP while in the USA.

Philippe Coutinho will only consider returning to the Premier League to play for Liverpool and a potential move to Manchester United would be near impossible, according to agent Kia Joorabchian.

Coutinho moved to Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, the Reds receiving a transfer fee that could hit €160million (£142m) with add-ons.

He initially appeared to be a good fit, producing some solid performances in his first few months at Camp Nou as he finished the 2017-18 season with eight goals in 18 LaLiga matches.

But he flattered to deceive last term, netting only five times in 22 league starts as he failed to live up to expectations.

He has been linked with a transfer to United, with Barca said to be eager to free up funds to sign Neymar, but his agent effectively ruled out such a move.

"Manchester United is a great club, I have players there and I have all the respect for them, but as far as Philippe goes, it would be an extremely difficult to a near-impossible move," Joorabchian told talkSPORT.

"I would be very difficult for Philippe to play for any of Liverpool's rivals, because he has such a great affinity towards Liverpool. His time there was fantastic.

"Like all big players at some point you want to experience a different thing in your career because your career is very short, but it [his Liverpool exit] has no reflection on the fact his heart and affinity is very much with Liverpool.

"I know he was cheering every time they had the chance. Lucas Leiva is the same way. A lot of these guys who leave Liverpool remain Liverpool fans because of the fans and the passion they have.

"So, it would be hard for him to go to a rival. Every time we've spoken about it we've had that same conversation, he would find it hard to play for another club in the Premier League."

Coutinho has also been tentatively mentioned as a potential target for the Reds, though Joorabchian doubts a return to Anfield will materialise.

"The thing is, Liverpool have built a tremendous squad," he said. "The manager has a great balance there and it's probably one of the best run football clubs in the country.

"So, with the build-up they've done and the squad they have, it [bringing Coutinho back] would really have to be something they would have to decide, whether or not they feel there is now a gap in the squad for someone like Philippe.

"I think it's going to be a very difficult deal, but most of the big ones are always very, very difficult.

"Obviously, if he were to move back [to the Premier League], it would have to be Liverpool, but at the moment I think it would be difficult and it would be up to them."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expects Simon Mignolet to remain at Anfield despite the goalkeeper playing a back-up role to Alisson.

After the Brazil international signed from Roma a year ago, briefly becoming the world's most expensive goalkeeper, Alisson started all 38 Premier League games last term.

Mignolet was restricted to playing in domestic cup competitions but made only two appearances as Liverpool exited the EFL Cup and FA Cup early.

The Belgium goalkeeper said in January it was hard mentally to cope with bench duty, but Klopp is hopeful the 31-year-old will not be moving on.

"Yes. I would say, yes," Klopp told reporters when asked if he feels Mignolet will stay at Liverpool for the 2019-20 season. 

"I have had a lot of conversations with him in the last couple of years and months. We spoke before we left [for the close-season break].

"It is because at a club like Liverpool you need two number ones, at least, in the club. That's cool with Ali and Simon.

"A good situation for the club and a situation you should have. Everything is fine from my point of view."

Liverpool's pre-season campaign includes games against Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla and Napoli in the next two weeks.

After facing Manchester City in the Community Shield, Klopp's side then open the 2019-20 Premier League season at home to newly promoted Norwich City on August 9.

James Milner scored twice as an understrength Liverpool won 3-1 at Bradford City in a pre-season friendly on Sunday.

Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk and Jordan Henderson were among the big-name absentees ahead of the Premier League club's forthcoming tour to the United States.

That left midfielder Milner to provide the first-half entertainment in a match staged to raise funds for the charity co-founded by former Liverpool and Bradford defender Stephen Darby, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in September.

Ex-England international Milner opened the scoring with a shot that deflected in off James Vaughan's head, then converted a penalty after Ryan Kent was hacked down inside the area.

Rhian Brewster squeezed in a third from a narrow angle before Jurgen Klopp made 10 changes at half-time, only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet continuing after the break.

Bradford grabbed a late consolation when substitute Eoin Doyle converted from the spot, teenager Adam Lewis having fouled Clayton Donaldson.

The Reds, 6-0 winners over Tranmere Rovers on Thursday, next face Borussia Dortmund in Indiana, which could see the return of several regulars.

The future of James Rodriguez has dominated headlines this off-season.

Napoli have been tipped to sign James after Bayern Munich opted not to take up their permanent option to sign the Real Madrid midfielder.

However, James could be set to remain in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – ATLETICO SET FOR SHOCK SWOOP

Atletico Madrid are close to completing the signing of James Rodriguez from LaLiga rivals Real Madrid, according to Marca.

Napoli have been favourites to lure James to Italy, with the Serie A side keen to reunite the Colombia star and head coach Carlo Ancelotti.

However, negotiations have dragged on and James – who spent the past two seasons on loan at Bayern Munich – is reportedly keen to make the switch across town.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to le10sport, Barcelona have offered Philippe Coutinho in a straight swap for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar. LaLiga champions Barca reportedly do not have money to spend after paying Antoine Griezmann's release clause.

- Sky Sports reports Arsenal have made an improved £25million offer for Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney. Meanwhile, BBC Sport claims the Gunners have not submitted a bid for Lille forward Nicolas Pepe as they cannot afford the €80m-rated star.

- Harry Maguire has told Leicester City he wants to leave amid growing speculation he will join Manchester United, says the Daily Mail.

- According to the Daily Mail, Bayern Munich have not given up on signing Chelsea youngster Callum Hudson-Odoi. The Bundesliga champions are reportedly set to make a £45million offer. Bayern are also interested in Tottenham right-back Kieran Trippier, Sky Sports understands.

Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin is close to moving to Portuguese champions Benfica, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. Perin is looking for regular football following Gianluigi Buffon's return to Turin, where Wojciech Szczesny is the number one.

- The Mirror says Liverpool have joined Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in the race to sign CSKA Moscow striker Fedor Chalov.

Juventus could use Moise Kean in a deal to sign Inter outcast Mauro Icardi, according to FCInterNews.it. Rai Sport has also claimed Juve could take Icardi on loan with an option to buy for €40million.

Philippe Coutinho's agent has accused Barcelona of lying about wanting to keep the forward and says the LaLiga champions are surreptitiously seeking to package him in a deal for Neymar.

Kia Joorabchian, Coutinho's representative, claims Barca officials Pep Segura and Josep Maria Bartomeu have given private assurances the Brazilian remains required at Camp Nou.

However, Joorabchian claims the club's promises have not been consistent with their actions, and believes his client has been shown a lack of respect.

He feels Coutinho, who has struggled to make an impact in two seasons at Barca, is being used as a makeweight in the pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, who is unsettled in the French capital.

"The president [Bartomeu] was clear: he had no intention of selling the player, to any club," Joorabchian told RMC Sport.

"With that, and out of respect for Barcelona's decision to keep him, we chose not to look at the market for our player and we have not offered the player to other clubs.

"But I learned, and it's a fact, that [Barca adviser] Andre Cury is saying totally different things. Andre Cury is pushing for Coutinho to be included in the transfer for Neymar.

"As I said, Coutinho has no offer from any other clubs because we respected Barcelona's decision, but they do not respect the word they gave to us.

"We have been silent in this period, but it will not be allowed for Barcelona to lie about the player. They must tell the truth!

"And if they want Coutinho to leave, they have to say it. With the player, we will decide what is best for his future."

Coutinho will face fresh competition for a starting spot if he remains at Barca following the club's capture of Antoine Griezmann from Atletico Madrid on Friday.

Liverpool could offer an escape route as they reportedly consider bringing the 27-year-old back to Anfield, where he was jeered during the Champions League semi-finals in May.

"Liverpool lies very deeply in his heart," Joorabchian told Sky Sports. "He's a big fan of them. It would be very difficult for him to go to a direct competitor of Liverpool."

Marko Grujic has set himself a target of playing "34 very good games" while on loan at Hertha Berlin this season in order win a place in Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool team.

Serbia international Grujic agreed to spend a second season with the Bundesliga club after meeting with Klopp to discuss his future prospects, but he has not given up hope of becoming a star at Anfield.

The 23-year-old midfielder made five Premier League appearances in his first season at Liverpool after his reported €7million transfer from Red Star Belgrade, followed by three more in 2017-18 before spells on loan at Cardiff City and Hertha.

He started 20 of Hertha's Bundesliga matches last season as the club finished 11th, despite spells out due to injury, and he believes another successful campaign in Germany could help him make a breakthrough with the champions of Europe.

"I was in Liverpool for a few days after last season, did some medical tests," Grujic told Sport Bild. "We [Klopp and I] sat together and talked about my plans.

"My contract at Liverpool runs until 2023. We both saw it in a similar way: I only managed to make the most of 50 per cent of my opportunities in Berlin. Minor injuries knocked me back.

"He also found that it is better for my development to stay in the Bundesliga for another year."

Grujic spoke of his mixed emotions when watching Liverpool's 2-0 victory over Tottenham in the Champions League final, his delight at his parent club's triumph contrasting with his frustration at not playing a part.

"When I see such games, I always realise that I belong to such a big club and it's where I want to be," said Grujic.

"If I play 34 very good games for Hertha, the chance to be a true Liverpool player next year is great."

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