Fabinho will definitely be back available for Liverpool's Champions League final against Real Madrid, manager Jurgen Klopp has said.

The Reds were dealt a huge blow ahead of Saturday's FA Cup final against Chelsea with the news that the Brazil international has been ruled out with a muscular injury.

Fabinho was forced off during the first half of Tuesday's 2-1 win over Aston Villa and will not return in time for this weekend's trip to Wembley.

However, providing a further update at his pre-Chelsea news conference on Friday, Klopp confirmed the 28-year-old will be available to face Madrid in Paris on May 28.

"He will definitely be back for the Champions League final," Klopp said. "Whether he will play before that, we don't yet know.

"Fab is a professional. He was obviously not happy about missing the Chelsea match, but he took it and is already taking on the fight against time, if you want. That's how it is.

“It is not enough if you are ready on Friday before the final, it should be Tuesday or Wednesday or something like that and we are working on that.

"We are all very positive that it will be the case. So he is absolutely OK."

Liverpool have lost just three of the 47 games that Fabinho has played in this season, conceding 0.7 goals per game compared to 0.9 in the 12 matches he has not featured.

Jordan Henderson is likely to return to central midfield alongside Naby Keita and Thiago Alcantara for the clash with Chelsea, and Klopp has full confidence others can step up.

"If all the other boys didn't show the attitude they have had in training all season, we'd have had no chance this season," he said. That's been very important."

Liverpool are competing in their first FA Cup final since 2011-12 when losing 2-1 to Chelsea, with the most recent of their seven triumphs in the competition coming in 2006.

The Reds have already lifted one cup at the national stadium this year, though, having overcome Chelsea on penalties following a goalless draw in February's EFL Cup final.

Klopp's side are therefore looking to win both of England's domestic cup competitions in the same season for the first time since 2000-01, when also winning the UEFA Cup.

"We didn't 'beat' Chelsea. We won the penalty shoot-out," Klopp said. "I've said a few times, without luck you have no chance, and luck was on our side that day.

"It was a tough, tight game and we know how good Chelsea are and we expect another tough game.

"Both teams will go for all they have. That's what I expect from Chelsea and that's what I especially expect from us this time.

"It's the biggest domestic cup competition in the world. I haven't watched 20 FA Cup finals but I don't think that's necessary to understand how big it is.

"We are really looking forward to this opportunity. The boys worked their socks off to arrive here, with all the different challenges over the year.

"It's now a massive final for us and I'm really happy we are part of it. We always gave our all to arrive to the final [in previous years], we just didn't make it."

The three previous meetings between Liverpool and Chelsea this season have finished level and Klopp is anticipating another tight contest against Thomas Tuchel's side.

"Chelsea are a really well-coached team. They have a similar system to others but a different level," he said.

"They have an idea for all areas. They're organised defensively and offensively, with incredible talent. We have no idea how Thomas will line up. There are so many options."

We are at the penultimate gameweek of the Premier League fantasy football season and a slab of fixtures means double matches for Aston Villa, Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Burnley and Everton.

Balancing between premium players and those who can provide particular value could be the difference at this time of the season, whether you need to consolidate or make up ground.

Stats Perform has you covered with some Opta-powered recommendations below, so here are our suggestions for this week's picks.

ROBERT SANCHEZ (Leeds United v Brighton and Hove Albion)

While only one of these teams will have something significant to play for, Brighton come to Elland Road in good form, winning four of their past six Premier League matches.

Brighton shot-stopper Sanchez has claimed more clean sheets this season (11) than over the previous term (10), with shutouts achieved in Brighton's past two matches.

The 24-year-old has been a big contributor in that regard, with a save rate of 68.4 per cent from shots in the penalty area, trailing only Alisson, Jose Sa and David Raya.

TRENT ALEXANDER-ARNOLD (Southampton v Liverpool)

Setting aside Saturday's FA Cup final on Saturday, Liverpool need to win to keep their Premier League hopes alive, and they will likely have the majority of the ball against Southampton on Tuesday. Expect crosses and dead balls.

Alexander-Arnold has been involved in more goals among defenders than any other in the Premier League this season, with 12 assists among 14 goal involvements.

While the Reds right-back trails Reece James (1.92) from chances created in open play per 90 minutes (1.53) this term, among defenders he leads the competition for chances created per 90 overall with 2.74.

SON HEUNG-MIN (Tottenham v Burnley)

Seeking to back up Thursday's critical win over arch rivals Arsenal, there can be no let-up from Tottenham in the race for the final Champions League spot.

Spurs have leaned on Son for goals this season and he has obliged, already beating his best tally for goal involvements in a single Premier League season of 27, with 28 for the term so far. 

The 29-year-old has 21 goals, only trailing Mohamed Salah's 22. Among players with 10 or more goals, Son leads the competition for shot conversion at 27.3 per cent. His seven assists have also come in handy.

DANNY INGS (Aston Villa v Crystal Palace, Burnley)

Aston Villa's next two opponents are Crystal Palace and Burnley, against whom Ings has scored a combined nine goals.

With five goal involvements (goals and assists) against both clubs respectively, Ings has only had more goal involvements against Everton (eight) and Norwich City (six) in the Premier League.

The 29-year-old has the most goal involvements for Villa this season, with seven goals and six assists.

Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah did not mince his words when defending his place as he declared he is the best player in the world in his position.

The Egypt international is on track to win the Premier League Golden Boot, while also boasting the highest assist tally in the top flight, being directly involved in 35 goals from his 34 appearances.

Salah was recently named the Football Writers' Association Player of the Year in England, and has a chance to make history with this Liverpool team as they have won the EFL Cup, and are still in the hunt for the Premier League title, FA Cup and Champions League.

Speaking to beIN SPORTS, Salah was adamant that there is no forward in world football scaling his heights.

"If you compare me with any player in my position, not only in my team but in the world, you will find that I am the best," he said.

"I always focus on my work and do my best, and my numbers are the best proof of my words.

"I like to always create a new challenge for me, to work in a different way and to make a difference, and that is my duty."

Ahead of Liverpool's Champions League final against Real Madrid – which is a rematch from the 2018 final, when the Spaniards won 3-1 – Salah called it "revenge time".

"Yeah – when we lost in the final, it was a sad day for all of us," he said. "But, yes, I think it's revenge time."

Fabinho has been ruled out of Saturday's FA Cup final, but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hopes the midfielder will return before the end of the season.

Brazil international Fabinho was forced off during the first half of Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday.

It was subsequently confirmed that the 28-year-old had sustained a muscle problem and Klopp has confirmed he will not feature against Chelsea at Wembley.

However, Klopp is confident that Fabinho will make his comeback in time to play against Real Madrid in the Champions League final on May 28.

"There's a good chance that he will be available for the Champions League final," Klopp told Liverpool's official website. "Not for the weekend."

Liverpool trail Manchester City by three points in the Premier League, with two games remaining. They face Southampton next week and host Wolves in the final fixture of the campaign.

Former Liverpool defender Jose Enrique believes Romelu Lukaku could be an "unstoppable" threat in the FA Cup final but questioned the desire of the Chelsea striker.

Lukaku has found some form in the past week, scoring twice in the draw with Wolves and once in the 3-0 win at Leeds United.

However, the flurry followed a 10-game run without a goal in the Premier League for the former Inter and Manchester United striker.

Enrique has not been impressed by Lukaku in the first season of his second spell as a Chelsea player, and expressed amazement at how he handled himself late last year.

That was when Lukaku made clear his unhappiness at Chelsea in an interview with Sky Sport Italia, complaining about his role in Thomas Tuchel's team.

In an interview with Stats Perform, Enrique questioned whether head coach Tuchel had been behind the decision to sign Lukaku last August, or whether it was taken above his head.

"Obviously it was a wrong decision because of what Lukaku did in January," said Enrique.

A laughing Enrique added: "I don't really understand what he's done, to be honest with you.

"Obviously he doesn't like to run, either, another comparison with [Paul] Pogba at [Manchester] United is this kind of profile.

"Ability-wise, I love Lukaku; he has everything. I think he's a top, top world-class player that whenever he wants to have his game he's nearly unstoppable, but he just doesn't want to be there.

"That's why that signing maybe actually doesn't make them get where they want to be. They are not fighting for anything except the FA Cup now."

Enrique was speaking before Lukaku's sudden burst of form, yet a return of just eight goals in this Premier League campaign has fallen well short of expectations for the Belgium striker.

Saturday's Wembley clash is a repeat of the EFL Cup final that Liverpool won 11-10 on penalties in February when Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga missed from the spot.

It also comes 10 years after Liverpool were beaten 2-1 by Chelsea in the FA Cup final, with Enrique on the beaten side that day.

He still believes Liverpool were unfairly denied a second goal on that day, when Andy Carroll's header, touched onto the crossbar by Petr Cech, went close to crossing the line.

Television evidence was inconclusive, but Enrique believes modern-day technology would have given Liverpool an equaliser.

"I hope Liverpool get their revenge because I lost it 10 years ago against them," Enrique said. "I believe we should have got a goal with the head from Andy Carroll. In the modern game it would have been a goal in my opinion."

Looking ahead to the rematch, Enrique, who retired due to a knee injury almost five years ago, said Liverpool cannot afford to let their standards dip.

"If Liverpool perform as they have been doing, I believe Liverpool are the favourites if you ask anybody," he said. "But being the favourites doesn't mean you're going to win it. They need to be careful because it's one game and you can have a bad game and you lose it."

Thiago Alcantara is "excited" at the prospect of playing in the FA Cup final against Chelsea, having narrowly missed out on appearing in Liverpool's previous showpiece game this season.

The Spain international was named in the starting line-up for the EFL Cup final in February, also against Chelsea, but had to pull out after injuring his hamstring in the warm-up.

Thiago could be seen in tears on the substitutes' bench, though was in a better mood later on as he watched his team-mates triumph 11-10 on penalties at Wembley.

Speaking to Liverpool's official website ahead of Saturday's clash, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich playmaker explained why he got so emotional that day, and what it meant to the players to lift a trophy after a difficult previous season.

"We fought a lot to arrive in that moment, that you can play in a final, and then suddenly because I had a bad thing, a bad neck problem and it caused just like a chain of movement that in the end caused me an injury in the hamstring," he said.

"It's a moment where you are just frustrated. You just calm down a bit, you try to be cold enough to face the final. It was as it was. 

"We won it and, for sure, it's bittersweet that you don't play that game, but you're happy for the team.

"Lifting a trophy is a special moment but it was more for the frustrating situation that everybody had the last few years. It was because of what we have been through and was a kind of celebration of overcoming that situation."

 

Liverpool have not won the FA Cup since 2006, and this will be their first final since 2012, when they lost 2-1 to Chelsea.

Thiago is excited for the occasion, which will be the 150th FA Cup final, and though he played in the semi-final victory against Manchester City at Wembley, the 31-year-old is looking forward to now being able to play in a final at the world-famous stadium.

"We came from other countries – not just me but other players – and just met this amazing competition, the oldest in the world," he added.

"We are really excited to play – not just the competition itself but a final. We're ready for it. 

"It doesn't matter if we didn't win [it] before or for a long time. It's just about a trophy that we can win and we add in our backpack this new challenge. We're looking forward to it. 

"Wembley is an amazing stadium. It's special itself but then you know that Wembley is used for special moments. There's different context and we're ready to go to London."

The Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool will be refereed by Clement Turpin, UEFA has announced.

Liverpool overcame Villarreal in the semi-finals, while Madrid edged past Manchester City in dramatic fashion to reach the showpiece of UEFA's flagship club competition in Paris on May 28.

Turpin, who has been an international referee since 2010, will officiate his first Champions League final.

The Frenchman previously served as fourth official in the 2018 showpiece in Kyiv, where Madrid defeated Liverpool 3-1.

Turpin, who refereed last season's Europa League final in which Villarreal defeated Manchester United on penalties, will be joined by compatriots Nicolas Danos and Cyril Gringore as his assistants.

Continuing with the French theme, Benoit Bastien will be fourth official and Jerome Brisard will lead the VAR team, which also includes Frenchman Willy Delajod and two Italians, Massimiliano Irrati and Filippo Meli.

In the Europa League final between Rangers and Eintracht Frankfurt in Seville on May 18, Slovenian Slavko Vincic will be the man in the middle with compatriots Tomaz Klancnik and Andraz Kovacic on the line.

Meanwhile, Romanian Istvan Kovacs will take charge of his first UEFA club competition final when he officiates the Europa Conference League final, which sees Roma face Feyenoord at Arena Kombtare in Albania on May 25.

Kovacs will be joined by fellow countrymen Vasile Florin Marinescu and Mihai-Ovidiu Artene.

Palmeiras midfielder Danilo has been granted his first call-up to the Brazil squad, while Tite selected Fabinho for the upcoming friendlies in June despite injury concerns over the Liverpool star.

Brazil announced a 27-man squad on Wednesday for friendlies against Korea Republic, Japan and South American rivals Argentina next month.

Fabinho is one of 13 Premier League players called up, despite the midfielder limping off in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday after suffering a muscle injury.

Reports suggest Fabinho will miss the upcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea, along with league games against Wolves and Southampton, as he faces a race against the clock to feature in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 as Liverpool hunt an unprecedented quadruple.

Fellow midfielder Danilo was the other notable inclusion by Tite, with the Palmeiras man earning his maiden call-up after impressing at the Club World Cup, where his side were defeated in the final by Chelsea.

On Danilo's inclusion, Tite told reporters: "Danilo is one of those players that we have been following, we are always attentive to players that are emerging. 

"Danilo played well at the Club World Cup in games that we followed live and made visits to the club. We were looking at a series of things on how he performs so we could justify his selection."

Fabinho's Liverpool team-mate Alisson also made the list, along with fellow goalkeeper Ederson, while Manchester United duo Alex Telles and Fred were named alongside Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes was again selected by Tite and will look to add to his six caps, but there was no room for Magpies team-mate Joelinton, who has impressed since dropping into midfield under Eddie Howe.

Casemiro could partner Guimaraes in the middle alongside Lyon's Lucas Paqueta, while Weverton and Guilherme Arana were the only other two players to feature from Brazil's domestic league.

Tite will have vast experience in the backline to call upon as well, with the likes of Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos to select from.

Up top, Gabriel Jesus will look to carry over his scoring form from his exploits with Manchester City, with Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid's Champions League hero Rodrygo part of a star-studded attacking line-up.

The upcoming friendlies are part of Brazil's penultimate preparations for the 2022 World Cup, where Tite's side are placed in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Danilo (Juventus), Guilherme Arana (Atletico-MG), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Danilo (Palmeiras), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon) and Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphinha (Leeds), Richarlison (Everton), Rodrygo (Real Madrid) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Aleksander Ceferin has defended UEFA's allocation of Champions League final tickets following criticism from Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp.

The Stade de France has a capacity of 75,000, but less than 20,000 tickets apiece will be allocated to Reds and Real Madrid fans for the showdown on May 28.

Liverpool manager Klopp made his feelings about that perfectly clear after his side beat Villarreal at the semi-final stage.

He said: "It is absolutely not right, but it happens everywhere. It doesn't make it better, just in this specific case you are not only paying more than last time for a ticket, but you only get 50 per cent of the tickets and the rest goes to people who pay thousands and thousands for the tickets."

Klopp added: "When you see the ticket prices and all this kind of stuff, the amount of tickets you get only... did I read, is it right that we only get 20,000, they get 20,000, [but] 75,000 in? That makes 35,000, what? Where are these tickets?

"I cannot be more appreciative, more thankful for what [the fans] are doing. Unbelievable... It is the only bad thing about the journey [fans struggling to obtain tickets]. I really hope they all can make it somehow and can create an incredible atmosphere.

"That is what I love about this game, really. The world will be red or white, but everybody will be either or, so that's really cool."

UEFA president Ceferin responded by stating that the system works.

He said: I explained the same thing to one of the coaches of the two teams [Liverpool and Madrid] a couple of days ago and I can do it here. I explained it to him a bit more and took much more time because I went through every single number.

"From the revenues from the finals, UEFA gets 6.5 per cent and 93.5 per cent goes to the clubs. From the other matches 100 per cent of the revenues goes to the clubs.

"Fans of both teams get 20,000 tickets each. If sponsors that pay 100 or more million euros sponsorship – of which 93.5 per cent goes to the same clubs – get some tickets, it's part of a contractual obligation that we have.

"UEFA doesn't get more tickets than the others. Some tickets go to the market, some tickets go to the fans and some go to the partners. It's not UEFA. I'm not giving tickets for free to my friends or selling to my friends.

"It's the system that works, and clubs couldn't function differently. For us, not much will change if all the tickets will be €10, but it will change a lot for the clubs. A lot."

Ilkay Gundogan will find other ways to keep himself occupied when Liverpool face Real Madrid in the Champions League final as he is still "angry" at Manchester City's exit.

City were eliminated at the semi-final stage last week with a remarkable 6-5 aggregate defeat to Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Last season's beaten finalists, who have yet to win UEFA's showpiece competition, were ahead 5-3 in the tie with less than a minute of normal time remaining in the Spanish capital before Rodrygo scored twice and Karim Benzema netted an extra-time penalty.

And while he openly admits to being obsessed with all things football, Gundogan has no intention of tuning in to watch City's conquerors Madrid take on Liverpool in Paris.

"If I think about the final in Paris then I get very angry," he told the Daily Mail. "Frustrated, disappointed. I'm definitely not going to watch it. 

"I will definitely try to do something else that day. Nothing is going to really help; the only thing that will is time. 

"It's becoming a little bit easier, even though you know – yet again – you've missed a big chance to lift a possible trophy."

He added: "Maybe there's not much we can tell ourselves that we did wrong but at the end of the day, we conceded two goals in two minutes. 

"We were not there when it was necessary and we were not focused enough. It was not enough. That is the blame we give ourselves."

Gundogan, a second-half substitute in the second leg against Madrid, has won eight major trophies with City – but European silverware continues to elude him and the club.

That could soon become nine trophies as City will be crowned Premier League champions for a fourth time in five years if they win their remaining three matches.

City have been pushed all the way by Liverpool, who they have battled it out with for domestic honours over the past few seasons, though the rivalry remains relatively peaceful.

That is a far cry from the days when matters would often boil over both before and after matches between title rivals Manchester United and Arsenal.

Gundogan, who also won the Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund in 2011-12, insists football has moved on in recent years.

"Those kind of rivalries don't really exist anymore in modern football," he said. "For some people who are more old school you know, that might be bad. 

"The game is not like, I don't know, 20-30 years ago, with people on the pitch killing each other and intentionally trying to injure. 

"That's not how we want the game to be. I want fairness. I want respect. Just because there's a rivalry we don't need to kill each other on or off the pitch."

Sadio Mane wants to "enjoy every moment" as Liverpool bid for an unprecedented quadruple despite speculation surrounding his future.

Mane joined Liverpool in 2016 and has gone on to become one of Europe's most dangerous forwards under Jurgen Klopp.

After a dip in form in 2020-21, Mane has scored 15 Premier League goals from 33 appearances this season, leaving him joint-fourth on the top scorers' list in the competition alongside team-mate Diogo Jota. 

Indeed, three of the top five scorers in the competition this season are Liverpool players, with Mohamed Salah (22) leading the way ahead of Tottenham's Son Heung-min (20) and Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo (18).

His latest effort came against Aston Villa on Tuesday, as Liverpool came from behind to beat Steven Gerrard's side and move level on points with leaders Manchester City, albeit having played a game more.

Mane, like Salah, is out of contract at the end of next season, however, and there has been speculation linking him with a move away before the 2022-23 campaign.

Bayern Munich and Barcelona are mooted to hold interest in the 30-year-old, who was asked after Tuesday's win if he had been happier at all during his time at Anfield.

"Yeah, sure, when we won the trophies I think I was [happier]," Mane, who has helped Liverpool win a league title, the Champions League, the FIFA Club World Cup and this season's EFL Cup, told Sky Sports.

"But I think I just try to enjoy every moment and try to score and assist for my team-mates.

"I think it is all about the team or nothing, the boys make it easier for me so I am obviously very happy."

After Mane's winner at Villa Park, Liverpool became just the second team in Premier League history to have three players score at least 15 goals in a single campaign, after Yaya Toure, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko achieved the feat for Manchester City in 2013-14.

Speaking about Mane potentially switching Merseyside for Munich, Sky Sports pundit and former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher said: "When I have watched Liverpool as a fan, Sadio Mane is my favourite player.

"There is just something about Mane. He's sacrificed himself at times and the shift he puts in.

"He, along with Salah, has been doing that for five years, they are never injured! They are there week in, week out for 90 minutes, getting the numbers up there every week. What they have done for this football club is unbelievable.

"I'm a huge fan of Sadio Mane and I can assure you he will be going nowhere because I will not let him go to Bayern Munich, he'd have me to deal with!"

Steven Gerrard wants Jon Moss's officiating in Aston Villa's 2-1 defeat to Liverpool to come under scrutiny and says he is pleased the referee is retiring.

The second-placed Reds moved level on points with Manchester City in the Premier League title with a victory at Villa Park on Tuesday.

Douglas Luiz gave Villa an early lead, but Joel Matip equalised three minutes later and Sadio Mane scored a second-half winner.

Villa manager Gerrard was not impressed with the performance of the experienced Moss, who did not brandish a single yellow card.

Moss will retire at the end of the season and Gerrard could be in hot water after stating that he is happy with the 51-year-old's decision to bring his career to an end. 

When informed Moss is about to retire, Gerrard said in a post-match news conference: "Is he? Good."

Asked about the performance of Moss on Tuesday, the former England midfielder replied: "No comment, I just hope that it’s looked at. That's all I say. I hope it's looked at.

"Have I gone to talk to Jon Moss? No. I just hope his performance is looked at. I don’t want to be sour, Liverpool scored two goals against us and we need to look at that and I don’t want to cover over any cracks."

Sadio Mane has been speculated as a potential Ballon d'Or winner in recent weeks.

And the Liverpool forward is also gathering speculation about his club future.

The 30-year-old helped Senegal win the Africa Cup of Nations in February and has netted 15 goals in Liverpool's Premier League title challenge.

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SWOOP FOR BAYERN TARGET MANE

Barcelona are ready to swoop in to sign Liverpool's Mane amid reported interest from Bayern Munich, Mundo Deportivo claims.

The Senegal international is reportedly interested in a switch and is moving into the final 12 months of his Liverpool contract.

Barcelona have missed out on Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland who will join Manchester City and are determined to land an elite forward this off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich's Serge Gnabry is drawing attention from several clubs, with Real Madrid among the clubs interested, according to Fichajes.

- Newcastle United have made contact with Philippe Coutinho about a move, reports Goal. Coutinho is currently on loan with Aston Villa from Barcelona.

- The Guardian claims that West Ham United are plotting an off-season move for Aston Villa's Ollie Watkins. Villa would demand a £50m fee for the forward.

- Manchester United and Newcastle are both interested in signing Napoli's Victor Osimhen, claims Calciomercato. Napoli want 100m euros (£85.5m) for the Nigerian forward.

- Super Deporte claims that Sevilla are interested in a transfer for Arsenal's Nicolas Pepe.

Jurgen Klopp believes despite Erling Haaland's individual quality, Manchester City will improve him and not the other way around.

Liverpool's Premier League title rivals confirmed on Tuesday they have reached an agreement in principle with Borussia Dortmund for Haaland's transfer.

The 21-year-old has scored 28 goals in 29 appearances for Dortmund this year and will be expected to fill the void up front for City, who were strongly linked with Harry Kane last year.

Klopp was quick to suggest that while Haaland is an undeniable talent, the nature of City's play under Pep Guardiola means they are more likely to transform the Norwegian striker than adjust to him.

"City was never and will never be a team that wins games because of one player," Klopp told reporters after seeing his Liverpool team beat Aston Villa 2-1 on Tuesday.

"There's a specific way to play, and I think Erling will realise he will score a lot of goals on the second post if he just puts a foot onto it.

"He will love that, and now we have other situations where he's a real beast. He was now injured a couple of times at Dortmund but when he's a fit he's a real beast. Unfortunately, a really good signing."

Liverpool momentarily moved level on points with City atop the Premier League following their triumph at Villa Park, but the defending champions play their game in hand against Wolves on Wednesday.

Jurgen Klopp labelled Sadio Mane "a machine" after the Senegal forward kept Liverpool's title hopes alive with the winning goal in Tuesday's 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

Liverpool were aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of dropping points in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Saturday, a stalemate that allowed Manchester City to move three clear at the summit.

The Reds then appeared to be in danger of seeing City climb even further ahead when Douglas Luiz put Villa in front in the third minute at Villa Park.

Joel Matip quickly restored parity and Mane got the decisive goal just past the hour, awkwardly rotating his body to meet Luis Diaz's cross and plant a header in the bottom-right corner.

That was Mane's 15th Premier League goal of the season, which have come every 182.3 minutes on average, making Liverpool just the second team in Premier League history to have three players (Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah) reach that figure in a single season.

But it was more than just the goal that impressed Klopp. No player on the pitch engaged in more duels than Mane (16), and his manager wanted to commend the all-round work rate on display.

"He's a machine, I told him after the game," Klopp told Sky Sports. "He is a massive player, massive player. His physicality is brutal.

"He is a mix of technique, desire and physicality when at the moment everyone has a few yards in the legs – you can't see it [fatigue] with him, to be honest.

"Top goal, he is just a fantastic, world-class player."

On the goal, Klopp added to BBC Sport: "The whole situation was class. It was top class. Luis crossing in a moment when nobody expected it apart from Sadio.

"We did not have time to train and work on it, and I am happy in this moment he pretended to shoot and crossed.

"It is difficult for the goalie and all of a sudden he puts his head there, and it is nice and soft, but it was a goal."

The result lifted Liverpool back level with City on points, but Pep Guardiola's men play their game in hand on Wednesday against a Wolves side who have lost three of their previous four games.

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