Klopp claims Liverpool have ‘absolutely no chance’ of signing Mbappé from PSG
Guardiola says he has no reservations about goalkeeper Bravo as he replaces the injured Ederson for match against Liverpool
Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola of Manchester City. Liverpool can establish a nine-point lead over City on Sunday, but Klopp says the title race is too early to call regardless of the outcome. Photographs: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
The Liverpool manager believes his team’s status as European champions and Premier League title contenders has made Anfield a desired destination for the game’s leading players. Klopp also admits there are no sporting reasons not to want Mbappé, a player he was interested in when the striker left Monaco in 2017.
Klopp met family members of the France international in an attempt to convince the forward to sign for Liverpool two years ago, but he preferred to stay in France and joined PSG on loan before a £160 million transfer.
Liverpool’s interest, their impending kit deal with Nike, who also sponsor the PSG striker, and a lack of signings in the summer have all fuelled rumours of an astronomical bid next year and a #Mbappe2020 social media campaign.
However, Klopp, who rarely discusses possible transfers, insists Liverpool cannot afford the 20-year-old Mbappé.
“Buying this calibre of player is difficult. I don’t see any club at the moment who can buy Mbappé from PSG. I don’t see any club, that is how it is. And we are involved in the clubs that cannot do it. It is as easy as that.
“Okay, from a sporting point of view there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him. What a player he is. But it is about the money, of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance. Sorry for killing that story.”
Jadon Sancho is a potential Liverpool target, and the Borussia Dortmund winger is friends with several fellow England internationals at Anfield. Speaking generally, the Liverpool manager believes his club is in an excellent position to attract targets.
“I don’t think we struggle with convincing players. When you speak to a player you can feel it, this year, last year, even three years ago, you can see in the eyes of a player, I am not sure if honour is the right word, that it is good that we speak to them.
“The club is in a very good position. Image-wise, it maybe always was, but now I think it is easier to live the life of a Liverpool supporter and that means automatically being in a situation to sign the players you want to sign.”
Liverpool can establish a nine-point lead over Manchester City on Sunday, but Klopp said the title race was too early to call regardless of the outcome.
“It could be three, six or nine [points difference], whatever; none of these facts make it finished at this moment. Yes, it is important and we want to win it, but is it because we think if we win we are already champions? No. If we lose do we think we have no chance anymore? No.”
Meanwhile, Pep Guardiola has demanded respect for Claudio Bravo’s record at Manchester City before the goalkeeper replaces the injured Ederson at Liverpool on Sunday.
Ederson is ruled out by the muscular problem he sustained against Atalanta in midweek. Bravo lost his status as the No 1 to Ederson after a disastrous 2016-17 season, prompted Guardiola to buy the Brazilian.
Bravo has not made a Premier League start since May 2018 at Southampton, an effectively dead game as City were already champions. Yet Guardiola, reminded of how he removed Bravo for Ederson, said: “Why should I doubt any player in my team? Why do you ask these questions? You have to respect this guy – he has won trophies and the Copa América.
“Bravo can do it, of course. We won the Carabao Cup with him, he’s an exceptional keeper, played a lot of games with his national team.”
Although Bravo was in the side who beat Arsenal in the 2018 Carabao Cup final, he was dropped for Ederson for last season’s triumph over Chelsea.
Guardiola, though, has no reservations about him. “Why would I have doubts because a player does not play regularly? I’d not want to be a player who was doubted by his manager. I’ve seen him in training and I know how fired up he is and how good he is. We are not going to lose because of Claudio.”
Bravo came on at half-time against Atalanta but was sent off on 81 minutes.
“The red card was because we lost the ball in a dangerous position,” Guardiola said. “In the first season when he was a little bit struggling in the Premier League it was because he comes here and the team was not at top level. The problem was not Claudio. It is easy to point that he is the problem.
“It’s a team game and sometimes you make a mistake; sometimes you make a good save and sometimes not. But why should I not have any confidence with one player in my team? He wouldn’t be here otherwise.”
“Ask the managers [or ask] my players as what I tell them when I prepare a game. So, no comment. I know exactly what I said to my players in the last 11 years about what we have to do.”
If City lose to Liverpool the champions will be nine points behind, but Guardiola said: “What happens if we win? I think in November [the title] never ends. I know people will say if we lose it’s over, but there will be a lot of games to play and I want to fight until the end. They’re not going to lose many but the season is long and a lot of situations can happen.”
City have voiced concerns to Liverpool regarding a possible repeat of the attack on the team coach on the way to Anfield for the Champions League quarter-final first-leg game in April 2018. Guardiola claimed Merseyside police knew then what could happen yet failed to act.
“Hopefully it will not happen again. The police knew it and didn’t do anything. I don’t know what they are going to do.
“Hopefully it will be an incredible game for the Premier League and all around the world. Hopefully it will not happen the same that happened two seasons ago when we arrive at Anfield.
“I didn’t like the bus incident but inside the stadium when the Liverpool fans support, it’s perfect, lovely – that’s why we’re involved in the sport. The stadium, the history speaks for itself.”