Liverpool ‘in negotiations’ as Bundesliga captain eyed to replace star Klopp loves, with Jorg Schmadtke influence clear
Liverpool could complete a double Bundesliga raid this summer after identifying a club captain as the perfect replacement for one of Jurgen Klopp’s favourite players, with a move for a new sporting director also in their sights.
Liverpool continued their late charge for Champions League qualification by picking up a comfortable 3-0 away win over Leicester City on Monday night. The Reds took the lead in the 33rd minute when Wout Faes failed to deal with a long ball from Alisson, allowing Mo Salah to pick out Curtis Jones at the back post and the midfielder to finish.
Jones doubled Liverpool’s lead just a few minutes later by firing a brilliant half volley into the far corner on his right foot.
Leicester goalkeeper Daniel Iversen then did well to stop Cody Gakpo from scoring as Liverpool ran rampant at the King Power.
In the second half, Leicester had a rare opportunity when a good Harvey Barnes strike forced Alisson into an acrobatic save. But it was Liverpool who scored next, as Trent Alexander-Arnold netted an absolute screamer of a free-kick.
Salah should have made it 4-0 after being played through on goal, only to send his shot wide. Nevertheless, Liverpool will be extremely happy with the victory as it keeps them just one point behind fourth-placed Manchester United, having played an extra game.
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There will be big changes at Anfield this summer regardless of how the season ends for Liverpool. Klopp will be handed at least two new midfielders, with Alexis Mac Allister likely to be the first to join.
Liverpool must also bring in a new sporting director as Julian Ward has revealed he will leave the club at the end of the campaign. That is despite Ward only replacing Michael Edwards in the role last summer.
Liverpool want Jorg Schmadtke, who in turn identifies target
Liverpool have set their sights on Jorg Schmadtke as Ward’s replacement. He retired from his role as Wolfsburg’s managing director in January. However, he could achieve a quick return to the sport by becoming Liverpool’s new transfer chief.
German outlet Bild report that Liverpool are ‘in negotiations’ to bring Schmadtke in. The German has extensive connections in the Bundesliga following spells at Hannover, Koln and Wolfsburg. This has led to speculation Liverpool might sign a few players from the league this summer, although Jude Bellingham is unlikely to be among them.
The report claims Schmadtke has told Liverpool his first signing for them would be goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler. Schmadtke actually signed the shot-stopper for Hannover from Man Utd back in 2010.
Zieler is in his second spell for Hannover. Overall, he has made 312 appearances for the club, keeping 75 clean sheets. He is currently their captain due to his vast experience.
But Liverpool will be in need of a new keeper if Caoimhin Kelleher departs. The 24-year-old wants to establish himself as a first-choice keeper elsewhere after playing second fiddle to Alisson for too long.
Klopp loves Kelleher after his penalty shoot-out heroics in a Liverpool shirt, but he will struggle to stop the Irishman from leaving. Schmadtke believes Zieler would be an excellent backup for Alisson though, handing Liverpool an immediate solution.
As Zieler is 34 years old and has just one year left on his Hannover contract, he should not cost much to sign. Indeed, Transfermarkt put his value at just €700,000 (£610k).
Liverpool supporters may be concerned about their team replacing Kelleher with a keeper who is 10 years older and much closer to retirement. However, keepers often retire later than players and therefore the Merseyside giants could get four seasons out of Zieler before he hangs up his gloves.
This means it would be at least three years before Liverpool need to identify a new keeper who can provide backup for Alisson.
Meanwhile, West Ham have come up with an excellent scheme to copy Liverpool’s success, with one senior man needing ‘help’.
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