Liverpool star Klopp refused to turn to becomes subject of Old Firm transfer battle between Rangers, Celtic

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Jurgen Klopp, October 2022 Credit: Alamy
Jurgen Klopp, October 2022 Credit: Alamy

Loaned-out Liverpool midfielder Leighton Clarkson has reportedly become a target for Rangers or Celtic after his loan spell with Aberdeen.

Clarkson has enjoyed a much more productive time with Aberdeen this season than he did with Blackburn Rovers the year before. In fact, his form in Scotland has caught the attention of Glasgow’s two biggest clubs.

According to a report on Football Insider, Old Firm rivals Rangers and Celtic are showing an interest in signing Clarkson in the summer.

Alternatively, Aberdeen are ‘determined’ to retain the 21-year-old on a permanent basis by buying him from Liverpool. What the asking price will be for the Liverpool academy graduate is not yet clear.

Clarkson has been keen on making the grade with his parent club before, but back in February, it was mentioned in a report from the Press and Journal that Jurgen Klopp had decided against activating a clause that would have enabled him to recall the midfielder.

Either the manager felt it was best for Clarkson’s progress not to be disrupted, or the youngster had failed to change the manager’s mind while Liverpool’s own midfield was encountering difficulties.

Previously, Klopp handed Clarkson his senior Liverpool debut in an EFL Cup match in December 2019. He has also deployed him once each in the FA Cup and Champions League, but never in the Premier League.

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This season, Clarkson – who two years ago was one of the subjects of our The Scout feature – has made 33 appearances in all competitions for Aberdeen. In the process, he has scored five goals and added eight assists.

Across the spells of managers Jim Goodwin and Barry Robson, Clarkson has been deployed in a range of midfield roles, either defensively, more advanced or balanced between the two.

Clarkson could be left behind in Liverpool rebuild

Liverpool are ready to evolve their own midfield this summer and are looking for players with various characteristics. After all, they could be cutting ties with James Milner, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Arthur Melo.

But if Klopp cannot find a place for Clarkson amid his overhaul – after showing more faith in the likes of Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott as youthful midfield options – it might be best for the Blackburn-born star to stay north of the border.

If he joins Rangers, against whom he scored in December, he would be reuniting with Michael Beale, who shared time with Clarkson while working in the Liverpool academy.

But arch-rivals Celtic are also said to be major admirers of how Clarkson has performed this season. His temporary side are below only the Bhoys and the Gers in the Scottish Premiership table at present.

Yet Clarkson could have the opportunity to compete for Champions League involvement with either league leaders Celtic or second-placed Rangers next season.

Back closer to home, Liverpool look likely to miss out on participation in Europe’s top tournament after an inconsistent season. However, they are now on course to qualify for the Europa League at least.

READ MORE: Second source confirms Liverpool pursuing €30m deal for midfielder who was a ‘laughing stock’ in first Prem stint

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