Saturday 15 December 2018

Liverpool target James Tarkowski or Jamaal Lascelles as part of Jurgen Klopp's four-man summer rebuild

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Miguel Delaney

Jurgen Klopp has identified Burnley's James Tarkowski and Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles as his summer centre-half targets, as he seeks to bolster his Liverpool squad for next season.

The Champions League finalists want to bring in three to four players in the close-season window - including a goalkeeper, likely Jack Butland, and another attacker - but centre-half is again a priority position.

Klopp and the Liverpool transfer committee feel Tarkowski and Lascelles both fit what they want, and the club will try to buy one.

The 25-year-old Tarkowski is another player who has excelled in Sean Dyche's system, while 24-year-old Lascelles has thrived at Newcastle United as they comfortably maintained their Premier League status.

The will to purchase another centre-half is not necessarily to replace Dejan Lovren or anyone else alongside Virgil van Dijk, but to increase the depth of squad quality, especially given how physically stretched they were in the run to the Champions League final.

Meanwhile Liverpool have been boosted by the news that James Milner and Emre Can both featured in an open training session at Anfield on Monday.

Milner missed the final Premier League game of the season against Brighton with a muscle problem, while fellow midfielder Can has been out since March with a back injury.

The potential availability of both would increase manager Klopp's options for Saturday's showpiece against Real Madrid in Kiev.

Joe Gomez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip have already been ruled out of contention.

Liverpool spent part of last week at a training camp in Marbella, but have now returned to Merseyside before travelling to Ukraine later this week.

Emre Can has been sidelined for the past two months with a back problem, but Klopp feels the midfielder is on the right track and says he is "desperate" to feature this weekend.

"Ten days ago I didn't think he could do what he did today," said Klopp, whose side trained on Monday morning. "He is desperate to play."

Can is out of contract at the end of next month and has been linked with a move to Juventus.

On the player's future, Klopp said: "I have absolutely no idea."

Klopp continued: "We feel really good. It has been a very exciting journey so far. Now we want to bring it to the best possible end."

Klopp accepted Real head into the clash with the advantage of more experience, but backed his side to handle the occasion.

"They are more experienced - that is a fact," the German said.

"Experience is important in life but it is not the only thing. You can level it with desire, attitude and work-rate. and that is why I love football."

Who is your sportstar of the year?

Vote in the Irish Independent Sport Star Awards and you could win the ultimate sports prize.

Prizes include, a trip to Old Trafford to watch Man United take on Liverpool in the Premier League, tickets to Ireland's home games in the Six Nations, All Ireland football and hurling final tickets and much more.

Simply click here to register your vote

Independent News Service

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport