Commitment key for Reds

Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Manchester City during their ICC match last week. The winger still has three years remaining on his contract, but manager Jurgen Klopp is keen for him to follow Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and finalise a
Liverpool's Sadio Mane in action against Manchester City during their ICC match last week. The winger still has three years remaining on his contract, but manager Jurgen Klopp is keen for him to follow Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino and finalise a new long-term deal with the club.PHOTO: REUTERS

Klopp eager to leverage increased morale so Mane follows other stars and signs new deal

LONDON • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is hopeful that the optimism surrounding the club will lead to key players, including playmaker Sadio Mane, committing their long-term futures to the English Premier League side.

The Merseyside outfit impressed under Klopp last season with the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Mane spurring the team on to a fourth-placed league finish and the Champions League final, where they lost to Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The club's progress has led to top players, including Salah and Firmino, signing new long-term contracts earlier this year and Klopp is optimistic that Mane will do the same.

"When I speak about the good mood in the club, that is not only in the stands. We are Liverpool as a team and the boys want to be part of it," Klopp told British media.

"That's really cool and it's a big achievement for the club because these boys, Bobby Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane, and a lot of the others as well, could play for pretty much any team in the world.

"It is an improved situation that these players don't use us and then go. It's cool but now we all together have to deliver. Sign your contracts but now, go again - play and fight, run and shoot, all that stuff."

Salah and Firmino signed new five-year contracts that have doubled their salaries and the club are in regular dialogue with Mane's representatives about the Senegal international following suit.

TEAM SPIRIT

It is an improved situation that these players don't use us and then go. Now we all together have to deliver. Sign your contracts but now, go again - play and fight, run and shoot, all that stuff.

JURGEN KLOPP, on why keeping his stars is a major long-term priority.

The 26-year-old has three years remaining on the contract he signed when joining Liverpool from Southampton in 2016 but Anfield officials want to reward the striker's progress in line with Klopp's stance on Salah and Firmino.

Klopp has also said that there will be no more additions before the transfer deadline on Aug 9 despite having lined up a £53 million (S$94.6 million) move for Nabil Fekir earlier in the summer.

The Lyon captain, whose proposed deal fell through on medical grounds, was earmarked as another creative option following Philippe Coutinho's departure to Barcelona in January.

Klopp believes Liverpool's four signings - Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri - in the current transfer window are sufficient.

"We don't need to replace Phil. We need to make a squad for the next year," he said.

"Out there on the market... there are a lot of good players and we have brought a few of them in."

While all is looking good on Merseyside, the same cannot be said for rivals Manchester United, who are struggling with their pre-season preparations.

United manager Jose Mourinho is without 17 senior players who are either injured or on their post-World Cup breaks.

But the Portuguese has said that he is confident the club will sign at least one more player before the transfer window closes. United are closely linked to Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire.

"I am confident I will get one, but I think two I am not going to get which is not a drama," Mourinho told beIN Sports.

"In every pre-season it happens the same with every club which is the manager wants more. But then club decisions are different so if I get one player until the end of the market, that's fine."

Mourinho had expressed his frustration on multiple occasions throughout the club's US tour but goalkeeper Lee Grant has dismissed the notion that the manager is unhappy with the squad.

"From what we're getting from the inside, it (the atmosphere around the camp) has been nothing but positive," new signing Grant told Sky Sports.

"The messages we are getting from the manager are positive ones."

REUTERS, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 01, 2018, with the headline 'Commitment key for Reds'. Print Edition | Subscribe