Liverpool Transfer Centre takeover Q&A - Vinny O'Connor on Timo Werner, Bukayo Saka and more

Werner, Willian, Saka, Karius among those mentioned in Transfer Centre Q&A

Jurgen Klopp

How likely is it Liverpool will sign Timo Werner? Where else does Jurgen Klopp want to strengthen? And who could leave Anfield?

Sky Sports News' man at Liverpool Vinny O'Connor joined us for a special Transfer Centre takeover on Friday, answering all of your questions on the potential business at Anfield over the coming six months to a year...

How likely is the signing of Timo Werner? - @WolffEden

Timo Werner
Image: Could Timo Werner be the next in the door at Anfield?

From what we have been hearing, even going back to the January transfer window, this one is very unlikely. During the last window I was told Liverpool had no plans to sign him then and no plans to sign him in the summer and recently that message was repeated with regards to when the next window opens.

There has always been the caveat that Liverpool would be silly not to keep tabs on one of European football's hottest properties. Judging by the talk from Werner himself, it's a move he clearly fancies. But, with a settled front three, a role to be found for Takumi Minamino, who can operate in the front three or in midfield, a move for Werner possibly does not make sense for Liverpool at this time and that's why the noises coming out of Anfield are that this one is not going to happen.

Any chance of a cover left-back? - @lfcdommy

Image: Will Liverpool look for back-up to Andrew Robertson?

Following on from the previous question, I did believe that this was something Liverpool were looking at. However, when I think about it, is there as desperate a need to bring in another option just now?

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As was rightly pointed out to me, James Milner is still going strong at 34 and has proved to be a more than capable stand-in for Andy Robertson. Joe Gomez is another who can deputise there should the need arise as well.

I understand that many will look at it and say, yes, but they are not naturals in that position, so that brings me to my next option, Yasser Larouci.

At 19 years of age, the converted winger is an exciting prospect. He only started to learn the position in the summer of 2018. Last summer he played against Tranmere in the pre-season friendly at Prenton Park and headed off on the US tour, where he was stretchered off against Sevilla after a challenge by Joris Gnagnon, who was shown a red card. He made his competitive debut as a substitute in the FA Cup win over Everton before starting in the next round against Shrewsbury.

Now the opportunity appears to be there for him to be that competition for Andy Robertson. If Liverpool are true to what's been said and do not bring anyone in this summer, it's an indication of what Jurgen Klopp thinks of Larouci's potential.

Liverpool spent nothing last year, do you expect them to spend this summer? And if so, who would you say is likely? - @RCubbon

Jurgen Klopp 1:01
Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor discusses whether Liverpool will be in the market for new players in the next transfer window

Any truth in the Willian talks? Or Saka interest? - @Hendos_LFC

Bukayo Saka
Image: Arsenal's Bukayo Saka fits Liverpool's recruitment profile

I was told categorically that there is no truth whatsoever in the Willian talks, that there is ZERO interest in signing him. That makes sense given he's now 31 and does not really fit with Liverpool's recruitment model, even taking into account his availability on a free.

Saka, on the other hand, does fit Liverpool's recruitment model. Eighteen, already impressed in the Premier League, the likelihood is his value will rise, so it makes sense for Liverpool to be looking at that kind of player particularly given he's only contracted to Arsenal until 2021.

However, would he get the regular game time at Liverpool that he's getting now? Probably not. So whether there's interest or not I certainly do not see this happening this summer, while Arsenal will continue doing what they can to ensure he stays beyond 2021.

Are we going to bring in a creative midfielder or will Klopp still rely on Keita despite his injury woes? - @mirxnn7

DOHA, QATAR - DECEMBER 18: Naby Keita of Liverpool celebrates with his team mates after scoring a goal to make it 0-1 during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2019 Semi Final match between Monterrey and Liverpool FC at Khalifa International Stadium on December 18, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images)
Image: Will Liverpool still rely on Naby Keita despite his injury issues?

I think he hopes to be able to rely on Naby Keita more. We have seen flashes from him, but just when you think he's finally settling into a rhythm and becoming an influence on the team, the injuries have hit. This season particularly frustrating with just 18 appearances in all competitions in a season where Liverpool have played a total of 48 games.

What this lay-off may help him to do is take the opportunity for his body to fully recover so that, when football returns, we see less of the muscular injuries that have plagued him so far and we get to see the best of Naby Keita.

I also do not think Liverpool are that short of creative options. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, for a start, can operate in a midfield three. As I have mentioned, Minamino is still to nail down his role but can play anywhere from midfield to the front three. Yes, Liverpool will lose the out of contract Adam Lallana this summer and we will wait to see what happens with another injury-hit creative player in Xherdan Shaqiri... but there's Curtis Jones coming through. Just as Jurgen Klopp may offer more responsibility to Larouci next season, the same could go for Curtis Jones.

Any chance of us signing a top class CB to pair up with Virgil? - @DecimusF5

preview image 0:53
Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor discusses whether Liverpool will be in the market for a new centre-back

What colour jersey do you see Karius wearing next season? - @KariusSZN2020

Loris Karius is currently on loan at Besiktas
Image: Will Loris Karius be seen in a Liverpool shirt again?

What colour shirt are Nike planning for Liverpool's goalkeepers? As it stands he will be Liverpool's player next season. Certainly, there's been no decision taken that Liverpool simply have to offload. He will return to Liverpool and work with Alisson, Adrian, goalkeeper coach John Achterberg etc.

Long term, clearly, what the player wants will be important. Given the high-profile mistakes made in the past and attention that brings, while he's been out of the spotlight in this country for a while, will he feel comfortable playing for Liverpool again, or ultimately does he feel a new club is the best way to go.

But from Liverpool's perspective, he's their player and they're ready to welcome him back.

Will the young players like Harvey Elliot and Curtis Jones get more starts next season? - benjyp (Instagram)

Liverpool's young team edged past Shrewsbury to reach the fifth round of the FA Cup
Image: Will Harvey Elliot get more game time next season?

More involvement….probably….more starts? I think that will be dependent on progression in the cup competitions. Harvey Elliott started three league cup and three FA Cup games and made his first appearance in the Premier League for Liverpool as a late substitute for Mohamed Salah in the 2-0 win at home to Sheffield United. At this time you arguably don't see him threatening the starting line-up in the Premier League when everyone is fit. However, if he continues to progress then he can become a valuable option and that in turn will lead to more starts further down the line.

Jones we have already mentioned. A couple of years older than Elliott he started two league cup games and four FA Cup games this season, scoring the spectacular winner against Everton and opening the scoring against Shrewsbury in their initial fourth-round tie.

Obviously he's made the point he feels he could start more regularly for Liverpool, but so far his only Premier League involvement has been as a substitute in the wins at Bournemouth and West Ham.

Adam Lallana's expected departure could easily mean more involvement for Jones….then it's up to him to take his chance and prove he's ready to start more regularly. From what we have seen so far, from both Curtis and Harvey, is that the talent looks to be there.

Will Harry Wilson return to the club or will he be sold? - Maniacfootball6 (Instagram)

Harry Wilson
Image: Could Harry Wilson return to have an impact at Liverpool?

A lot of that will depend on what Harry Wilson wants himself. The plan has always been for Harry to return after his loan spell at Bournemouth, assess where he's at and take it from there.

While he has done well with seven Premier League goals in 23 Premier League appearances, for a team that's scored just 29 league goals all season, I'm not sure whether that's enough to force his way into the reckoning as a regular starter at Liverpool.

So, a lot will come down to whether he's prepared to bide his time and wait for limited opportunities at Liverpool. Or, if he's got a taste for the regular involvement he's had at Bournemouth (19 Premier League starts this season), then he can push for a move. While I've not been told as such, I get the impression Liverpool would respect that decision.

Do you expect Lovren will leave? - @GuyBalham

Lovren has praised his Jurgen Klopp for his management style at Liverpool 1:06
Sky Sports News reporter Vinny O'Connor discusses whether Dejan Lovren will be allowed to leave Liverpool this summer

Will Liverpool sell Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah? - Benji_pugs2005 (Instagram)

Mohamed Salah celebrates his goal with Sadio Mane
Image: Could Liverpool sell Sadio Mane or Mohamed Salah?

When the Mane-Madrid link kept surfacing, the thought was that 'Mane is our player and the Madrid stuff is just speculation.'

I have seen the arguments that in some ways it could be the right time to cash in with Mane now 28 years of age and Salah 27. But they are ages at which they still have a good few years at their peak. They are two vital parts of a front three on which Liverpool have built their recent success. That's been recognised by the fact that both of them are contracted until 2023 and there appears to be no appetite on the club's part whatsoever to cut that short.

Should either of them agitate for a move then that changes things.

However, Liverpool have shown that they are no pushovers in that kind of situation. You only have to look at what happened with Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho. In each case the player was only allowed to leave when it was right for the club and, with the structure Liverpool have in place, I do not see that changing now.

Do you think Liverpool can sign Kai Havertz? Or will it be someone cheaper and less known? - Alexa.stojanovic (Instagram)

Kai Havertz
Image: Kai Havertz is hot property in Europe

Another player, like Timo Werner, who has been constantly linked with Liverpool and, on the face of it, appears to be a possibility.

And, like Werner, all the noises out of Anfield contradict that.

Back in the January transfer window I was told that Liverpool had no interest in Havertz going as far as to say that Liverpool's name was being used to give others a nudge to move for him.

As it stands I have been given no indication their stance has changed.

Obviously things can change….Liverpool thought Alisson was going elsewhere before it became apparent they could get the deal done.

The difference in that case of course was we knew they had a solid interest in Alisson.

Are Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum going to get new deals? - Finley.drakes (Instagram)

Gini Wijnaldum celebrates after putting Liverpool 1-0 up at Anfield
Image: Will Gini Wijnaldum get a new deal?

At the moment, because Liverpool have more pressing concerns due to the coronavirus crisis, all talk of new deals is on hold.

Mane's situation is not exactly pressing due to the fact he is contracted until 2023, it's just the reported interest from Real Madrid adds another dimension to the situation.

Liverpool will clearly do what is right for them. They are in a strong position given the time he has left on his current deal and the absence of any offer to take him away.

At some point then you would imagine there will be conversations over an extension to that deal. If Real Madrid where to test their resolve then they will have a decision to make. Take the money and build again….or use Mane as one of the figures to attract new talent to the club.

Wijnaldum is certainly a surprise for me. I realise there's no room for sentiment and he's reaching an age when club and player might not see eye to eye on longevity of contract. But at 29 he's still a massively influential player within that squad and in my humble opinion a new deal would be a no brainer.

Clearly it's not straight forward, John Gibbons, from The Anfield Wrap, highlighted it is potentially his last big contract; he will have an idea of his worth, while the club have to make sure they do not get into a situation where they are paying big wages for someone who, in time, will not be involved as much.

That said, given what it would take to replace a player like Wijnaldum, I would also be surprised if that did not get done and disappointed as he's one of the nicest fellas to deal with.

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