Football

Juergen Klopp praises Timo Werner, Kai Havertz but plays down moves

Liverpool's German manager Juergen Klopp hailed compatriots Timo Werner and Kai Havertz as "great players" but suggested his team would miss out on signing either of them.

RB Leipzig forward Werner, 24, and Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Havertz, 20, have both been linked with moves to Anfield.

Klopp told Sky Germany: "Timo Werner is a great player, Kai Havertz is a great player.

"Right time, opportunity - everything has to come together. Six, seven weeks ago, we didn't know if we could play again this year.

"If we hadn't played the second half of the season, we would have thought, 'OK, when can you really play football again?' And now it starts right away...

"If you want to take it seriously and run a normal business and depend on income and have no idea how much you will earn... especially because we don't know when we can start playing with spectators again.

"At the moment, all clubs are losing money. Without spectators, we have to pay back the season tickets and probably sell none next year. At least maybe without the first 10 or 15 games.

"The VIP areas won't be packed and the tickets won't be sold. This will have an impact on other partners and things will look a bit different.

"Discussing with the players about things like salary waivers and on the other hand buying a player for £50-60m, we have to explain."

Widespread media reports last week suggested Werner, who has scored 31 times in 41 matches for Leipzig this season, has settled on a move to Chelsea for about 50 million euros (S$78.7m).

Ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, now coach of A-League side Brisbane Roar, believes this could prove a blessing in disguise for his former club.

He wrote in his Daily Mirror column: "I've also seen the meltdown from some Liverpool fans...

"It makes it seem as though he's a Marco van Basten, a world-class player who would walk into any side. For the life of me, I don't know why. I've watched him a fair few times and there are things about his game I like and admire.

"But does he influence games consistently enough? Not for me. Does he match up to the players you are signing him to challenge and replace? Not at Liverpool. Maybe at Chelsea.

"So I stand by my analysis. I'm not sure the fuss is worth it about Werner. I'm not sure he's a Liverpool player."

Leipzig, meanwhile, have insisted Werner's move to London is not yet a done deal.

"Timo Werner hasn't triggered the (release) clause (in his contract), and we haven't received a transfer contract from any club," said Leipzig's sporting director Oliver Mintzlaff.

"Timo Werner is in the driver's seat now, not us," Mintzlaff added, noting that Werner "indicated a few weeks ago that he was looking into a transfer".

Football