'He's just exceptional' - Liverpool boss Klopp hails Bellingham but refuses to be drawn on potential transfer
- Liverpool keen to sign Dortmund ace
- Real Madrid & Man City also in race
- Klopp believes Bellingham can improve
WHAT HAPPENED? In comments which are sure to set tongues wagging among Liverpool supporters, Klopp addressed the idea that Bellingham's showings for England in Qatar might have seen him priced out of a potential move to Anfield. GOAL understands the Reds are eager to sign the Borussia Dortmund star, but face stiff competition from the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City.
WHAT THEY SAID: Klopp told reporters: "I don’t like to always talk about money when we talk about a player like Jude. I think everybody agrees he’s just exceptional. I imagine somebody who has no clue about football, or who didn’t watch it for a while, if you asked them ‘how old do you think Jude Bellingham is?’ nobody would get even close! They’d say ‘28, 29’ or whatever, because he’s that mature.
"He played an exceptional World Cup. Exceptional. He’s good at so many things and has to improve in so many other things, but if I had to describe him I would say that the things he can do already are difficult to learn, and the things has has to improve are easy to learn. That makes him a really good player!"
He added: "I’m not saying anything new. I thought that for two or three years since he broke through at Dortmund. But I have no idea what [his World Cup performances] does for the money side of it. I just think that if you, from an English point of view, want to do him a favour, just don’t talk too much about money, don’t throw too many hurdles in his way. That would be really cool, wherever he ends up!"
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Klopp was also asked whether Liverpool would find it hard to attract players - Bellingham or otherwise - if they failed to qualify for next season's Champions League, replying: "It’s very important for the club. It’s our main target now. From a transfer point of view? I think we have a good chance of qualifying generally. This year, not 100 percent, but 100 percent we are contenders for the next few years.
"And if you ask a player [to sign] and he says ‘well next year you are not in the Champions League, so I would rather go to another club’, I am not sure I would want this player any more, to be honest.
"I understand it, I want to be in the Champions League all the time, but for the moment we have two pathways still to qualify for next year, and as long as that’s the case I see ourselves as a proper contender."
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WHAT NEXT FOR LIVERPOOL? The Reds are in Premier League action on Boxing Day as they take on Aston Villa at Villa Park.