Manchester United could end up with not one but two Juventus attackers by the end of the transfer window.

Heavily linked to Paulo Dybala as they look to sell Romelu Lukaku, Mario Mandzukic has emerged as another target for the Red Devils.

It is going to be a busy couple of days, with the Premier League window set to slam shut on August 8.

 

TOP STORY – MANDUZKIC TO FOLLOW DYBALA TO OLD TRAFFORD?

Growing reports suggest Juventus pair Mandzukic and Dybala are being pushed to join Manchester United.

United striker Lukaku has agreed a €9million salary with Juventus, according to Goal, as the Red Devils look to sign Dybala in exchange.

Dybala is reportedly demanding €12m to make the move to Manchester, with the deal hinging on the Argentina international swapping Turin for Old Trafford.

Tuttosport, Goal and other outlets are also claiming Mandzukic has been discussed with United, in what would be a separate transfer.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Manchester City have set Leroy Sane's asking price at €158m (£145m) as Bayern Munich look to sign the Germany international.

Real Madrid are seriously considering a move for Ajax midfielder Donny van de Beek, Marca reports. Manchester United star Paul Pogba has emerged as a key target for Madrid. However, Zinedine Zidane's side are eyeing a €60m bid for Van de Beek.

- Champions League holders Liverpool are pondering a bid for Bordeaux forward Francois Kamano as Jurgen Klopp looks to add depth to his attacking options, according to The Sun.

- The Sun also reports that Arsenal have been put off by West Ham's £60m valuation of defender Issa Diop, who has also been linked to Manchester United. Arsenal have already signed William Saliba but the teenage defender has been loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 campaign.

Radamel Falcao will not be leaving Monaco for Turkish side Galatasaray, according to Fabrizio Romano. The 33-year-old has been hampered by injuries since moving to Monaco in 2013.

- ESPN FC says Manchester United and Leicester City are £15m apart in their valuation of centre-back Harry Maguire. In one of the most drawn-out transfer sagas this off-season, United have been tipped to sign Maguire in a world-record transfer for a defender, however, the England international is yet to arrive at Old Trafford. The Red Devils are reportedly offering £70m plus add-ons, while Leicester want £85m plus add-ons.

Juventus and Marseille have made offers for Barcelona left-back Juan Miranda, claims Sport. Juve reportedly want the 19-year-old on a permanent deal, while Marseille are open to bringing him to Ligue 1 on loan.

- As Lukaku nears a switch to Juventus, FCInterNews says Inter have turned to Atalanta's Duvan Zapata. The Colombia forward, who scored 28 goals in all competitions last season, is valued at €60m and Inter are willing to include Matteo Politano in exchange.

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson insists the Reds will have more competition than just Premier League champions Manchester City this season.

The Reds pushed City all the way in the league last term but saw Pep Guardiola's men defend their title by only one point on the final day.

Liverpool bounced back by claiming a sixth European Cup-Champions League title and the two sides are widely expected to battle for domestic and continental prizes again during the 2019-20 campaign.

That will start with Sunday's Community Shield between Liverpool and City at Wembley, yet Henderson does not believe the Reds can afford to be complacent about the chasing pack.

"Everyone will talk about Liverpool and City because they won the league and were so good and we won the Champions League," Henderson said. "It is easy to do that.

"You have to look at the other teams. They are going to improve. There are more teams than us and City who will be competing.

"But you have to respect them so much for winning the Premier League back-to-back. That is so difficult. They keep raising the bar and keep improving with the squad they have.

"So, we need to be doing the same and I think we will. The players are hungry. They want more. They want to keep working hard and the manager will make sure of that.

"We have great senior players in the team. We have to focus on what is ahead and keep challenging for all the trophies."

While Champions League finalists Tottenham and the rest of the top six will hope to be involved again at the business end of the season, Henderson is confident Liverpool can compete once more.

"We showed we were not disheartened after we did not win the league to go and win the Champions League," he said. "It was a big moment for us.

"We can use last season as the fuel to be even better to win it this year and compete again.

"We know how good City are and other teams will improve. The Premier League is so difficult. That showed last year, to play as we did and win so many games and not win it.

"But we keep going, giving everything and improving, and hopefully we challenge."

Bayern Munich have distanced themselves from reports Manchester City winger Leroy Sane is on the verge of joining the Bundesliga champions.

Sane has been linked with a move to Bayern throughout the close season, having lost his starting place at City during the closing months of their domestic treble-winning season.

Bayern have made no secret of their desire to sign the Germany international, with boss Niko Kovac talking up the possibility of a deal going through earlier this week before later apologising for his comments.

Kovac was criticised by chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and director Hasan Salihamidzic for publicly discussing a move for Sane, who he described as a "dream" player for the club.

The transfer saga appeared to take another twist on Thursday as German outlets Kicker and Bild reported Sane had decided to join Bayern in a move worth in excess of €100million.

But the Bavarian giants moved quickly to shut down the rumours in a short message posted on their official Twitter account.

"News reports made today stating that Leroy Sane has decided to join FC Bayern do not correspond to the facts," the tweet read.

Bayern are in the market for a new wide player after losing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery at the end of last season, while Serge Gnabry and Kingsley Coman suffered injury scares during this week's Audi Cup fixtures.

Sane has scored 10 goals in each of the past two title-winning Premier League seasons at City but is yet to accede to Pep Guardiola's wish for him to sign a contract extension

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku to Juventus in a straight swap for Paulo Dybala? It appears simple, however, it is not.

United and Juventus are reportedly ready to exchange players, but Dybala is not entirely convinced about leaving Turin.

Now Inter could be set to pounce as the transfer window takes another turn…

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA HAS UNITED DOUBTS AS INTER CIRCLE

According to multiple reports in Italy, Juventus attacker Dybala has no intention of joining Manchester United in a swap deal involving Lukaku.

Inter had been favourites to sign Lukaku, however, Serie A champions Juve have emerged as frontrunners to prise the Belgium striker at the expense of Dybala.

United and Juve have reportedly agreed on an exchange but Calciomercato, Rai Sport and Tuttomercatoweb claim Dybala is not convinced about a move to Old Trafford due to a lack of Champions League and his style of football in the Premier League.

Dybala – who is apparently demanding a higher salary than Paul Pogba and is set to meet Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri – could end up at Inter, with Corriere dello Sport's front page dominated by a shock move.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Bild+, Bayern Munich have made their first offer for Manchester City winger Leroy Sane. The report comes after Niko Kovac apologised for saying he was confident of signing Sane before the transfer window shuts.

- Paris Saint-Germain have named their price for wantaway star Neymar. L'Equipe says the Ligue 1 champions are demanding €300million for the Brazilian, who is wanted by former club Barcelona.

- Calciomercato says Manchester City are close to signing Juventus full-back Joao Cancelo. The Premier League champions have been linked with Cancelo throughout the window and they are now poised to complete a deal for the Portugal international, who could cost £45.6-50.1m (€50-55m).

Napoli want to sign Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha, according to Sky Sports News. Napoli, who have been linked to James Rodriguez, Hirving Lozano and Nicolas Pepe, are willing to pay Palace €59.9m (£54.6m) for the Ivory Coast international.

- According to Sky Sports News, Manchester United are prepared to pay up to £80m for Leicester City centre-back Harry Maguire. The Red Devils have been pursuing Maguire throughout the window, but a deal is yet to be reached. However, United are willing to eclipse the world-record fee for a defender.

- Tuttosport claims Edinson Cavani has taken another step towards signing for Inter. Amid Inter's ongoing and so far fruitless pursuit of Lukaku, Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani has emerged as a target, with a financial proposal agreed by the Uruguay international.

Liverpool must find an extra gear against Manchester City in Sunday's Community Shield despite ending their pre-season slump, according to manager Jurgen Klopp.

The European champions fell behind to an early Memphis Depay penalty in Geneva, before strikes from the returning Roberto Firmino and Harry Wilson either side of a Joachim Andersen own goal secured an accomplished 3-1 win over Lyon.

The result came on the back of a 3-0 weekend loss to Napoli at Murrayfield – Liverpool's fourth winless friendly in succession.

"All round it was a much better performance, but again, I said that will happen," Klopp told his club's official website.

"Now we have three more days to prepare for the City game and then we will see what we can do there.

"I am of course happy, but I know we must play much better to have a chance against City.

"Man City is different to all other games that you play – you have to play a pre-season game against Man City to prepare for Man City and we didn't do that!

"We need to adapt to that, but all good. Today [Wednesday] was, from a physical point of view, very, very important for all the lads, and from a psychological point of view as well.

"We are all human beings and losing football games we never get used to, so I'm really happy that we could change that."

Firmino returned to club action alongside Alisson and Mohamed Salah following their international exploits over the close season.

Alisson erred to give away the fourth-minute spot kick, but his Brazil colleague and Salah offered their typical edge and quality to the Reds' attack during the first half.

"Mo is naturally fit and he can sprint all day, which us helps of course," he said.

"It opens up the pitch, you can play much more football - not always between the lines. If you from time-to-time chip the ball in behind the line, then Mo makes these offers which is very important for us.

"Bobby in between the lines and in the box [was] present [and] really important."

Klopp insists the trio will be involved against City and did not rule out handing them starts.

"I don't know yet in the moment, so that's how it is," he added. "We have to see.

"I don't say 100 per cent not, there's a chance that they will play, yes. They will be involved whenever, from the start, maybe we cannot make these [number of] changes like today [against Lyon] after half an hour or whatever, that's maybe not possible in that game, so we have to see.

"We have to see how they react tomorrow. Now training is not the highest intensity anymore, now training is about the detail [and] we really need to prepare the game."

Antoine Griezmann and Neymar are not on the shortlist for The Best FIFA Men's Player award, with Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi up against Cristiano Ronaldo and Eden Hazard for this year's prize.

Griezmann completed his long-awaited €120million transfer to the Spanish champions in July but his 15-goal contribution to Atletico Madrid's second-place finish in the 2018-19 LaLiga table was not enough to impress FIFA's panel.

Liverpool trio Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Virgil van Dijk are in contention after helping the Reds to glory in last season's Champions League, while Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong have been recognised for their part in helping Ajax to the semi-finals and to a domestic title.

There is no place for 2018 winner and Ballon d'Or holder Luka Modric, nor his Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale, and Neymar misses out while Paris Saint-Germain colleague Kylian Mbappe is among the nominees.

 

 

The Best FIFA Men's Player nominees:

Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus)
Frenkie De Jong (Barcelona)
Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus)
Eden Hazard (Real Madrid)
Harry Kane (Tottenham)
Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Mohmed Salah (Liverpool)
Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool)

Premier League rivals Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are among the candidates to win the Best FIFA Men's Coach award, while Jill Ellis heads up the Best FIFA Women's Coach nominees after she led the United States to World Cup glory.

Guardiola guided Manchester City to the Premier League, EFL Cup and FA Cup in a glittering 2018-19 campaign that saw Klopp's Liverpool push them all the way for domestic glory.

The Reds won the Champions League for the first time in 14 years, beating Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham in the final, and the Spurs boss is also in the running for the FIFA award.

There is no place on the shortlist for Massimiliano Allegri despite the former Juventus coach having clinched his fifth consecutive Scudetto with the Bianconeri, and his successor Maurizio Sarri missed out even though he won the Europa League, reached the EFL Cup final and secured a Champions League spot with Chelsea.

Ellis, meanwhile, is up against Netherlands boss Sarina Wiegman whose side the USA beat in the World Cup final. The coaches of both semi-finalists, England's Phil Neville and Sweden's Peter Gerhardsson, are also on the shortlist.

Italy's Milena Bertolini is also in contention along with Lyon's Reynald Pedros, Japan Under-20s' Futoshi Ikeda, and Arsenal's Joe Montemurro.

The Best FIFA Men's Coach nominees:

Djamel Belmadi (Algeria)
Didier Deschamps (France)
Marcelo Gallardo (River Plate)
Ricardo Gareca (Peru)
Pep Guardiola (Manchester City)
Jurgen Klopp (Liverpool)
Mauricio Pochettino (Tottenham)
Fernando Santos (Portugal)
Erik ten Hag (Ajax)
Tite (Brazil)

The Best FIFA Women's Coach nominees:

Milena Bertolini (Italy)
Jill Ellis (USA)
Peter Gerhardsson (Sweden)
Futoshi Ikeda (Japan U-20)
Antonia Is (Spain U-17)
Joe Montemurro (Arsenal)
Phil Neville (England)
Reynald Pedros (Lyon)
Paul Riley (North Carolina Courage)
Sarina Wiegman (Netherlands)

Bayern Munich star Joshua Kimmich has cast doubt on Leroy Sane's transfer by saying the Manchester City winger would "already be here" if he wanted to join the Bundesliga champions.

Speculation over Sane's future hit fever pitch after Bayern coach Niko Kovac publicly stated he is confident of signing the Germany international, before apologising to City boss Pep Guardiola for making the comments.

Kimmich, who played in all of Bayern's Bundesliga matches last season before clinching his fourth consecutive title since joining the club in June 2015, was unable to provide an update on Sane's situation but called his international team-mate's intentions into question.

"I do not know what the signals are," Kimmich told reporters after Bayern's 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce.

"I guess the club would like to sign him.

"If Leroy wanted to, he would probably already be here, so I do not know what the state of affairs is."

Sane scored 10 goals in 31 Premier League appearances in 2018-19 as City successfully defended the title as part of a domestic treble, and Guardiola has admitted he would be "sad" to lose the 23-year-old.

He spent three seasons as a first-team player in the Bundesliga at Schalke before making a reported €50million (£45.7m) switch to the Etihad Stadium in August 2016, and Kimmich indicated he has not built up high hopes of seeing him return to Germany.

"You read something from time to time, then you read something else," said Kimmich.

"I have no idea. I'll only hear it from you [reporters], what you write. The president [Uli Hoeness] does not come into the dressing room saying, 'hey, listen to me, we want Sane'."

Niko Kovac says he has apologised to Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola after publicly stating he was confident Bayern Munich would buy Leroy Sane.

The Bundesliga champions have made no secret of their desire to bring the 23-year-old to the Allianz Arena after he appeared to fall out of favour at the Etihad Stadium towards the end of last season.

Although City's reported £90million asking price is said to have initially put Bayern off, Kovac recently suggested an agreement could soon be reached, saying: "I am very confident. I assume we can get it [done]."

Bayern chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, however, revealed his frustration at Kovac's comments ahead of the Bavarian giants' thumping 6-1 Audi Cup win over Fenerbahce on Tuesday, telling ZDF: "I did not like what he said."

The message has clearly got through to Kovac, who revealed after the game at the Allianz Arena that he has spoken to Guardiola and apologised for speaking publicly about his player.

He told ZDF: "We [Bayern and him] talked about it. Maybe I was too offensive in that interview. I talked to Pep and apologised because of it.

"I would like to apologise to the club, too. I will restrain myself in cases like this in the future."

Bayern were in fine form against their Turkish opponents, racing into a 5-0 lead at the break thanks to goals from Renato Sanches, Leon Goretzka, Kingsley Coman and two from Thomas Muller.

World Cup winner Muller completed his treble in the second half as Bayern booked their place in the final against Tottenham, who beat Real Madrid earlier in the day, on Wednesday.

Muller was introduced in the 20th minute for Serge Gnabry, who appeared to be limping as he went off, but Kovac has confirmed that his withdrawal was merely precautionary.

"Nothing happened to Serge," he explained. "He got a bit tight on his right thigh. It was just a precaution."

Harry Maguire would be a good signing for Manchester United if they can lure him from Leicester City, says Wayne Rooney.

Maguire is reportedly a target for United, as well as Premier League rivals Manchester City, but the Foxes are said to value the England international at £80million, which would be a world-record fee for a defender.

Brendan Rodgers has confirmed Leicester have already turned down two offers for the England international, who missed training on Monday, although James Maddison joked on social media his team-mate's absence was due to an upset stomach.

United's need for defensive reinforcements was exacerbated on Tuesday when it was confirmed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer that Eric Bailly could be out for five months after undergoing surgery on a knee injury.

Reports in Spain have suggested United are interested in Barcelona and France defender Samuel Umtiti, but the club's all-time leading goalscorer Rooney has backed Maguire to be a success at Old Trafford.

"I think Harry's a good player and over the last few years he's improved as a player," Rooney said to ESPN FC.

"He's gotten better, and he's been a main player for Leicester City, but also for England. I think he'd be a good signing if they can get him."

While Maguire may arrive at Old Trafford ahead of August 8's transfer deadline, Paul Pogba continues to be linked with a move away.

Pogba's agent Mino Raiola confirmed this month he is working on a deal for the midfielder, who has been touted as a target for Real Madrid and former club Juventus.

"It's obviously down to the club, to the board, to the manager, but I think also to the player," Rooney added when asked about the World Cup winner.

"If the player wants to stay, he'll stay and prove what a good player he is.

"Behind the scenes, I'm sure they're working on whether to keep him or whether to let him go."

Bayern Munich chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has revealed his frustration at Niko Kovac's decision to publicly express his confidence that a deal will be struck for Leroy Sane.

Germany international Sane has spent three seasons at Manchester City since leaving Schalke, developing into one of Europe's best wingers.

Bayern have made no secret of their desire to bring the 23-year-old to the Allianz Arena and, although City's reported £90million asking price is said to have initially put them off, boss Kovac recently suggested an agreement could soon be reached.

He said on Sunday: "Our club management is very committed. It is not easy in this day and age, you see, otherwise it would already be sorted. But I am very confident. I assume we can get it [done]."

Speaking ahead of Bayern's Audi Cup clash against Fenerbahce on Tuesday, though, Rummenigge expressed his irritation with Kovac.

"I did not like what he said," he told ZDF. "We have a good relationship with Manchester City and our former coach Pep Guardiola.

"Sane still has a contract there. Neither optimistic nor pessimistic quotes help us in that matter."

Kovac is seeking attacking replacements for Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery after both wingers left Bayern at the end of the 2018-19 season.

His need for reinforcements might be accelerated further after Serge Gnabry went off injured in the first half of the game against Fenerbahce.

Chelsea have issued a lifetime ban to fan for using "racially abusive language" following an investigation into an incident involving Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling.

England international Sterling was allegedly subjected to racial abuse as he retrieved a ball during the Premier League encounter between City and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in December.

Blues supporter Craig Wing admitted to shouting an obscenity at the 24-year-old but denied his comments were "racial in nature" and the Crown Prosecution Service subsequently announced it would not initiate any criminal prosecutions.

Chelsea reviewed evidence and sought expert opinions from two lip reading professionals before announcing the outcome of their own investigation on Tuesday.

One individual has been issued with a permanent ban from the club's home venue and five others have been barred from attending for periods ranging from one to two years.

"We understand that this incident has been the subject of discussion amongst supporters, and the club appreciates that emotions can run high during matches," read a statement from the Premier League side.

"However, in this case the behaviour of all six individuals crossed the line of what is acceptable.

"Furthermore, in the case of the supporter who was found by the club to have used racially abusive language, there is no place for this behaviour at Stamford Bridge and a permanent exclusion was the appropriate sanction.

"Given the particular circumstances of this case, the club did not consider that attendance at an education course in return for a reduced sanction would have been appropriate."

The sanctions come in the wake of manager Frank Lampard's appeal for fans to cease using an offensive chant aimed at rivals West Ham that was heard during Sunday's friendly against Reading.

Chelsea added: "We are clear and consistent in our condemnation of discriminatory behaviour and language and all fans should remember that their words and actions can cause offence to those around them and to the wider community.

"We will continue to work with our supporters to rid the game of all forms of discrimination."

Jurgen Klopp fears Manchester City will teach Liverpool a lesson in the Community Shield if the level of defending displayed in pre-season does not improve.

The Champions League winners have lost three and drawn one of their past four friendly matches.

Ten goals have been conceded in that run, including three in the most recent defeat to Serie A side Napoli in Edinburgh.

Klopp does not know whether key trio Alisson, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino - all of whom return to training this week - will be available for Sunday's clash against City at Wembley and admitted his team are unlikely to be at full capacity.

But the German is not prepared to accept anything less than a competitive performance.

"I don't think we can expect to play our best game of the season," Klopp said.

"That's how it is with the pre-season we've had, but we have a long season after that. But it's not about that, it's about winning a football game and that's what we will try. There are different ways to do that and we hope to find one.

"I don't know exactly why people play this competition if [they think] it means nothing.

"I won it five times in Germany and nobody mentions it, but we play it every year. If you win, nobody cares. If you lose, some care.

"It's a game we play against City and that's the most difficult game of the season in every season, so we have to be ready and it's a good test for the things which are there in that moment.

"We have to make sure we defend in a pretty good way because if you don't defend well against City we could get a proper knock, and that's not the idea of the game."

Though adamant the outcome will not chart a course for Liverpool's season, Klopp bristled at the idea of the Community Shield being considered a glorified friendly.

"[To call it a] 'curtain-raiser' is unbelievable," he said.

"We try to be as ready as possible. If we had eight players available, for example, I would like to try to win it. It's a final."

The contract still needs signing but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is poised to make the biggest move of his career… if you believe reports.

Linked with Europe's biggest clubs last season, Lazio star Milinkovic-Savic is once again in demand heading into 2019-20.

And the Serbia international's future is reportedly already decided.

 

TOP STORY – MILINKOVIC-SAVIC GIVES UNITED HIS WORD

Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic has a verbal agreement to join Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

With Paul Pogba's future at Old Trafford uncertain amid links to Real Madrid, Milinkovic-Savic has emerged as a transfer target for the Red Devils.

And Serbia international Milinkovic-Savic – who is reportedly rated at £80million – has agreed in principal to make the switch to Manchester as the world waits on Pogba's next move.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United are closing in on Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes. SPORT claims United are readying a £63m (€70m) offer for the 24-year-old Portugal midfielder. It comes after the Red Devils tried to continue their Portuguese pursuit with a move for Benfica defender Ruben Dias as an alternative to Leicester City star Harry Maguire but the club were unsuccessful, according to O Jogo.

- According to RMC, Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal is not a done deal. Lille star Pepe has been tipped to join the Gunners, however, Liverpool and Inter are reportedly still in the running to sign the Ivory Coast international.

Juventus are in pole position to sign Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku ahead of Serie A rivals Inter. That is according to Tuttosport, who say the possibility of a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala has put Juve at the front of the queue. Dybala is also wanted by Tottenham.

- Marca reports Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen is interested in a move to Juventus. The Spanish newspaper says Eriksen – who has no intention of re-signing with Spurs – also likes Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, having been previously linked to Real Madrid.

- Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye is set to undergo a medical with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Monday ahead of his €32m (£28.7m) transfer, reports the Guardian. Everton, meanwhile, reportedly had a £52m bid for Wilfried Zaha rejected by Premier League rivals Crystal Palace.

- According to Turkish newspaper Star, Besiktas will make another attempt to sign Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala. The Frenchman has struggled to make an impact since arriving in 2014.

- Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning are unwilling to pay the transfer fee that Real Madrid are demanding for Gareth Bale, according to Marca. Bale was reportedly set for China but that move appears off… for now.

Atletico Madrid are growing pessimistic in their pursuit of Real Madrid's James Rodriguez. Atletico have emerged as frontrunners for James ahead of Napoli, however, negotiations with Madrid are proving difficult, reports Marca.

Jurgen Klopp is convinced the 2019-20 Premier League campaign will not be another two-horse race but still believes Manchester City are the team to beat.

Liverpool ran City close last term, finishing just a point behind the eventual champions, who accumulated a total of 98.

The Reds' impressive form was not for nothing, however, as they managed to win the Champions League, making up for their final defeat the season before.

Their pre-season exploits have left a bit to be desired, as Klopp's men have won two of six matches and those victories came against lower-league opposition Tranmere Rovers and Bradford City.

Following defeats to Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla and a draw with Sporting CP, Liverpool were comprehensively beaten 3-0 by Napoli on Sunday, and Klopp recognises an improvement is necessary ahead of what he expects to be a tough season.

When asked if the Premier League will be following a similar pattern to 2018-19, the Liverpool manager said: "Of course not.

"It became a two-horse race last year, but unfortunately there are too many good clubs in this competition. I think even City see it like this.

"They are the big favourite, and all the others try to beat them - and we are one of these teams.

"At least we should give it a try, but we have to play better football, and we will play better football, I know."

Sunday's match was not all bad for the Reds, however, as 16-year-old Harvey Elliott made his first appearance on the same day his signing from Fulham was confirmed.

The winger showed promising flashes at Murrayfield, and Klopp is excited by him.

"That's why he is here," Klopp said. "I could say so many positive things about the boy.

"We signed him, he came here, he decided [to play] for us and could have gone pretty much everywhere, but he wanted to be part of Liverpool.

"The stories with the boy start early, and already he is the youngest ever Premier League player and has broken quite a few records because of his talent.

"Now he is here, so let's work with him. He needs game time, we will see where he gets that, but he is obviously a fine, fine footballer and that's why we were really interested."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.