The January transfer window is over, meaning the top clubs in Europe have to go with what they have got for the remainder of the season.

There have been some huge deals across the continent, with much of the major action was completed early on in the window.

Namely, Erling Haaland joined Borussia Dortmund, and the Norwegian sensation has already made a flying start in the Bundesliga.

Haaland's former Salzburg team-mate Takumi Minamino has joined runaway Premier League leaders, while there was also the small matter of Zlatan Ibrahimovic returning to Milan.

Here, we take a look at the best deals that went through.

Erling Haaland: Salzburg to Borussia Dortmund (€22.5m)

Haaland was arguably the most sought-after player in the January transfer window, with Dortmund reportedly beating RB Leipzig, Juventus and Manchester United to his signature. It already looks like the striker will take the Bundesliga by storm, having scored five goals in two substitute appearances that have lasted a cumulative 59 minutes.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic: LA Galaxy to Milan (free transfer)

At 38, not many players would have their pick of clubs, but Ibrahimovic certainly did. He took his time in deciding his next move after leaving LA Galaxy but, amid links to Bologna and Napoli, the Swede plumped to join his former club Milan. His impact at San Siro has been instant, with Milan unbeaten since his return, winning five of their six games in all competitions.

Takumi Minamino: Salzburg to Liverpool (£7.25m)

Haaland may have been the Salzburg player who drew the most attention, but Japan international Minamino should prove to be a bargain for Liverpool. The European champions moved quickly to bring in the 25-year-old for a measly fee of £7.25m. Able to play anywhere in the front three or even as an attacking midfielder, Minamino scored nine goals for Salzburg in all competitions this season before getting his big move and is a great back-up for Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.

Dani Olmo: Dinamo Zagreb to RB Leipzig (up to €35m)

A star of Spain’s triumphant side in the Under-21 European Championships, Olmo has carried on his sparkling form from last season to become one of the most in-demand youngsters in European football. Having scored five Champions League goals this term, the 21-year-old was linked with a return to Barcelona, but ultimately opted to join Bundesliga leaders RB Leipzig – a team which would seem to be an ideal place for the playmaker to continue his development.

Raul de Tomas: Benfica to Espanyol (€20m)

Another club-record signing in LaLiga, De Tomas seems a gamble for such a fee, although one worth taking for an Espanyol side at serious risk of the drop. He might not have settled in Lisbon, but De Tomas was a persistent goalscorer at Real Valladolid and Rayo Vallecano and €20m will seem a snip if he keeps Espanyol in the top flight.

Paco Alcacer: Borussia Dortmund to Villarreal (€23m)

Ruthless in a Valencia shirt and too-often unused at Barcelona, Alcacer returns to LaLiga after scoring 23 goals in 37 Bundesliga appearances, despite problems with injury, after he was deemed surplus to requirements at Dortmund following Haaland's arrival. It might be a club-record purchase but, if he can fire Villarreal into top-four contention, it will be money well spent.

Julian Weigl: Borussia Dortmund to Benfica (€20m)

Weigl has had some of Europe's biggest clubs following his every move in recent seasons, with Manchester City said to be keen and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly prepared to pay up to €75m to reunite him with Thomas Tuchel. Having struggled for form and minutes under Lucien Favre, Weigl decided his best bet at this stage of his career was to pursue regular game time with Benfica. Still only 24, he will look an absolute bargain if he can recapture his early promise in Portugal.

Alvaro Odriozola: Real Madrid to Bayern Munich (loan)

It would be fair to say things have not quite worked out for Odriozola at Real Madrid, with the full-back having made just 18 LaLiga appearances in total for Los Blancos since his move from Real Sociedad. However, the 24-year-old has been handed the opportunity to prove he can cut it at the highest level at Bayern Munich, who were in desperate need of defensive reinforcements due to injuries to Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule.

Pablo Mari: Flamengo to Arsenal (loan with option to buy)

Mikel Arteta was desperate for a left-footed centre-back and in Mari he has found one that, after a string of loan spells away from Manchester City, made good on his potential at Flamengo, where he won the Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores in the space of six months. He could be just what Arsenal needed and there is minimal risk involved in the deal.

Carles Perez: Barcelona to Roma (loan with option/obligation to buy)

After a bright start to the season, Perez found game time increasingly hard to come by at Camp Nou. The exciting winger will only cost an initial €11m if targets are met that turn Roma's option to buy into an obligation, which looks like it would be a snip. Given he is only 21, if Perez performs well there would be a good chance of significant profit further down the line.

Jurgen Klopp remains unsure about the severity of Sadio Mane's injury but hailed Takumi Minamino for his performance when replacing the Senegal star against Wolves.

Mane went off in the first half of Thursday's 2-1 victory at Molineux with a hamstring problem, with Japan international Minamino thrown on for his first experience of Premier League football.

Klopp was delighted with the 25-year-old's efforts in a battling win, secured by Jordan Henderson's header and Roberto Firmino's late strike, which came after a Raul Jimenez equaliser.

The Liverpool boss had no update on Mane's condition when speaking to reporters on Friday ahead of the FA Cup fourth-round trip to Shrewsbury Town, but he appeared confident Minamino could fill in where required.

"I think we have to think about exactly what we do now because he played yesterday much longer than we thought," Klopp said. "It was a big step for him – come on. A game like this for nobody on the pitch was a game where you have to shine and make your best game ever and stuff like this, as a new player, in this kind of a battle.

"Showing up like he did, not with his skills in different departments of the game, but with his character, mentality – he was fighting like crazy, closed gaps, was involved in a lot of situations – it was just a super start.

"It was not 100 per cent his position, he can play there, but for yesterday it was exactly what he had to do. That was much more important than the next game. We'll have to see how he reacted to the intensity of that game, but each game helps, for sure."

Klopp has been delighted with Minamino's application since he arrived in a reported £7.25million deal from Salzburg.

"He's exactly the player we expected to get," he said. "Super player, super boy, really. You saw so many things of his ability last night. As footballers, if you only play the days when everything is clicking, when you're scoring two goals, assisting two more… this, as I said, was a proper fight.

"He's completely ready for that and for him, still in a new environment, a new team, he's really adapting and from a tactical point of view it was an outstanding game. In training, we see more of the finishing stuff, creating stuff… he's just the player we wanted."

Klopp intends to rotate his team much as he did for the third-round win over Everton, with Adrian set to start in goal, but he fears the game will come too soon for Xherdan Shaqiri and James Milner to be involved.

"Adrian will be in goal, if he can," Klopp said. "For Shaq and Millie, it's too early; Naby [Keita], we'll have to see. My information is he will be part of training today. It's minus-two to the game so we have to see if he can be part of the session.

"We have a team, we'll have a team with fresh legs, we have players coming back or came back from injury, so it makes sense to play them because they're pretty good, and we want to go through.

"It's a tough place to go, it's how it always is in cup competitions."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp praised Takumi Minamino's "outstanding" debut for the club in a 1-0 FA Cup win over Everton on Sunday.

A January arrival from Salzburg, Minamino started for a youthful Liverpool in the victory at Anfield.

Klopp liked what he saw from the 24-year-old Japan international as Curtis Jones' 71st-minute stunner put the European champions into the fourth round.

"Super. Outstanding. Exactly the player we wanted, exactly the player we wished for," he told a news conference.

"In your first game in a team that you don't know, if it's a settled team it's already difficult, this team we threw on the pitch with more or less two sessions together and then showing this kind of game understanding, [his] football skills are exceptional, attitude is outstanding, leading the chasing pack so often in different situations.

"It was a nice add on to have Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain back because he looked pretty lively when he came on, trains only two days now and that's why he didn't start.

"But yeah it was super."

Liverpool, who are 13 points clear at the top, are next in action with a trip to Tottenham in the Premier League on Saturday.

All eyes were on Takumi Minamino.

With Jurgen Klopp confirming most of his star players were to be rested for the visit of Everton, his new signing was to be thrust straight into the action in front of expectant Reds fans.

Minamino's ability and mentality had been plain to see at close quarters for Liverpool already this season, the Japan international having played against his new club twice in the Champions League with Salzburg.

His displays in that competition suggested Minamino was perfectly suited to Liverpool, stylistically at the very least.

A comfort on the ball, clever movement in attack and creativity marked the Japan international out as a standout player in the group stage of the competition, and he ranked among the most productive players in terms of assists and big chances created.

Those traits also suggested he could fit in perfectly with Liverpool's incumbent attacking trident of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

None of those featured against Everton on Sunday, as Minamino played his first game since a £7.25million from the Austrian champions. Flanked by 16-year-old Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi, there were hints of promise.

The new arrival filled the role usually taken by Firmino and it was easy to see why, particularly in the first half, as Minamino often dropped deep to link up with the midfield, showcasing his associative quality.

A burst in the 33rd minute showed precisely what Minamino will bring to Liverpool, as he took up possession in midfield and drove forward alone, before being hauled down. Unlucky to not win a free-kick, the forward had relieved pressure on the midfield trio and singlehandedly started an attack.

The two first-half occasions that Liverpool looked most likely to score from had Minamino at the centre – firstly glancing a header just wide having found space behind Yerry Mina, then forcing a poor back pass with his pressing, nearly getting there ahead of Jordan Pickford.

But let's not get carried away – it was by no means the perfect debut. Minamino spent much of the second half – before his 70th-minute withdrawal – frustrated, with Liverpool moving the ball a little slower and Everton preventing him making runs in behind.

With Liverpool in control more than they had been before half-time, Minamino found it difficult to find space amid Everton's packed defence and he doesn't have the physical prowess to be that kind of nuisance.

The FA Cup third round, a Merseyside derby – it had the makings of the ideal bow for Minamino but, perhaps fittingly, it proved to a be a local kid who stole the show.

When Minamino was struggling to make an impact, 18-year-old Curtis Jones came to the fore. The attacking midfielder relished the fact the Reds were seeing more possession, allowing him to flourish.

Mostly working from the left, Jones was gutsy and showed admirable confidence on the ball, often looking to beat his man or pick out a key pass – of which he ended the game with a joint match-high of three.

The Liverpool academy product has long been held up as a potential homegrown star and showed why there has been so much hype with his winning goal.

After an eye-catching flicked pass into the box for Origi, he got the ball back, took a touch and curled an audacious 20-yard effort into the top-far corner, out of the reach of Pickford.

In a contest that was typified by work ethic – or lack thereof in Everton's case – this was a moment of pure individual inspiration, rightly deciding the match.

While Minamino's performance was far from thrilling, he did show glimpses that suggest he will fit in perfectly with Klopp's style of play, eventually.

Jones, however, already appears to be the archetypal Klopp midfielder - crafty, snappy and confident.

With James Milner suffering an injury early on and Jones thriving against a full-strength Everton, further chances should be just around the corner for the Reds' academy product.

Now all eyes are on Jones.

Takumi Minamino is set to make his Liverpool debut in Sunday's FA Cup clash with Merseyside neighbours Everton after being named in a youthful starting XI.

In the standout third-round tie of the day, Liverpool host their local rivals at Anfield and Jurgen Klopp has made the most of the opportunity to rest key players, as he had previously suggested.

But among those to profit is new signing Minamino, who joined at the start of the month following a reported £7.25million move from Austrian side Salzburg.

The Japan international had impressed in two Champions League matches for Salzburg against the Reds in the first half of the season, scoring in the 4-3 defeat to Klopp's men in October.

He was ineligible to feature in Liverpool's 2-0 win over Sheffield United on January 2, but following confirmation of his registration, the 24-year-old comes straight into a starting XI that does not include Roberto Firmino, Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane.

Nathaniel Phillips, Neco Williams, Pedro Chirivella, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Divock Origi get rare starts for the Reds, while Everton have named a line-up almost at full-strength in Carlo Ancelotti's first Merseyside derby.

Richarlison, Theo Walcott and the in-form Dominic Calvert-Lewin lead the line, while Mason Holgate keeps his place at the back alongside Yerry Mina, with Michael Keane still benched.

Jurgen Klopp expects to have to embark on a rebuilding process at Liverpool after extending his contract to 2024.

Klopp signed a contract renewal last week ahead of attempting to lead the Reds to Club World Cup glory in Qatar.

Saturday's final against Flamengo offers Liverpool the chance to secure the first of a possible five trophies this season, with Klopp's side – who won the UEFA Super Cup in August – 10 points clear in the Premier League and through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Atletico Madrid.

Liverpool do not have an old squad – Dejan Lovren, Adam Lallana and James Milner are their only regulars aged 30 or over – but Klopp feels freshening up his options will be vital in the years to come.

The signing of 24-year-old Salzburg forward Takumi Minamino ahead of the January transfer window indicated Liverpool will not be standing still in the market despite their strong position, and Klopp thinks it is only right he committed to that longer-term plan.

"We will see what we can achieve together in that time, but there will probably be a moment where we have to change things," Klopp told ESPN.

"Improve always, but to change things as well and I really thought it makes sense that I do that instead of another manager coming in and having to do this kind of not really thankful job and like rebuild or whatever and then say, 'oh but Klopp would have done different', stuff like this.

"This club became so important to me in a really short time. It's unbelievable, so I feel absolute responsible for probably too much, but nearly everything.

"That's what we try to show with that [contract] extension. We are ready to win whatever we can, but to make sure because there is always a time after me, after another manager, that the club is in the best possible position to carry on in the best possible way.

"At this moment, everyone in the club believes that we need the consolation of the relationship we have with each other, but that it really works out in the future as well. That's important.

"It's not reshaping, but Taki [Minamino] is for sure a player who can help us immediately in the short term and the long term, from an age perspective.

"He's already really good. Everyone could see when we played Salzburg. But still [there is] potential there to become even better.

"It's not a competition, it's just to have different options in different moments and the door is wide open that Taki can come in the team."

Liverpool exited the EFL Cup at the quarter-final stage this week, an inexperienced Reds side suffering a 5-0 defeat at Aston Villa with Klopp having taken his first-team squad to Qatar for the Club World Cup semi-final, which was played less than 24 hours later.

Having been irked by the fixture congestion, Klopp is also frustrated at the potential of an FA Cup fourth-round replay interrupting the Premier League's inaugural mid-season break, which is set for February.

"The problem that we have is the Premier League have decided we have a winter break and the [Football Association] decided the re-game [replay] if you have to play, if you draw in the fourth round, you play the re-game in that week," Klopp said.

"It's incredible. It's just in the winter break. Right? That's when they set the game. Okay, how is that possible? Nobody speaks about these things. I really don't understand that.

"The problem we have now is nobody speaks enough. We don't speak enough to each other so the Premier League, the Football League, the FA, UEFA, FIFA, everyone is planning their own things, and nobody follows that, so there is no common schedule for everybody.

"Look at that. They are the games, we can't do more games."

Takumi Minamino is officially a Liverpool player. A transfer story that broke suddenly has been wrapped up well before Christmas, let alone the January window opening.

The Reds had barely touched down after playing Salzburg in the Champions League when journalists in the know began reporting a potential deal. Within hours, the Austrian club officially confirmed negotiations were taking place after a reported £7.25million release clause was met.

Liverpool saw what the Japan international can offer during the two games between the teams in Europe.

Indeed, Minamino has already scored at Anfield, finding the net in a 4-3 loss back in October. There is a video on Twitter of Jurgen Klopp nodding his head approvingly at that goal, cheekily suggesting he knew all along what was going to happen in the long run.

Minamino was also lively in the first half of the return fixture in Austria, although he was unable to prevent the hosts slipping to a defeat that resulted in them dropping into the Europa League.

However, the 24-year-old can look forward to further outings in the Champions League. A rule change by UEFA means any new addition is cleared for the knockout stages, even if they have played for someone else in the competition that same season.

The Breakdown

Outside of the player’s abilities – more on those to come – one of the main attractions to the deal for Liverpool has to be the price. According to reports, the clause in Minamino's contract means he was available for just £7.25million, a pittance by current prices.

The transfer is a low-risk, high-reward move. Klopp did not desperately need a new addition in the January window, but adding to a position of strength is never a bad thing.

Minamino will not be leaned on heavily to provide immediately; Liverpool's first-choice frontline – Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino – is obvious.

However, what their latest recruit offers is something different to the rest of the supporting cast. Divock Origi is a solid standby who has developed the happy knack of scoring in big games, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seems better suited to a central role in midfield and Xherdan Shaqiri provides no little skill but lacks the top-end speed to run in behind.

While often used on the flanks, Minamino has also played through the middle for Salzburg, both as a centre-forward and also a supporting midfielder in behind the leading frontman. Such versatility, considering the small fee, suggests the English club may have grabbed a bargain ahead of the January sales.

Klopp has added a new dimension to the rotation – and he seemingly likes the way Salzburg develop talent. Mane and Naby Keita both spent time there previously, though they went to Southampton and RB Leipzig respectively before making it to Merseyside. This time, Liverpool have cut out the middle man and gone straight to the source.

Minamino in Opta numbers

Signed from Cerezo Osaka at the start of 2015, Minamino hit double figures for league goals in his first two seasons, though his output dried up a little in the following campaigns.

Still, under Jesse Marsch this term, he has scored five goals and registered the same number of assists in 14 appearances in the Austrian Bundesliga, 11 of which were starts. No Salzburg player has created more goals.

He averages a goal or assist every 91 minutes in domestic action in 2019-20, with that number rising slightly to 102 in the Champions League. It should be remembered, however, that as well as Liverpool, Salzburg were also in contention to qualify from a group that included Serie A runners-up Napoli.

Minamino comes out well in comparison to Liverpool's other forwards. In Europe, only Roberto Firmino can match his three assists this season, while he has a shot conversion rate of 18.18, a fraction below the dynamic duo of Mane and Salah (both 20).

His passing accuracy in the opposing half of 73.38 per cent is lower than all his new team-mates bar Salah (72.19), who may find he is afforded more opportunities to play down the middle in the second half of the campaign.

His impact in the final third matches up well to Salah and Mane in the Champions League: Minamino created 12 chances this season, more than Salah (nine) and just one fewer than Mane.

That said, his impact when running with the ball appears more limited, Minamino having completed just nine dribbles compared to 15 for Mane and 16 for Salah.

Minamino - who will wear shirt number 18 - on the Reds: "Their football is of such a high level and I did feel that they were the champions of the Champions League. Feeling that, it makes me feel even happier that I can play in this team. I'm really happy to be part of that team."

Jurgen Klopp raved about Takumi Minamino's work ethic and attitude as he welcomed Liverpool's "wonderful" mid-season signing.

Salzburg attacking midfielder Minamino will link up with the Premier League leaders on January 1 after completing a medical and agreeing a long-term contract on Monday.

The Reds triggered his reported £7.25million release clause after observing the 24-year-old in their two Champions League victories over the Austrian Bundesliga side.

Klopp said he expects Japan international Minamino to slot comfortably into the high-intensity playing style that delivered European glory last season.

"This is fabulous news – a wonderful signing. We are really, really happy about this," Klopp told the Liverpool website.

"Our supporters have had the chance to see him close up recently, so I don't need to sing too loudly about his qualities as they are already known.

"Takumi is a very quick, very clever player, he finds space between the lines. He is brave with the ball but also brave without the ball – a proper team player. He makes the best of himself for the benefit of others.

"His Champions League experience is a big bonus and coming from the club and organisation he does, we know he'll be well coached, used to an elite environment and had all the right experiences."

Minamino joined Salzburg from Cerezo Osaka in January 2015 and scored 64 goals in 199 appearances for the Austrian club, adding 44 assists.

He was on target against Liverpool at Anfield in October and struck in Salzburg's crushing 4-1 Champions League win over Genk the following month.

"It is fantastic work by our football operations team in how they've handled this transfer," Klopp said.

"[Sporting director] Michael Edwards and the team deserve a lot of credit."

Liverpool have completed the capture of Salzburg winger Takumi Minamino for a reported £7.25million fee.

The Japan international will link up with the Premier League leaders when the transfer window opens on January 1.

Minamino, 24, passed a medical and finalised personal terms on Wednesday and will become the club's first mid-season arrival since Virgil van Dijk joined from Southampton two years ago.

Reports of the Reds' interest gathered pace after Minamino shone for Salzburg in a Champions League loss to Liverpool this month.

The Cerezo Osaka product scored at Anfield in their first Group E encounter in October and said he was thrilled to be moving to the European champions.

"It has been a dream, my dream to become a Liverpool player. And I'm so excited that the moment has come true," Minamino told his new club's website.

"To play in the Premier League was one of my targets. I think this is the top-class league in the world. I was thinking if my career as a footballer progressed smoothly, someday I would be able to play in the Premier League.

"But I never thought I would be able to play in this team and I'm really happy about it. I'm looking forward to it."

Minamino was left highly impressed with the "technique and intensity" he witnessed in the games against Jurgen Klopp's side and wants to boost the club's bid for further silverware.

"Their football is of such a high level and I did feel that they were the champions of the Champions League," said the attacker, who will leave Salzburg after five years that yielded 42 goals at 20 assists in the Austrian Bundesliga.

"Feeling that, it makes me feel even happier that I can play in this team. I'm really happy to be part of that team.

"My target is to win the Premier League and the Champions League, and to make good contributions to the team."

Liverpool have completed the capture of Salzburg winger Takumi Minamino for a reported £7.25million fee.

Jurgen Klopp suggested the arrival of Takumi Minamino at Liverpool is imminent and admitted he would have liked him in the squad for the Club World Cup semi-final against Monterrey.

Minamino was reportedly due to undergo a medical with the Reds on Wednesday ahead of a January move from Salzburg said to be worth £7.25million.

Klopp was forced to send Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino on as the Premier League leaders searched for a winner against the CONCACAF Champions League holders, who were level at 1-1 in Doha heading into injury time. 

Firmino turned home a cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold in the 91st minute to seal a 2-1 victory and set up a meeting with Flamengo in the final, but the Liverpool boss conceded having Minamino on a bench that included two goalkeepers would have been a big boost.

However, the German was unwilling to say more with the transfer yet to be confirmed.

"I cannot speak about it, sorry. You are too early!" said Klopp.

He added with a smile: "If he would come – it would have been good if we could bring him on. But he's not yet our player so we have to wait for that, sorry."

Liverpool fielded a team of Under-23 players for their EFL Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Tuesday due to their Club World Cup commitments and lost 5-0.

Ahead of a congested festive period Klopp was delighted to have avoided an additional 30 minutes against Monterrey.

"I was actually afraid of the extra time to be honest, so I was more than happy when Bobby scored that goal," said Klopp, who deployed Jordan Henderson at centre-back with Virgil van Dijk absent due to illness.

"We had to do a few changes because we had no other options, but we wanted to do some other changes. It means we left Trent out, we left Bobby out and Sadio out, and that gives you then the opportunity when the game is not decided to make the decision.

"That Bobby scored the goal is just wonderful. He came on and was immediately in the game, a really good situation, pass from Mo, maybe not clear enough but he helped us a lot, Sadio with his power and stuff, Trent [supplied] immediate, dangerous crosses, so it helped.

"Staying on track is part of our game. You for sure cannot plan a goal like this, you only think it's not impossible. It was really a super, super goal."

On the chances of Van Dijk returning for the final, Klopp said: "He was yesterday or the day before on the pitch for a couple of minutes until the media left and then unfortunately he had to leave as well, not because of the media but because he didn't feel well.

"But this morning no training was possible and he couldn't play. It was difficult for Hendo to deal with but he did really good and we will see, I don't know how quick he can recover. We will see."

Jurgen Klopp engaged in a comical exchange with a Japanese journalist at Friday's news conference, hinting at Takumi Minamino's imminent arrival at Liverpool.

Salzburg star Minamino has been one of the Austrian club's star players over the past year, impressing in the Europa League last season and in the Champions League this term.

Liverpool had been able to take a particularly close look at the Japan international when the two clubs played one another twice in the Champions League group stage, with Minamino again catching the eye against the Reds in their 2-0 win on Tuesday.

Since then, media speculation has claimed Liverpool have already secured a deal to sign the attacking midfielder in January.

Klopp, who was speaking following confirmation of his new four-and-a-half-year contract, would not be drawn on the rumours but took a mischievous tone when a Japanese journalist raised his hand for a question.

"Why are you here?" Klopp quipped, adding: "I think we'll see you more often now."

But instead of asking Klopp about Minamino, the reporter actually queried the German on Shinji Kagawa, the Japanese player he worked with at Borussia Dortmund.

Klopp replied: "Look, he doesn't speak about Minamino, he speaks about Shinji Kagawa!

"I love that, that's great, and smart. I loved working with Shinji, a great experience because I didn't have much of an idea about Japanese football before I met Shinji. We saw him on video and signed him from watching him on video.

"We were not sure about him, but after first time training, in the dressing room, all of the coaches were just hugging each other, [saying], 'Oh my God, we've got a super player'.

"I had two years with Shinji, and you know better than I do, but the attitude of Japanese players is outstanding, smart, technically really good usually, work-rate outstanding, really dynamic and nice people.

"I still try to follow his career – it was just a great experience."

Earlier, Klopp batted away a question relating to the apparently imminent arrival of Minamino, though he did acknowledge rating the 24-year-old highly.

"There's nothing else to say," Klopp remarked. "We speak about it in the moment like we do about all transfers – or potential transfers – when it's sorted, so [I have] nothing to say about it.

"He's a very good player, I can say that, but I saw many good players in the Salzburg team, more than I wanted to see, but that's it."

Murmurs about Pep Guardiola's potential departure from Manchester City are not going away.

Recent reports have suggested the successful Catalan could look to leave the Etihad Stadium at the end of the season.

It now appears Guardiola has the power to make that happen.

 

TOP STORY – GUARDIOLA'S ESCAPE ROUTE

An exit clause in the contract Guardiola signed last year gives the two-time Premier League winner the chance to leave City at the conclusion of the campaign, reports the Daily Mail.

Guardiola's deal, which he renewed in May 2018, runs through to 2021, but it seems he will have a decision to make when the club's title defence comes to a close.

City have formulated contingency plans, according to the report, and are "known to be admirers" of former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Guardiola, 48, has been linked with a return to Bayern Munich but last month said he was "open" to signing another contract extension with City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United missed out on Liverpool-bound Takumi Minamino because the Old Trafford club were unaware of a £7.25million exit clause in the winger's Salzburg contract, says the Mirror.

- Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund want to keep Jadon Sancho in January but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United are confident of pushing through a transfer for the England international, claims the Mirror.

- Inter are monitoring Argentine attacking midfielder Rodrigo De Paul but are not prepared to meet Udinese's €35m asking price, according to CalcioMercato.

- Carlo Ancelotti is set to fly to London for talks with Everton as the managerless Merseysiders look to beat Arsenal to the ex-Napoli boss, says the Sun.

- Ivan Rakitic appears set to stay at Barcelona after all. The midfielder wants to continue at Camp Nou after breaking back into the starting XI over the past four matches, reports Marca.

Salzburg sporting director Christoph Freund has confirmed Liverpool are in talks to sign midfielder Takumi Minamino.

It was reported on Monday that Jurgen Klopp's side are keen to bring the 24-year-old to Anfield in January after being impressed by his performances in this season's Champions League.

Minamino is said to have a release clause of just £7.25million and apparent interest from rival clubs is said to have pushed Liverpool into making a move.

Speaking on Thursday about the rumours, Freund said: "I can confirm there are currently discussions with Liverpool. It is an honour to have such clubs interested in our players."

Japan international Minamino has scored nine goals and provided 11 assists in 22 appearances in all competitions this season.

He scored in the 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in October and posed a threat in the first half of the meeting in Austria this week, which the Reds won 2-0 to confirm their place in the last 16.

Minamino would be eligible to play for the holders in the knockout phase after UEFA scrapped a rule saying no player can appear for two different teams in the competition in the same season.

Manchester United were also linked with the winger, along with Serie A giants Juventus and Roma and Bundesliga sides Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, Salzburg's affiliate club.

Salzburg cruised past Genk 4-1 on Wednesday to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the last 16 of the Champions League.

Jesse Marsch's side did not hit the heights of the 6-2 thumping of their Belgian opponents in September but they scarcely needed to get out of second gear against Hannes Wolf's limited outfit.

Patson Daka – who had earlier missed a glaring opportunity – put the Austrian side ahead after 43 minutes before Takumi Minamino doubled their advantage just 98 seconds later.

The impressive Hwang Hee-chan added a third in the second half before Mbwana Samatta headed in a consolation five minutes from time. 

Erling Haaland added a final flourish for Salzburg, though, to ensure they go into their clash with Liverpool on December 10 knowing they will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Jurgen Klopp's side.

Daka was guilty of a glaring miss 10 minutes before the interval, blazing over from eight yards after being teed up by Hwang's clever backheel.

He made up for that two minutes before the interval, though, by bundling home after Gaetan Coucke had failed to hold onto Dominik Szoboszlai's half-volley from long range.

The hosts' misery was compounded just two minutes later when Minamino lashed home from 15 yards after being picked out inside the penalty area by Enock Mwepu.

Genk came agonisingly close to reducing the deficit shortly after the hour mark but Sebastien Dewaest's header from a corner crashed back off Carlos' right-hand post.

Any hopes of a grandstand finale were extinguished in the 69th minute when Hwang slotted home from substitute Haaland's low cross.

Haaland bizarrely had a goal ruled out for a perceived foul before Samatta nodded in from close range after Carlos had failed to hold a tame shot from distance.

Teenage Norwegian Haaland did get on the scoresheet to keep up his record of scoring in every Champions League game this season three minutes from time, with Salzburg's attention now turning to that clash with the Premier League leaders in two weeks.

 

What does it mean? Salzburg take it to the final matchday

It is testament to the job that Marsch has done at Salzburg that his side will take on Liverpool in two weeks knowing a win will see them progress to the last 16.

If that happens and Napoli beat Genk – which would be expected after this woeful display from the Belgian side – then the reigning champions would be knocked out.

Haaland belatedly makes his mark

Haaland was a surprise absence from the starting XI and he certainly made up for lost time after his introduction. He created a goal, had one disallowed and then struck late on to become just the third player to score in his first five Champions League appearances, joining Alessandro Del Piero and Diego Costa in that illustrious group.

Coucke gift wraps opener for Salzburg

Genk's capitulation before the interval was kick-started by some woeful goalkeeping from Coucke. Szoboszlai's shot should have been gathered with the minimum of fuss but the Genk goalkeeper fumbled it right into the path of Daka, who could scarcely believe his luck.

What's next?

Genk are in domestic action on Saturday against Sint-Truiden before concluding their Champions League campaign against Napoli on December 10. Salzburg, meanwhile, face Admira in the Bundesliga on Sunday before that crunch clash with Liverpool in a fortnight.

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