Despite winning LaLiga and the Champions League last season, Real Madrid want to secure a bright future to follow their trophy-laden present.

Having confirmed the signings of Aurelien Tchouameni and Antonio Rudiger this off-season, Madrid managed to bolster their squad in two areas of the pitch.

Meanwhile, they are on the verge of securing the long-term futures of three foundational pieces in those successes last term.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID TO SECURE BRAZILIAN TRIO

Real Madrid are all but set to confirm renewed contracts for their Brazilian trio of Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Despite tricky initiations for each, all three have now established themselves as vital players under Carlo Ancelotti, as evidenced by their new release clauses.

Militao and Rodrygo have reportedly extended to June 2028, with respective €500million and €1billion release clauses.

After a breakout season, culminating with his goal in May's Champions League final, Vinicius will reportedly extend to June 2027, along with a €1bn release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

– Manchester United are now considering a move for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic as an alternative to Frenkie de Jong, Calciomercato is reporting.

– Juventus have made a €23m (£19.5m) move for Liverpool's Roberto Firmino as they finalise the termination of Aaron Ramsey's contract, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

Jules Kounde's departure from Sevilla appears likelier with the defender close to agreeing personal terms with Barcelona, per Fabrizio Romano.

– Arsenal have confirmed their interest in Lucas Paqueta but are yet to make Lyon an offer, The Times has reported.

There will be no more arrivals at Liverpool in this transfer window says manager Jurgen Klopp, unless they experience injuries or sell someone.

The Reds have already added Darwin Nunez, Fabio Carvalho and Calvin Ramsey to the squad since the end of last season, and have been consistently linked with a move for a midfielder in recent weeks.

Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Sporting CP's Matheus Nunes have been reported targets, but Klopp has appeared to rule out a move for either, or anyone else, in this window.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the German coach said when asked if there would be further signings: "Unless we have injuries or player sales, no, we have our squad [for the coming season].

"Hopefully, there won't be any [injuries], so Liverpool supporters can focus on other things."

Former Fulham youngster Carvalho has impressed in pre-season so far, while Darwin bagged four goals in a 5-0 rout of RB Leipzig on Thursday, with Carvalho providing the assist for the Uruguayan striker's fourth at Red Bull Arena.

Liverpool came close to an unprecedented quadruple last season, winning the EFL Cup and FA Cup, before being pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City and losing the Champions League final 1-0 to Real Madrid.

However, Klopp is determined not to let the last day denial in the league and defeat in Paris sour their achievements, and wants his players to use any negatives to their advantage in the new season.

"It ended how we liked it – it ended with a parade," he said. "We would've loved to celebrate even more. If there's anything good about losing it is that there's always the next day.

"If you're smart enough, you can pick up information about your defeat in order to do better and that's the plan. There was obvious disappointment in losing but I was over it pretty quickly.

"The parade helped me massively and let's try it again. Nothing would be different had we won the league or the Champions League. I'd still be sat here wearing the same shirt and the same shorts. We'll try to use it and analyse it in the right way."

Former Liverpool owner and chairman David Moores has died at the age of 76.

Liverpool released a statement on Friday saying the Premier League club is "deeply saddened" over the passing of Moores on Friday, just a few weeks after the death of his wife, Marge.

Moores served as chairman of the Merseyside club for 16 years from 1991, which is when he completed a takeover at Anfield.

He became honorary life president after selling his majority stake in the Reds in 2007. 

The Moores family held a majority stake in Liverpool for over a half a century.

Liverpool won 10 major trophies during his tenure, the highlight being an incredible Champions League triumph in 2005.

The club said in a statement: "The thoughts of everyone at Liverpool FC are with David's family and friends at this difficult time."

Andy Robertson insists Liverpool had no concerns over Darwin Nunez after the Uruguayan hit four goals in a pre-season thrashing of RB Leipzig, as he urged fans to be patient with the Reds' new striker.

Jurgen Klopp defended Darwin from criticism after he failed to score in Liverpool's first two pre-season outings, but the new recruit put in a terrific performance against the Bundesliga outfit.

The former Benfica striker scored four times after coming on as a half-time substitute in a 5-0 win in Germany, including a hat-trick within 20 minutes of entering the action.

Speaking to the club's website after that victory, Robertson urged patience as the €75million arrival settles in on Merseyside. 

"It always takes time to get used to new signings. We've all been through it ourselves, so it's no different," the left-back said.

"Maybe there's outside pressure on him in terms of the fee and everything like that, but to us it doesn't matter. People have come in on small fees, big fees, it doesn't matter. 

"We know they have to take time to get used to our system, get used to our style of play, to get used to how we want them to play and things like that.

"He's adapting, he's getting fitter, he's getting stronger – like all of us are in pre-season – and he needs time to adapt. Today will do him a world of good. Today will give him a lot of confidence in terms of in front of goal and everything, which is obviously so important for a striker. 

"So, [we're] delighted about that and we don't have any worries about him. It's just about having a bit of time with him, having a bit of patience, and we've got that and hopefully the Liverpool fans have it as well."

Meanwhile, Liverpool's latest pre-season outing came on the fifth anniversary of Robertson joining in an £8million move from Hull City.

Robertson has made 161 Premier League appearances for Liverpool since joining, a tally only bettered by Mohamed Salah (180), Sadio Mane (169) and Roberto Firmino (165) in that time, while only Salah (46) has bettered his tally of 45 league assists since July 2017.

Looking back on his five years at Anfield, the Scotland international expressed pride at following in the footsteps of compatriots such as Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness in winning silverware at Liverpool, as he targeted bringing up a decade with the club.

"On that day it was a huge honour for me to sign for the club," he recalled. "A lot of people said that the club don't really win stuff without Scottish players, so obviously when I signed then I wanted to achieve it. 

"We've obviously got a long history of Scottish players playing for this club, legends in their own right, and the fact I can be a part of this club, it meant a lot that day and it still means a lot now. So, hopefully many more years to come.

"Five years have flown by. It felt like yesterday that I was signing and it's crazy that that time has passed. I'm a wee bit older, a wee bit wiser now, certainly look a bit older now than the day I signed! 

"It's amazing playing for this club, I don't want it to end, I want it to continue for as many years as I can. But five years is incredible but now I look to the next five. I'm always one to look forward and hopefully we can achieve a lot more things."

Sadio Mane has rejected any notion of a rivalry with former Liverpool teammate Mohamed Salah after the new Bayern Munich signing won his second African Player of the Year honour on Thursday.

Mane, 30, previously won the award in 2019, and earned it again after helping Senegal win their first African Cup of Nations crown, while being named Player of the Tournament.

In the process, he became Senegal's all-time leading goalscorer, finding the net 33 times from 91 senior caps.

Mane and Salah have now split the past four African Player of the Year awards evenly, with Salah winning in 2017 and 2018, and Mane now the winner in 2019 and 2022. The award was not given out in both 2020 and 2021.

Speaking with Goal ahead of the ceremony, Mane insisted he has a great relationship with Egyptian icon Salah.

"People sometimes say there's a rivalry between me and [Salah], but you know I don’t see myself having a rivalry with any player to be honest," he said.

"We have good relations, we text each other. I think the media always try to [aggravate] things.

"You know I don’t just have [relationships] with one player, but with every player I’ve played with in the world. 

"You can ask whoever you want in the club, or wherever I go. I have good relationships with all players."

Mane's time with Bayern has started well, scoring from the penalty spot just five minutes into his debut friendly against D.C. United this week in a 6-2 win.

Sadio Mane has been named African Footballer of the Year for 2022, seeing off competition from former Liverpool team-mate Mohamed Salah and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy at Thursday's CAF awards.

The Bayern Munich new boy, who was also crowned the continent's top player in 2019, helped Senegal win their first Africa Cup of Nations title in February, scoring the winning penalty to down Salah's Egypt in the final.

The forward scored three goals throughout the competition in Cameroon, after which he was crowned Player of the Tournament.

One month later, Mane was influential in another shoot-out win over the Pharaohs, as Senegal sealed qualification for the World Cup in Qatar later this year. 

On the domestic front, meanwhile, Mane scored 23 goals in all competitions as Liverpool won the EFL and FA Cups during his final season at Anfield.

Mane made 51 appearances across a mammoth 2021-22 campaign with the Reds, a tally only bettered by Jordan Henderson (57), Diogo Jota (55) and Allison (54).

Oliver Kahn, chief executive of Mane's new employers Bayern, was the first to offer his congratulations to the 30-year-old, writing on Twitter: "We are very happy about Sadio Mane's award. 

"FC Bayern has never had an African Footballer of the Year in its ranks in its long history, which is a special honour for our club.

"We are very proud that he is now on the ball for our club and have many big goals with him."

While Chelsea shot-stopper Mendy missed out on being crowned the continent's best player, he could draw some consolation from Senegal's clean sweep of awards.

The Lions of Teranga were named CAF's team of the year, while boss Aliou Cisse won Coach of the Year and midfielder Pape Matar Sarr scooped the Young Player of the Year gong.

 

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp called it "a perfect night" for marquee recruit Darwin Nunez as he came off the bench at half-time and scored four goals in his side's 5-0 friendly win against RB Leipzig on Thursday.

It was 1-0 at the break after Mohamed Salah netted the opener eight minutes into the friendly, with Liverpool making four substitutions before heading back out for the second 45 minutes, including Darwin replacing Roberto Firmino up front.

The former Benfica striker did not have to wait long to get on the scoresheet, stepping up to the penalty spot and converting to make it 2-0 in the 48th minute.

Just three minutes later Darwin was the beneficiary after a turnover deep in the Leipzig defence, getting slipped through on goal by Trent Alexander-Arnold before finishing hard and low across the goalkeeper into the bottom-left corner.

He completed his hat-trick with a lunging tap-in from the edge of the six-yard box, getting on the end of a low cross from Harvey Elliott, before completing his rout with a fourth in stoppage time.

Speaking to the media after the win, Klopp said he was excited to see his side clicking in the second half with their near-£100million man, and that it is the best way to quell any chatter about his hefty purchase price.

"When we struggled a little bit, it was always after three minutes' break we played football again, then a deep breather and play football again," he said. "I wanted us to be a bit more hard with ourselves, go over that point – it's pre-season. 

"I think we did that in the second half, obviously. 'Hendo' came on, and [James Milner] – they both were lively. 

"Hendo all of a sudden as an eight, went in behind and we created chances. Then Mo gives Darwin the penalty and Darwin – Pandora's box was open. That'a of course a perfect night for him.

"We always think that if you pay a lot of money then the players feel no pressure or whatever – they are all completely normal human beings.

"If the first touch is not perfect then all of a sudden… this generation of players read social media, which is really not smart, but they do. All of a sudden you get in a rush and these kinds of things. 

"That's the best way obviously to stop all these discussions. He's a different striker to what we have or what we had, but he's a really good one."

Liverpool's next friendly will take place away against Salzburg next Wednesday.

Darwin Nunez opened his Liverpool account in some style after scoring four times in the second half in a 5-0 thrashing of RB Leipzig on Thursday.

Nunez left Benfica for Liverpool in a deal potentially worth up to £85million (€100.5m) last month, but struggled to leave his mark in the opening 4-0 pre-season defeat to Manchester United in Bangkok.

The Uruguay international again failed to find the net in the 2-0 win over Crystal Palace, leading Jurgen Klopp to downplay murmurs of impatience and scrutiny by backing Nunez just two games after his arrival.

And the striker soon showed his qualities at the Red Bull Arena, converting from the penalty spot three minutes after being introduced at half-time, before latching onto a Trent Alexander-Arnold pass to finish coolly for his second.

Nunez completed his treble in the 68th minute, displaying an attacking nous that will have satisfied Klopp after ghosting into space to turn home Harvey Elliot's low cross.

But the 23-year-old was not finished there, adding his fourth in the closing stages by curling home after Fabio Carvalho's offload.

Attacking partner Mohamed Salah provided the other strike in what proved to be a routine friendly victory for Liverpool, who next face Salzburg on Wednesday.

Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Liverpool centre-back Ben Davies has joined Rangers for a reported £4million fee, including add-ons.

Davies was brought in from amid an injury crisis in January 2021, when Liverpool were missing Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Joel Matip and Fabinho, who himself is more at home in defensive midfield.

After failing to make a Premier League appearance for Jurgen Klopp's side, Davies spent the 2021-22 season on loan at Championship side Sheffield United, playing 22 league games.

The 26-year-old ended an 18-month spell at Anfield on Tuesday, signing for Europa League finalists Rangers on a four-year deal.

"Rangers is a fantastic club, a big club. Ben belongs on a big stage for sure. European football as well," Klopp told Liverpool's website after the move was completed.

"This presents a proper opportunity to demonstrate his quality and composure. As a person he's as good a guy as you could hope to meet.

"It's a smart piece of recruitment from Giovanni van Bronckhorst, to be honest. Perfect for all parties. He has himself an accomplished defender, who is entering his peak years and whose character is top drawer."

Davies is expected to be the replacement in defence for Calvin Bassey, who is reportedly being targeted by Eredivisie champions Ajax and Premier League side Brighton and Hove Albion.

West Ham are reportedly confident they will be able to land 20-year-old Lille midfielder Amadou Onana after increasing their bid for the Belgium international.

Onana, who made his senior international debut on June 3 against the Netherlands in Nations League action, enjoyed a terrific first season in Ligue 1 after leaving Hamburg in Bundesliga 2 for a £6million fee.

The defensive midfielder totalled 41 club appearances in the season, including eight games in the Champions League, but the Hammers may face some competition for his signature from within the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – WEST HAM SET SIGHTS ON LILLE'S BIG BELGIAN YOUNGSTER

According to The Athletic, West Ham had a £25million bid rejected by the French club, but the Evening Standard claims that the English side are confident an increased bid of £30m plus add-ons will get the job done.

However, The Athletic's report states that there is also interest in Onana coming from Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, which could throw a wrench in West Ham's plans.

West Ham appear to still have plenty of business to take care of, with the Evening Standard also linking them with a £30m move for 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, as well as trying to convince Jesse Lingard to return after a successful loan stint in the latter half of the 2020-2021 season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Sport, Barcelona are trying to attach Memphis Depay to their offer for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after not meeting the €65m asking price, while Marca claims Chelsea have already agreed to personal terms with him and have offered Sevilla €55m.

– AS is reporting that Atletico Madrid have enquired with Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives about the superstar's interest in joining the club.

Leeds United and West Ham are said to be competing for £34m Rennes striker Martin Terrier, according to L'Equipe.

– Calciomercato claims Paris Saint-Germain have been offering Georginio Wijnaldum to Roma and Milan in an effort to move him on from the club, despite arriving on a free transfer 12 months ago.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester City have a bid ready to go for 23-year-old Brighton fullback Marc Cucurella to replace the outgoing Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Fabinho has backed Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz to step up in Sadio Mane's absence for Liverpool, though he acknowledged the Uruguay striker may need time to adapt to the Premier League.

Liverpool narrowly missed out on a historic quadruple last term, winning both domestic cups but finishing as runners-up in the Premier League and Champions League as Mane scored 23 goals in all competitions.

The off-season has seen Jurgen Klopp remould his attack after Mane left for Bayern Munich, signing Nunez from Benfica in a deal potentially worth up to £85million (€100.5m), while Diaz made a positive impact after joining from Porto in January.

While Fabinho acknowledged Mane is a "big loss" for Liverpool, he remains confident the Reds' new-look attack will fire them into contention for more silverware next campaign.

"Darwin may need a bit of time to adapt, let's see, but a player like him can really change a team," Fabinho told the Athletic.

"He's a proper number nine. He's a goalscorer. He scored in both games against us in the Champions League. We know how good he is. 

"Even though we lost Sadio, I still believe that we can fight for everything. The team is still really strong.

"For a long time it was always Sadio on the left side. But we have Luis on the left side and we saw how well he played in the second half of last season. Luis will become increasingly important.

"At the end of the season, I spoke a lot with Sadio. He told me about the situation that he could leave. I was always saying to him, 'come on Sadio, stay here. You can win the Premier League and the Champions League right here, don't leave'. But I think he had already made his mind up. We had to respect that.

"Sadio had a really good story in a Liverpool shirt. He played for six years here and during that time he won everything you can win and he decided that he wanted a new challenge. That's okay.

"After the parade in Liverpool, everyone said goodbye to him. We knew there was a good chance he would be leaving. I always kept some hope that he would still stay but then it was all confirmed.

"Losing Sadio is a big loss. He was one of our best players but it's something that we can't change. We have to deal with it. Now other players have to step up and take on greater responsibility."

Next season will also see Fabinho assume a key role as Brazil look to end a 20-year wait for a World Cup win in Qatar, with the Selecao beginning their campaign against Serbia on November 24. 

And the midfield enforcer admitted ending his nation's long drought is in his thoughts as he suggested the timing of the tournament could be a positive for players.

"For us as players, I actually think it's good for us that the World Cup will be in November and December," he added. "Maybe around that time of year, we'll be in our best shape of the season.

"One of my big targets for the season is to play in the World Cup and try to win it for my country. 

"It's been 20 years since Brazil last won the World Cup and the people at home want so much for us to win it for the sixth time.

"I'm focused on giving my maximum to play a good season for Liverpool but I can't lie, the World Cup is also in my thoughts."

Jurgen Klopp has conceded Diogo Jota will likely miss the Community Shield final for Liverpool, while Alisson "should be fit" to face Manchester City.

Jota sat out of the pre-season opener in Bangkok on Tuesday, a 4-0 defeat to Manchester United, before Alisson joined the forward on the injury list ahead of the 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace on Friday.

Klopp had previously suggested he was concerned by a recurrence of Jota's hamstring issues, the forward having initially aggravated the problem he suffered when away with Portugal on international duty in June.

After victory over Palace in Singapore, where Mohamed Salah and Jordan Henderson were on target, Klopp provided an update on the injured duo.

"Ali, I think, has the chance for City and Diogo not," Reds manager Klopp told reporters as he discussed the upcoming Community Shield on July 30.

"Ali, he feels a muscle, abdominal. It's nothing serious but, again, we prepare a full season. So he can train but just not like before, so he should not play in the moment. Not normal goalie training but he has a pre-season, so he doesn't lose time. 

"But yeah, these kind of things happen. The boys have to travel a lot and train and you never know exactly. 

"It's only little things, nothing serious but we have to be careful because the rest of the season is much longer than the start."

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was another to limp off in the pre-season clash with Patrick Vieira's side, and Klopp hopes the "top-class" England international will soon recover from a muscle injury setback.

"Of course, it's very disappointing for us because Oxlade trained all the time really well since the pre-season started," he added.

"It happened obviously with Ox in the past when it gets more intense and something can happen. Now this is just a muscle thing and that's OK. We had worse situations, so I'm OK with it. 

"I don't know exactly how long it will take but he will be back and then it's all fine. He is obviously a top-class player and he can help us."

As injury fears mount, Klopp's attention turned to the upcoming Qatar World Cup, with July effectively serving as the first pre-season before unselected players will have to keep fitness across November and December.

Klopp, a regular critic of the Nations League and international football schedule, labelled this pre-season as like no other as he lamented the lack of concern for player welfare.

"Normally our pre-season is always the basis for the rest of the season, this time we have the first part of the season that's interrupted," he continued. 

"We are already kind of used to it because with the pandemic we had breaks and starting again.

"So it's not completely new to us anymore and when these players have time off, for example, if they are not at the World Cup, they never have real time off, they have a training schedule to fulfil so they don't lose a lot in these periods, which is very important for us.

"That's why we can give them at least as long as possible time off with family and holiday and stuff like this, but they just need it.

"Apart from that, the World Cup is for all top teams in football pretty much the same, especially in England it's the same because we play immediately.

"If you are in the final or the third-place [game] then you play again a week later - and then you play 26th, 31st, 2nd and stuff like this.

"Obviously the guys in the Premier League like the spectacular. I've said it often enough, nobody really cares about the players in these moments but that's how it is."

Liverpool face a nervous wait to discover if Diogo Jota is set for another injury absence, with Jurgen Klopp fearing a recurrence of the forward's hamstring problems.

Jota sat out the Reds' first game of their pre-season tour, as a heavily rotated side went down 4-0 to Manchester United in Bangkok.

The Champions League finalists have now flown on to Singapore for their next friendly, against Crystal Palace on Friday, but they are set to be without the Portugal attacker again.

Jota originally injured his hamstring while with Portugal during the international break in June, and Klopp speculated that the issue has been aggravated upon his return to training on Wednesday.

"Diogo is unlucky," Klopp told Liverpool's website. "Diogo was not involved [against United] because of an injury he got at the end of his season.

"He trained yesterday fully and got injured again, so that's really not cool. But we have to wait for the results. He had further assessments this morning, so we have to see."

Jota is not the only player who looks poised to miss the clash with Patrick Vieira's side, with Alisson a doubt.

"Ali was not 100 per cent, he finished the session earlier, was doing the warm-up and felt something, so now there we have to wait as well," Klopp added.

While Klopp's heavy rotation against United did not prove conducive to the final result, it nevertheless banked crucial minutes for several squad members, with 32 players used in all in Thailand.

Klopp hinted at a similar approach for Palace, adding: "Some might get 45 minutes tomorrow, we have to see, but again it's the period of the year where we have to be really careful with different things. 

"These are our footballers, these are the only boys we have. We have a lot of them, but these are the only ones we have, so we have to take care, and we bring them in the best possible situation."

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp remains "completely convinced" by Darwin Nunez after the club-record signing was criticised for his performance against Manchester United.

Nunez joined Liverpool from Benfica in a deal potentially worth up to £85million (€100.5m) last month and made his first appearance in Tuesday's 4-0 loss in Bangkok.

The Uruguay international played the final half an hour of the contest and missed a glorious opportunity to open his account for the club when blazing over the bar late on.

That led to many already questioning the big-money signing, with footage of his miss shared widely on social media platforms.

But Klopp has no doubt that Nunez, signed effectively as a replacement for Sadio Mane after he joined Bayern Munich, will have a big impact in Liverpool's star-studded forward line.

"I'm not worried at all," he said at a news conference on Thursday ahead of facing Crystal Palace in Singapore.

"The general judgement [on Nunez] is absolutely nil interest [to us]. It will be like this and we all know it.

"It's kind of a game or a joke for some people to pick out some situations where a player's not doing well. That's only a game from [fans of] other clubs, which is normal.

"Our fans probably do [the same] with signings of Manchester United. We cannot take this seriously."

Nunez scored 48 goals in 85 games for Benfica in all competitions and averaged 1.2 goals every 90 minutes in the Portuguese Primeira Liga last season.

When only factoring in non-penalty goals, Nunez averaged exactly a goal a game in the Portuguese top flight – the best return of any player to have played at least 1,000 minutes across the Primeira Liga, LaLiga, Serie A, the Bundesliga and Premier League last season.

He also had the highest conversion rate of all players with 55+ non-penalty shots in the 2021-22 campaign (27.2 per cent). 

That explains why Liverpool spent so big to sign the 23-year-old, but Klopp does not want supporters to focus too much on his price tag.

"The only real important thing is how I judge the situation for the player and I couldn't be more calm – completely convinced about his potential," the German said.

"And actually, what our people – all Liverpool supporters in the whole world – should know is that new players need time and get time.

"We should be the first ones to delete the fee we paid [from our thinking]. Just delete it – it's not important.

"It's like this with strikers. He missed a chance and then there are some nervous people going, 'oh my god, he missed a chance' – I can promise you it will not be the last."

Nunez is expected to make his second Liverpool appearance in Friday's friendly with fellow Premier League side Palace.

Klopp added: "We do absolutely everything to not only see the things we saw from him at Benfica – from there, we go [further].

"Again, it is my responsibility to help Darwin fulfil his full potential and I'm completely calm. I think, with half a football brain, you don't doubt the potential of Darwin Nunez."

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