Liverpool beat Bayern Munich but fears mount for Klopp
An injury to Daniel Sturridge and speculation over Philippe Coutinho take the sheen off a fine performance
Liverpool made a statement of intent when they beat Bayern Munich 3-0 in a pre-season friendly in Germany on Tuesday night, but the result has been overshadowed by another injury to Daniel Sturridge and the news that Neymar's move to Paris Saint-Germain is on.
Instead of celebrating the win, manager Jurgen Klopp will now be sweating over the fitness of a key striker and, even more worryingly, the future of Philippe Coutinho, who has been earmarked by Barcelona as the player to replace their PSG-bound superstar.
Coutinho has been linked with a big-money move to Barcelona all summer by the Spanish media, despite ever-more forceful denials from Klopp. If the Spanish giants are presented with a payment of £198m for Neymar, they will be unstoppable in the transfer market.
According to the Daily Mail, Barca's first act after cashing their mammoth cheque will be to up their offer for Coutinho to over £100m.
"They are under intense pressure to make a statement signing from supporters distraught at losing Neymar and will go back to Liverpool with an improved offer after a £72m bid was rejected earlier this summer," says the paper.
There is hope for the Reds as Barcelona are also chasing alternatives, including Ousmane Dembele of Borussia Dortmund, PSG star Angel Di Maria and teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe of Monaco, says the paper.
A more immediate issue for Klopp is yet another injury to England striker Sturridge, who appeared to suffer a thigh injury in the act of scoring Liverpool's third and final goal against Bayern.
What should have been the icing on the cake could end up leaving a sour taste in the mouth for Reds fans.
"The injury-prone Liverpool striker chipped an exquisite finish over Bayern goalkeeper Sven Ulreich," says The Guardian. But in doing so "sustained a thigh injury that forced his own substitution with four minutes remaining. The England international will have further tests before the full extent of the problem and any lay-off is known."
It could be another "cruel blow" for the striker who appeared to be in fine form, says the Daily Telegraph.
"The incident marred an otherwise encouraging night for Klopp… [his] side have looked outstanding in their friendlies so far, but defeating Bayern is a different level."
Sturridge's strike came after first half goals from Liverpool's two flyers, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.
"The manner in which Klopp's side ran such an accomplished side ragged on their own turf will have many wondering where this side is heading over the next 12 months. On this evidence, expect the opening weekend to sound like a starting pistol to Klopp's sprinters."