Jordan Henderson has dismissed the rumour of a bust-up between Liverpool team-mates Alisson and Andy Robertson in the aftermath of the 3-1 defeat to Leicester City.

After the Premier League champions conceded three times in the space of seven minutes to lose at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, speculation circulated on social media over the possibility of Jurgen Klopp sensationally leaving the club. 

There were also posts online relating to an alleged altercation between goalkeeper Alisson - who was involved in a mix-up with Ozan Kabak for Leicester's second goal - and defender Robertson in the dressing room after the game. 

Speaking ahead of Tuesday's Champions League tie against RB Leipzig, Henderson revealed the players saw the funny side of the rumours as he made clear the squad remains united in a bid to turn their fortunes around. 

"I don't think I even need to comment on something like that," Henderson told the media.

"Someone's sitting behind a keyboard making rumours up about the manager or the players in the dressing room. 

"I quite like the one where Robbo and Ali were having a fight. That made us chuckle a bit."

Henderson also offered praise to Klopp - who stated in his pre-match media conference that he has no plans to leave his job – and called on the players to put in a performance to reward their manager's unwavering support during a difficult period. 

"The manager is really good in situations like this. Through adversity he's the one we'll listen to the most. He's always there for us as players and tries to protect us as much as possible," the England international said.  

"Deep down, we know as players we take full responsibility and it's down to us to change this tough period. 

"There are no question marks over how he reacts after games. He probably reacts the opposite to how people would think and he handles situations like that very well. 

"That's why we want to go and put a performance on - for the team, but for him as well." 

Liverpool will play the away leg against Leipzig in Budapest due to travel restrictions currently in place in Germany amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

The Reds will hope a resumption of their Champions League campaign can help lead to an improvement in results on the pitch, having lost three on the spin in their domestic title defence. 

Leipzig reached the semi-finals in the previous season and qualified for the knockout rounds this term ahead of Manchester United. However, their tally of 12 goals conceded in the group stage was the highest of any team to reach the last 16. 

Jurgen Klopp insists he and his Liverpool players are ready to fight and turn their form around, while strongly rejecting suggestions he could be ready to walk away from Anfield.

A 3-1 weekend defeat to Leicester City, after Mohamed Salah gave the Reds a second-half lead at the King Power Stadium, led Klopp to concede his defending champions will be unable to catch Premier League leaders Manchester City.

In their previous match, Liverpool were beaten 4-1 at home by City, who are 13 points better off with a game in hand.

Attention now turns towards the Champions League, where Liverpool will look to continue an impressive recent record in Europe's premier competition when they face last season's semi-finalists RB Leipzig.

The rumour mill went into overdrive after the Leicester defeat, with unsubstantiated online speculation suggesting Klopp might step down amid dressing room ructions.

The 53-year-old also experienced personal tragedy when his mother Elisabeth died last week, with coronavirus travel restrictions preventing him from attending the funeral.

Despite being kept away from matches, a group of Liverpool fans looked to rally around Klopp by hanging a banner in his honour outside the Kop end of Anfield - a gesture he appreciated but felt was unnecessary.

"The banner is nice, not necessary I don't think. I don't feel like I need special support in the moment [but] it's nice, very nice," he said ahead of Tuesday's match, which has been moved to Budapest.

"What was the other thing? That I get the sack or leave by myself or what? Neither, nor. I don't need a break.

"The last thing I want to do is talk about a private thing in a press conference. Everyone knows that privately we [Klopp's family] had a tough time. That wasn't only for three weeks, that was a much longer time.

"We always deal with it as a family 100 per cent.

"When I come here at the football club to work, I can split things. I can switch off. I don't carry things around. If I'm private, I'm private. If I'm in my work place, I'm here. Nobody has to worry about me.

"I might not look like this because the weather's not cool and the beard gets more and more grey, I don't sleep a lot. That's all true. But I'm full of energy.

"The situation is a challenge. I don't want the situation but, now we are in it, I see it as an interesting challenge."

Liverpool's five Premier League losses since the turn of the year is one more than they suffered over the course of the previous two completed seasons.

Klopp is realistic over the magnitude of such a fall but insisted he and his players are ready to roll up their sleeves.

"Nobody wrote a book about being in a situation like this and how you sort it," he said. "But we will sort it by playing football, by sticking even more together, by fighting with all we have, by learning more than we have in each season we played before. That's the plan we have.

"We've learned a lot but in the moment a lot of people aren't happy for the results. I am responsible for that, 100 per cent. But we played still some pretty good stuff. You can forget that, we cannot because that is the start of changing things.

"Do you change a situation like we are in with bad football. I've never heard of that.

"We have to be dominant. Massive challenge, I'm ready, the boys are ready and we will give absolutely everything to sort it."

Klopp added: "Thanks for all the support. I'm very, very grateful for these kind of things. But they can really think about other things because no one has to worry about me."

Naby Keita will not be fit enough to face his former club despite returning to training this week. The midfielder has not featured since December's 7-0 win over Crystal Palace.

Dayot Upamecano will be a Bayern Munich player in 2021-22, meaning Liverpool and Chelsea must go back to the drawing board.

The Premier League rivals had each been linked with a move for the RB Leipzig centre-back as they look to add to their options at heart of defence.

Now they each must look to different targets come the end of the season, with injuries and poor play at the back having derailed the Reds' hopes of winning a second successive league title.

But which centre-backs could be part of Liverpool and Chelsea's plans to pose a more serious challenge to Manchester City next season?

Here we look at four players who could be playing their football at Liverpool or Stamford Bridge next season.

Bremer

The Torino defender is reported to be Liverpool's top close-season target after an impressive season in Serie A.

His 75 clearances are the second-most in the Italian top flight among defenders, while Bremer has also excelled at making recoveries.

Indeed, he has tallied 114, putting him 11th among defenders to have played at least 10 league games. Only four defenders have won more aerial duels than Bremer's 47.

David Alaba

Chelsea have been linked with the man Upamecano is seemingly set to replace, though Alaba’s wage structure may reportedly be a sticking point for the Blues.

Alaba's versatility to play across the back four and in midfield would certainly appeal to Chelsea and former Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Austria international has consistently demonstrated his prowess in attack as well as at the back.

He has created at least 17 chances in every season since 2010-11 and has crafted 10 in 19 league appearances this season.

Ibrahima Konate

Could Leipzig be raided again? Both Chelsea and Liverpool have been linked with Konate, the France Under-21 international signed from Sochaux in 2017.

Injuries have been a problem for Konate, who has played only 15 league games since the start of last season.

However, when he has played extensively, he has shown his quality. 

Konate featured 28 times in the Bundesliga in 2018-19 and was sixth in the league with 100 aerial duels won, contributing to 12 clean sheets, a tally only bettered by two players – his Leipzig team-mates Marcel Halstenberg (15) and Willi Orban (13).

Jules Kounde

Liverpool are thought to be keen on Kounde, but they will likely face competition from across Europe for the Sevilla defender's services.

Kounde has emerged as one of the finest young defenders in European football is again excelling this season.

With 106 recoveries in 2020-21, Kounde – who has also previously been linked with Barcelona and Manchester City – has proven a reliable presence in the heart of defence, while he can also start attacks.

His 136 successful passes into the final third are more than Barca's Clement Lenglet (132) and Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos (128).

Ramos (84.77) and Lenglet (80.49) have a higher accuracy percentage on those passes than Kounde's 76.84, but at just 22 he has the time and the talent to develop into one of the world's top centre-backs.

Roses are red, violets are blue, have we got the perfect Valentine's Day content for you!

Questionable rhymes aside (okay, very questionable), love is in the air as long-standing couples and newly formed relationships celebrate the day of romance on Sunday.

The world of football is certainly no stranger to the language of love, so before you crack open a bottle of red and exchange cheap knock-off gifts with your significant other why not get some inspiration for love with our Valentine's Day facts with some help from Cupid!

(Well not Cupid, Opta – but the team at Opta are full of love!)

MATT LE KISS-IER LOVES TO SCORE ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Valentine's Day is of course a day for love (and overpaying for those last-minute flowers and cards you forgot to buy…).

Two players have been particularly good at spreading the joy on February 14th with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier and ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen each scoring three times in the Premier League on this date – the most of all players.

Here's something even more interesting about that stat, though – each man's tally is a result of scoring a Valentine's Day hat-trick.

Le Tissier registered three against the Reds back in 1994, while Owen took home the match ball with a treble versus Sheffield Wednesday four years later.

Owen's three goals are part of 12 Liverpool have tallied on the day of love – comfortably the most by a team. Arsenal follow on seven, with Aston Villa and Southampton on four.

A ROSE FOR THE LADY?

Flowers are synonymous with Valentine's Day but none more so than the rose.

Two players named Rose have plied their trade in the Premier League – Danny (194 appearances) and Matthew (five appearances). The former, of course, is an England international who with his marauding runs from full-back has often been a, ahem, thorn in the side of opponents…

There are other love-themed names to have featured in the top flight. Valentino Lazaro played 13 times in the Premier League for Newcastle United on loan last term, while Valentin Roberge made 10 appearances for north east rivals Sunderland.

The Black Cats also had Donald Love on their books, the defender having previously represented Manchester United once in the top flight.

FOXES RACK UP THE CARDS

Whether from a partner or a secret admirer, it's always nice to receive a card or two on Valentine's Day.

Unless of course you're playing in the Premier League, in which case you want to see the referee keep their cards in their pockets.

In this regard, Leicester City have not been overly successful – the seven yellow cards representing the most received by a team on Valentine's Day. Arsenal follow closely behind with six, with Manchester City on four.

The Foxes also fare badly when it comes to red cards, having picked up two on February 14th – Danny Simpson and Hamza Choudhury account for those dismissals. The only other player to have been sent off on Valentine's Day is Everton hero Duncan Ferguson ... no, we weren't shocked either.

THE BEST BROMANCES

It goes without saying that we don't need to confine our love sharing to one manufactured day of the year…

No, we should be spreading the joy in our hearts all year round and these strike partnerships certainly succeed in that category.

Going back to the start of the 2015-16 season, no two players have combined for more goals than Spurs duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min (33).

In fact, Kane features three times in the top-five – also ranking third with Christian Eriksen (19), and sharing 18 with Dele Alli.

Manchester City pairing Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are second with 20, while Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez (18), who fired Leicester to shock title glory in 2015-16, also feature.

If reports are to be believed, Lionel Messi will leave Barcelona at the end of the season.

However, his next destination remains a mystery.

The United States, though, could be next on the list for the record six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – MIAMI MOVE ON THE CARDS FOR MESSI?

Lionel Messi could be keen on joining David Beckham's Inter Miami in MLS, claims Sport.

Messi, whose contract is set to expire, is tipped to leave Barcelona at the end of the season amid strong links to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Premier League giants Manchester City.

But the six-time Ballon d'Or winner could be lured to the United States, where Beckham co-owns Inter Miami.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to The Sun, Manchester United are battling Barca and Real Madrid to sign Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde. United are reportedly determined to bolster their defence and Kounde has emerged as a key target.

Liverpool have made Torino defender Bremer their top transfer target at the end of the season, reports the Mirror. Despite the January arrivals of Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, Liverpool still want to strengthen their defence.

- Spanish journalist Siro Lopez says Sergio Ramos has made his decision to leave Madrid. It comes as the likes of United, PSG, Juventus and Chelsea eye the superstar Madrid captain on a free transfer.

Madrid are interested in Real Betis midfielder Nabil Fekir, reports Estadio Deportivo. Inter, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Napoli are also believed to be eyeing the Frenchman.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola believes Liverpool can still retain their Premier League crown, despite Jurgen Klopp surrendering the title.

City are seven points clear atop the table, and 13 ahead of Liverpool, with a game in hand following Saturday's 3-0 win over Tottenham.

Liverpool manager Klopp admitted the titleholders cannot hope to go back-to-back this season after suffering a 3-1 defeat at Leicester City.

But Guardiola told reporters: "From what I saw, the way they played today against Leicester, of course we have to lose games but of course they can do it.

"It is the same Liverpool that I met in the last years but in the boxes they are not as clinical as they were before. The quality they played, to do what they've done against Leicester, that they've not been able to get past halfway.

"Football is boxes and sometimes you have that period where you have to create more to score and every time they arrive they score. Football is a mood, feeling, not tactics sometimes. Sometimes it leaves us.

"The quality of the team is still there. I don't think they drop the quality of press or play, they always create more than the opponent. I don't like to suffer against them but as a spectator, I always enjoy watching Liverpool."

City remain unbeaten in their last 23 matches in all competitions (W20 D3), conceding just six goals during this period – the Manchester giants have extended their record winning run for a top-flight side across all competitions to 16 matches.

Guardiola's City have not trailed for a single minute in any of their last 15 Premier League games, since a 2-0 loss to Tottenham in November.

In the league's history, only Arsenal have embarked on a longer run of successive games without going behind (a streak of 19 matches between December 1998 – May 1999).

City, meanwhile, are the first side to keep 14 clean sheets from their opening 23 Premier League games in a season since neighbours Manchester United (17) and Chelsea (14) in 2008-09.

Liverpool lost a third successive top-flight game under Jurgen Klopp for the first time and Manchester City extended their record winning run in Saturday's Premier League action.

The Reds conceded three goals in a seven-minute spell as they went down 3-1 to Leicester City - managed by their former boss Brendan Rodgers - at the King Power Stadium.

Klopp's men are now 13 points adrift of City, who brushed aside Tottenham 3-0 at the Etihad Stadium later in the day for their 16th win in a row in all competitions.

Burnley also scored three unanswered goals at Crystal Palace to move further clear of the relegation zone, while Brighton and Hove Albion and Aston Villa played out a 0-0 draw.

Leicester City 3-1 Liverpool: No Vardy party for Klopp after latest setback

Liverpool's trip to Leicester marked Klopp's 300th game in charge of the club, though the German had little to celebrate come full-time after his side capitulated late on.

Klopp became the ninth manager to reach that landmark figure for the Reds and the day initially got off to a good start for his side.

Mohamed Salah gave the visitors the lead with his 10th away league goal of the season - the first player in the division to reach that mark - but then came a Leicester onslaught.

James Maddison made it eight goal involvements in his last nine league outings, before Jamie Vardy put Rodgers' side ahead.

It was the former England international's eighth Premier League goal against Liverpool - only against Arsenal (11 goals) has he found the net more times.

Harvey Barnes then rounded off the scoring with his eighth Premier League goal of the season, making him the highest-scoring English midfielder in the division this term.

The last time Liverpool lost three league games in a row was in November 2014 under Rodgers, who is the first ex-Reds manager to beat his former side since Roy Hodgson did so with West Brom in April 2012.

Manchester City 3-0 Tottenham: Goal-crazy Gundogan shines again for Guardiola's juggernaut

After setting a record for the number of successive wins for an English top-flight club in all competitions with their midweek FA Cup win at Swansea City, the Citizens picked up from where they left off in a straightforward victory against Tottenham.

City have now won 16 games in a row and are unbeaten in 23 in all competitions since losing 2-0 to Spurs in November's reverse fixture, conceding just six goals during that record-breaking run.

Incredibly, Pep Guardiola's men have not trailed for a single minute in any of their 15 league games since that loss at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - only Arsenal, 19 games between December 1998 and May 1999, have embarked on a longer run.

Ilkay Gundogan has been City's star performer across their perfect streak, with his brace here taking him to nine Premier League goals in 2021 - the most of any player across Europe's top five major leagues since the turn of the year.

Rodrigo had earlier given the home side the lead from the penalty spot after getting the nod over goalkeeper Ederson, who may not have got on the scoresheet but did at least register an assist - the third goal he has set up for City in all competitions.

On the back of their 5-4 extra-time loss to Everton in the FA Cup last 16, Spurs have now shipped eight goals in their last two games - the most a Jose Mourinho-managed side has conceded in a two-game period in all competitions.

Crystal Palace 0-3 Burnley: Zaha-less Eagles fail to fly

The result at Selhurst Park had a sense of inevitability about it before a ball was even kicked due to Wilfried Zaha being ruled out with a hamstring injury.

Palace have now lost 18 of their last 20 Premier League games in which star man Zaha has been absent, failing to score in 16 of those 18 defeats.

What was surprising, though, is the fact Burnley netted three times, matching their tally from their previous 10 away league matches combined.

Johann Berg Gudmundsson opened the scoring after five minutes - the first time he has netted in back-to-back Premier League appearances in what was his 108th game in the competition.

Jay Rodriguez's fifth league goal against Palace - only against Nottingham Forest (six) has he bagged more - had Burnley two up and Matt Lowton rounded off the scoring.

It was the right-back's first top-flight strike since April 2013, a run spanning some seven years and 313 days.

Brighton and Hove Albion 0-0 Aston Villa: Martinez repels Seagulls in stalemate

Brighton were held to a goalless draw by Villa but it was not for the want of trying as they attempted 26 shots, which is the most they have ever managed in a Premier League game.

Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez had another inspired game with nine saves in total on his way to keeping a seventh away clean sheet in the Premier League this season - only Brad Friedel in 2009-10 (eight) has kept more in a single campaign for the club.

Brighton continued to push for a goal right until the end and were helped in their pursuit of an opener by substitute Adam Lallana, whose four chances created was the highest of any player on the pitch, despite only playing 28 minutes.

A point for Brighton does at least extend their unbeaten run to six top-flight matches, something they last achieved in November 1981 with a run of eight.

This is perhaps a fixture the neutrals should steer clear of in future, given that the last seven league games in which Brighton have hosted Villa have seen just eight goals scored, with neither team netting more than once in a match.

Jurgen Klopp admits Liverpool cannot hope to retain their Premier League crown after a late collapse condemned them to a 3-1 defeat at Leicester City.  

Mohamed Salah opened the scoring at the King Power Stadium on Saturday, but the Reds conceded three times in the space of seven crazy minutes. 

The result means Liverpool have lost three in a row in the league for the first time since November 2014 – when current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge –and face a real fight to finish in the top four.  

Klopp was not happy with the VAR decision to award the home side’s equaliser, with the direct free-kick from James Maddison initially ruled out for offside, as he acknowledged any title challenge is now over. 

"I don't think we can close that gap this year, to be honest," Klopp – who reached the personal milestone of 300 games in charge of Liverpool - told the media.  

"We have to win football games and big parts of our football was today again really, really good. We have to do it consistently. We have to avoid mistakes; we have to avoid misunderstandings.   

"We cannot avoid mistakes of VAR or stuff like this, but all the rest that is in our hands we have to avoid. Today, in two situations, we didn't do that and that's why they could score two goals. The rest of the football game is really good.   

"Yes, if you win football games maybe you could score today more goals, but that's the steps you have to make. First, you have to perform again; the result is always massively related to the performance.

"We were good enough to win for a long, long period in the game, but not until the end because of a couple of things." 

Asked to confirm he was conceding the title, he replied: "Yes, I can't believe [the question], but yes."

Liverpool have now conceded 32 goals in 24 league games during a turbulent campaign, just one fewer than the entire 2019-20 championship-winning season. 

Next up is a trip to Budapest for the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against RB Leipzig, followed by the small matter of a Merseyside derby against Everton at Anfield. 

"In the moment it's tough, it's tough, and I know the only way out of the situation is to play good football, to fight, to work hard on these kinds of things," the former Borussia Dortmund boss said. 

"We are still able to do that, and we will keep doing that, we have to do that. Then we will get the results and we will see where we end up.  

"The situation is not easy, that's clear, but it's our situation and how it always is with your own situation, you have to sort it yourself and that's what we will do."

Andy Robertson bemoaned Liverpool's capitulation in their 3-1 loss at Leicester City and acknowledged his side cannot let their alarming slide continue any longer.

The reigning Premier League champions conceded three times in the space of seven minutes late on in Saturday's clash at the King Power Stadium after Mohamed Salah had opened the scoring.

James Maddison equalised for Leicester with a free-kick and Jamie Vardy profited from Alisson's latest howler to put Leicester in front before Harvey Barnes added a third.

Liverpool's third Premier League loss in a row – the first time that has happened since November 2014 under Brendan Rodgers – leaves them hanging on to fourth place.

And left-back Robertson, who started all three of those defeats, admitted his side need to quickly resolve their problems if they are to salvage their season.

"It's a huge blow, you can say that," he told BT Sport. "For large parts of the game we were dominant and then that's not us out there. 

"One setback – we've been so good at bouncing back and staying in the game but we were opened up and we played into their hands. 

"We were 2-1 down with 15 minutes to go but we opened completely up. When that happens against a really good Leicester team you will get punished.

"We played with a lot of confidence for large parts of the game – played the ball really well. Then I don't know what happened in the last 10-15 minutes.

"It can't happen in a game like this. We really need to look at that. Every game is massive for us now. We need to put an end to it."

Liverpool lost 4-1 against Manchester City last weekend, with Alisson at fault for two of the goals, and have now conceded seven times in their last two Premier League games – as many as in their previous 10.

Indeed, Jurgen Klopp's men have now shipped 32 goals in 24 top-flight matches this term, which is just one fewer than they let in throughout the whole of their title-winning 2019-20 campaign.

The defeat came in Klopp's 300th game in charge for Liverpool in all competitions, making him the ninth Reds boss to reach that milestone figure.

The goal that started Leicester City's late turnaround against Liverpool was "a clear offside" and they should not have even been awarded the free-kick, according to Jurgen Klopp.

Mohamed Salah fired Liverpool ahead in the 67th minute and Leicester felt they had been harshly denied a penalty when a VAR review deemed that Thiago Alcantara's foul on Harvey Barnes occurred outside the box.

However, James Maddison's free-kick found the far corner in the 78th minute, with VAR overturning an offside decision against Daniel Amartey – who did not get a touch on the delivery – after Roberto Firmino's foot was adjudged to have put the Leicester defender in a legal position.

Jamie Vardy was gifted a goal when debutant Ozan Kabak and Alisson failed to deal with a ball over the top, and the Foxes had a third goal in the space of eight minutes when Barnes was released by Wilfred Ndidi and slotted in a cool finish.

Liverpool consequently fell six points behind Leicester, who moved up to second in the Premier League, and 10 adrift of leaders Manchester City.

"We conceded a goal, which is a really tough one to take. I know we discuss VAR a lot, but I think we all agree it was a turning point in the game," said Klopp.

"I have seen it a couple of times and the moment when they stop the situation, where you look who is offside and who isn't, he didn't even touch the ball yet, so it means it's still an individual decision someone makes. That's really hard because for me it looks like a clear offside in that moment, because he has to touch the ball. That's the moment it's yes or no.

"The second goal is a misunderstanding, we said they need to get used to each other and they were fine for 75 minutes.

"It was a really good game. They were one position ahead of us – maybe now more – but on the pitch that was not obvious, we were the clear dominant side.

"We played football we wanted to play, we avoided their counter-attacks, we scored a really nice goal, had more chances. We have to work harder to get more chances and maybe score more goals, but the game was really good and then we concede two goals.

"The third one we lose the ball too easy and one pass and they are done. That's something I don't like. We were much too open at that moment and that is not OK."

Alisson made two errors in Liverpool's 4-1 loss to City last weekend and Klopp was unsure whether that was a factor in his mix-up with Kabak, though he said he did not hear the goalkeeper make his presence known to his centre-back as he rushed out of the box.

Klopp said: "We tried everything. We were confident, Ali was confident. He played a super game, made super saves. Then at that moment - maybe because of last week, who knows - he came out, I didn't hear him shouting and to be honest I'm not sure if he said something or not. Ozan doesn't know if he's coming or not and that leads to the second goal."

The Liverpool boss was disappointed with the way his team collapsed after the equaliser and questioned the foul that preceded Leicester's equaliser.

"The turning point was the first goal. That's not okay, but that's the point we take as criticism for ourselves that it changed too much with one goal," he said.

"Even when the goal was really tricky – I don't think it was even a foul because Barnes jumps in the situation. We didn't react well to that and I take that.

"They were lucky, for me. They know it probably. They finished the game and deserved the three points, but we have to take our observations."

Leicester City scored three goals in the space of seven minutes to stun Liverpool as the Premier League champions slipped to a 3-1 defeat in Jurgen Klopp's 300th match in charge. 

Mohamed Salah's carefully placed finish gave the visitors a 67th-minute lead at the King Power Stadium, yet from a position of strength they suffered a dramatic collapse to slip to a third successive loss. 

James Maddison equalised with a free-kick from a tight angle – the strike was initially ruled out for offside prior to a VAR check – before a calamitous moment between Alisson, at fault for two goals in last Sunday's 4-1 loss to Manchester City, and debutant Ozan Kabak gifted Jamie Vardy his first goal of 2021. 

With Liverpool still reeling, Harvey Barnes wrapped up a first win for Brendan Rodgers over his former employers since the end of his Anfield reign – and moved his current club six points clear of them in the table. 

Real Madrid are considering a move for Kalidou Koulibaly, while Manchester United are targeting Jadon Sancho in a cut-price deal.

Amid uncertainty over Sergio Ramos' future at Madrid, the LaLiga giants continue to be linked with centre-backs.

They seemingly have plenty of options – and Napoli star Koulibaly is among them.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID LIKE KOULIBALY

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane likes Napoli defender Koulibaly, according to AS.

The report says Bayern Munich star David Alaba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is still Madrid's first option.

With Ramos potentially leaving when his contract expires at campaign's end, AS also says Villarreal defender Pau Torres and Sevilla's Jules Kounde will be expensive.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United opted not to sign Borussia Dortmund star Sancho ahead of 2020-21, and it could pay off. Eurosport reports United could land Sancho for just £50million (€57.1m) in the next transfer window. The Bundesliga club were demanding about £100m (€120m) for Sancho last year.

- Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus is seemingly attracting plenty of interest. Kicker reports Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Manchester City and Juventus are interested in the three-time Germany international.

- Arsenal look set to strengthen ahead of next season. The Sun reports they are close to finalising a deal for 18-year-old Sporting CP forward Tiago Tomas for £20m (€22.8m).

- On loan at Real Betis from Barcelona, Emerson may not return to Camp Nou. CalcioMercato reports Milan are considering a move for the right-back.

- Former Milan and Chelsea forward Alexandre Pato will join Orlando City on a one-year deal, according to Fabrizio Romano and The Mane Land. Pato has been without a club since leaving Sao Paulo in August last year.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies were "making big steps" ahead of their potential debuts for the club.

Amid an injury crisis in defence, the Premier League champions added Kabak, on loan from Schalke, and Davies at the end of the mid-season transfer window.

With Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez sidelined and Joel Matip set to miss the rest of the season, Liverpool will also be without Fabinho for Saturday's trip to Leicester City.

Kabak or Davies could debut at the King Power Stadium and Klopp said the pair were making strong progress.

"They are calm people, both Ben and Ozan, willing to learn, really great attitude," he said.

"They really throw themselves in everything that is ahead of them. What a defender should do. Making big steps, adapting to the way we play, again, that's important.

"We have still a clear way to defend which is important because if both of them would be on the pitch, then there are still nine players who are used to what we did before. So even the two players would do something differently that would lead to a strange situation. So, yeah, it's all good.

"It's all good so far and now we have to make this our set. We have to change again because of Fab and now we will see, which solution we will take."

The clash with Leicester City will mark Klopp's 300th game in charge of Liverpool, who are fourth in the table.

Liverpool have won on their past three Premier League visits to Leicester, who this season have already lost five league home games – one more than in the whole of the last campaign.

Klopp's men will be seeking to avoid a third successive league defeat this month after losing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City. They last lost three games in a row in the Premier League in November 2014, when current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge of the Reds.

Jurgen Klopp will take charge of his 300th Liverpool game when the Premier League champions head to Leicester City on Saturday.

The German has brought the glory days back to Anfield since replacing Brendan Rodgers in 2015, winning the Champions League in 2018-19 before ending a 30-year wait for a top-flight title last season.

However, injury problems have contributed to a dip in form this term and they trail Manchester City by 10 points, leaving Klopp in a less celebratory mood than he might have been ahead of his landmark.

"First and foremost it doesn't feel like [I'm approaching my 300th game] in this moment, I can tell you," he said ahead of his meeting with Rodgers' side this weekend.

"It's not really important. It's something that when I'm not here any more I will think about the time I had here.

"I know that my job is still the present and the future, and not the past. Game number 300 is very important to me, and games one to 299 not a little bit at this moment.

"We know that we are not completely clueless or whatever, but we know that we have to be successful in the future and that's what we try.

"I don't get the noise around the results...but I know what the situation is and I talk about results in general.

"Even though I know the reason why we are not flying, I expect us to win more football games than we did to be honest, and that's what I'm concerned about."

While the Reds' title defence may be crumbling under immense pressure from City, Klopp's record still makes for impressive reading.

In his 299 games to date, the 53-year-old has won 177, with only Kenny Dalglish (185) having claimed more victories at the same stage of his reign.

His win percentage stands at a club-record 59.2, putting him above the likes of Bill Shankly (51.9) and Bob Paisley (57.4), with Liverpool having scored 614 goals under his charge, conceding 308.

Klopp will need to stick around on Merseyside for quite some time if he wants to rack up the highest number of wins, with Shankly having triumphed 415 times from his 799 matches.

His top priority will be aiming to respond to the setback of suffering consecutive defeats for the first time in his tenure, having been beaten by Brighton and Hove Albion before losing to Pep Guardiola's in-form side.

The last man to oversee three losses on the bounce for Liverpool was Foxes boss Rodgers, with Klopp's predecessor having achieved a 50 per cent win ratio at the club.

History weighs heavily against Rodgers piling the misery on Klopp, with managers who have previously been in charge of Liverpool having lost their last 12 Premier League matches against the Reds by an aggregate score of 39-8.

The last former Liverpool boss to win against them in the Premier League was Roy Hodgson with West Brom back in 2012.

Jurgen Klopp promised Alisson has the full support of Liverpool's dressing room as he backed the goalkeeper to bounce back from his Manchester City nightmare.

The Reds boss also revealed that Fabinho has suffered an injury blow, ruling the midfielder turned stand-in centre-back out of Saturday's trip to Leicester City.

In his tale of two Brazilians, Klopp said he had taken Alisson aside this week to check on the shot-stopper after his error-plagued performance in Sunday's 4-1 defeat to Pep Guardiola's men at Anfield.

Two poor clearances with his feet presented City with chances from which they ruthlessly capitalised, and now Liverpool are 10 points adrift in the Premier League title race, the champions' hopes of a successful defence seemingly in tatters.

Klopp said: "We had of course a little talk. If it was about encouragement or what, I don't know. It's just a little talk.

"He was not happy that it happened, of course, but it's very important in a moment like this to realise in a long career goalkeepers make mistakes.

"For a goalkeeper of the quality of Alisson Becker it's pretty rare that he makes this kind of mistakes, and that he makes two of them in one game, that's clear as well.

"But goalkeepers are used to making mistakes. It means they have to stay in a game. They concede a goal and they know earlier than maybe all the rest of the world – 'I should have saved it' – and have to deal with that always.

"He has just a few days in between the City game and this game and there was absolutely no real criticism from our side, from the boys, the players around him, because everybody knows how good he is.

"He is a very calm person and now the next game is coming up and he can play his normal level again, then everything will be fine."

Klopp said Fabinho had a "little muscle issue" that rules him out of contention for the King Power Stadium clash with a Leicester side who sit three points above Liverpool in the table.

Ozan Kabak, on loan from Schalke, could be an option to replace Fabinho at centre-back, but Klopp would not be drawn on who would figure in his defence.

He said Liverpool must "fight through a situation like this because nobody will help you", and pointed to the threats posed by Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Harvey Barnes.

The German boss described fast-improving winger Barnes as "one of the biggest talents ... an unbelievable player".

Klopp must also know Vardy will relish facing a defence that has looked as vulnerable as Liverpool's in recent times.

"Jamie's obviously a proper challenge in this league, the way he plays and the way he gets set up by his mates," Klopp said.

He said taming Vardy would require a collective effort.

"That's a proper job to do, but you only can do it always with the whole team," Klopp said.

"Jamie's a world-class player for sure in a specific area of the pitch and with his speed that's really tricky."


What have Liverpool got to worry about?

In many senses, Klopp should be relishing this trip. Liverpool have won on their last three Premier League visits to Leicester, who this season have already lost five Premier League home games – one more than in the whole of the last campaign.

Leicester have plenty of incentive, however, not least wanting to avoid losing four consecutive home top-flight matches to a specific opponent since a run of five defeats between 1999 and 2003 against Manchester United.

Liverpool are in a worrying dip, and a trip to a top-four rival comes at a time when West Ham, Chelsea and even Everton are rivalling them for a spot in the Champions League places.

Klopp's men will be seeking to avoid a third successive league defeat this month after losing at home to Brighton and Hove Albion and Manchester City. They last lost three games in a row in the Premier League in November 2014, when current Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers was in charge of the Reds.

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