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Liverpool agree £111m fee with Brighton for Caicedo



Liverpool have agreed a British record transfer fee of £111m with Brighton for midfielder Moises Caicedo.

After Brighton rejected a succession of bids from Chelsea, it remains to be seen whether the Blues will now match that amount.

Brighton had set a fee in excess of £100m for Caicedo and had said they felt no-one would reach it.

However, Liverpool have now done that, which leaves the 21-year-old Ecuador international free to go for a medical.
Liverpool lost midfielders Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to the Saudi Pro League last month but signed Caicedo’s Brighton team-mate Alexis Mac Allister in June for £35m.

Former Reds captain Henderson, 33, joined Al-Ettifaq in a deal worth £12m plus add-ons, while 29-year-old Brazilian Fabinho switched to Al-Ittihad for £40m.

Speaking on Friday, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I got told I can confirm a deal with [Brighton] is agreed.

“What did change is that we are a club with not endless resources, so things we didn’t expect, a couple of things happening in the summer [Henderson and Fabinho], stuff like this.

“We didn’t think about that before the summer, to be honest and when it happened, we gave it a go and obviously, the club was really stretched there, to be honest.”

Klopp said he “didn’t know” whether Caicedo was due on Merseyside for a medical on Friday and added he was not sure whether this would be the Reds’ final business in the transfer window.

The fee agreed for Caicedo exceeds the £107m Chelsea paid for Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez earlier this year. The Seagulls would also profit if Caicedo is sold by Liverpool because of a sell-on clause in his contract.

Caicedo joined Brighton from Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle for £4m in February 2021 although he did not make his Premier League debut until April 2022.

He asked to leave Brighton in the January transfer window earlier this year. Arsenal then had multiple offers turned down for Caicedo before the player signed a new contract with the Seagulls until 2027 in March.

Klopp has been looking at various options to rebuild his squad after they finished fifth in the Premier League last season and failed to qualify for the Champions League.

However, the price they are prepared to pay for Caicedo comes as a surprise, as in In April, the club said they would not make a move for England midfielder Jude Bellingham because of the money involved.

The 20-year-old later joined Real Madrid in a deal that could reach 133.9m euros (£115m).

Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia, 19, has also been on Klopp’s list of potential transfers, but the Reds have seen three bids rejected by the Saints, who reportedly value the Belgian at £50m.

While all the noise was around Chelsea’s efforts to sign Caicedo, it is understood Reds chief executive Billy Hogan worked quietly behind the scenes to get this deal in place.

Brighton had a figure they wanted for Caicedo – someone they believe could go on to become one of the world’s best – and Hogan’s approach allowed Liverpool to get there.

It left Chelsea out-negotiated and out-manoeuvred and may deliver to Klopp one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League – albeit at a fee that reflects that.
Klopp has spoken previously about the huge sums of money involved in transfers and the implications it might have for the future of football.

In 2016, the German questioned spending £100m on a player after Manchester United re-signed France midfielder Paul Pogba for a then world record £89m.

“The day that this is football, I’m not in a job any more, because the game is about playing together,” Klopp said.

“Other clubs can go out and spend more money and collect top players. I want to do it differently.

“I would even do it differently if I could spend that money.”

When asked about those comments during his news conference before Sunday’s game against Chelsea, Klopp said: “Everything changed. Do I like it? No. Did I realise I was wrong? Yes.

“I’m not blaming anyone but it’s just the market. In the end, we as a club have to make sure that, with our resources, we get the best possible player.

“We aren’t in a dreamland and can’t just point at a player and get them to come in. Sometimes one door closes and another opens up.

“I said that day what I thought and now I realise I was wrong. Easy to admit that.”

In April, Klopp compared talk of big-money transfers with “a five-year-old asking for a Ferrari for Christmas”.

“We cannot have six players in a summer, everyone for £100m,” he said.

“What we need and what we want, we try absolutely everything to get it, but there are moments when you have to accept that this or that is not possible for us – you step aside and do different stuff.”

With Arsenal spending £105m on England midfielder Declan Rice and Klopp in desperate need of reinforcements, Liverpool have joined the clubs willing to go above the £100m mark in order to secure a top player.

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European Leagues

Europa League leading scorers ahead of semi-final fixtures




Marseille’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the leading scorer in this season’s UEFA Europa League ahead of the semi-final fixtures in May

Marseille’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is the leading scorer in this season’s UEFA Europa League ahead of the semi-final fixtures in May.

The former Arsenal captain is ahead of Roma’s Romelu Lukaku and Brighton’s João Pedro on the goal chart.

The Gabonese has ten goals to his name so far.

UEFA Europa League top scorers ahead of semi-final fixtures:

10 goals – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Marseille)

7 goals – Romelu Lukaku (Roma)

6 goals – João Pedro (Brighton)

5 goals – Victor Boniface (Leverkusen), Michael Gregoritsch (Freiburg), Viktor Gyökeres (Sporting CP), Fotis Ioannidis (Panathinaikos), Juninho (Qarabağ), Mohammed Kudus (West Ham), Darwin Núñez (Liverpool), Mohamed Salah (Liverpool), Gianluca Scamacca (Atalanta) and Patrik Schick (Leverkusen).

Meanwhile, Marseille will face Atalanta in the semi-final stage, while Bayer Leverkusen will tackle AS Roma.


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European Leagues

Liverpool defeat Atalanta 1-0 but crash out of Europa League on aggregate




Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta with the Italian side reaching the semi-finals 3-1 on aggregate on Thursday.

Liverpool were knocked out of the Europa League by Atalanta with the Italian side reaching the semi-finals 3-1 on aggregate on Thursday.

Atalanta are in the last four of a European competition for the first time since 1988, despite Mohamed Salah’s early penalty giving Liverpool a 1-0 second leg win, thanks to their three-goal lead established in the quarter-final first leg at Anfield last week.

In what is becoming a sobering climax to the season, Liverpool have won just three of their last nine games in all competitions and again looked tired after already having played 52 games this campaign.

Jurgen Klopp may well only have the League Cup to show for his final season on Merseyside as the German’s team have been eliminated from the FA Cup and Europa League and trail Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

Gian Piero Gasperini called Thursday’s match probably the most important Atalanta had ever played and his players were hailed as heroes at the final whistle by a pulsating crowd at the Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo.

Fireworks were shot into the air from behind the stands while in the ground supporters bounced and roared at a huge victory for their team against giants of European football.

Atalanta last reached the semi-finals of a European competition in 1988 when they were knocked out of the old Cup Winners’ Cup by Mechelen.

Atalanta were then a Serie B team but the future is increasingly bright for a historically small, provincial club which has been punching well above its weight ever since Gasperini took charge in 2016.

Reaching the last four even trumps their run to 2020 Champions League quarter-finals, where they were desperately unlucky to lose to Paris Saint-Germain.

That run came at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, as Bergamo became the epicentre of a deadly global health crisis.

And Atalanta still have the opportunity to crown Gasperini’s reign with the club’s first major trophy since the Italian Cup in 1963.

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European Leagues

Bayer Leverkusen qualify for Europa League semis after edging West Ham




Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen reached the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday and stretched their undefeated

Newly-crowned Bundesliga champions Bayer Leverkusen reached the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday and stretched their undefeated run in all competitions this season to 44 matches.

The German side drew 1-1 at West Ham in the second leg of their quarter-final tie and went through 3-1 on aggregate.

Michail Antonio put West Ham ahead on 13 minutes before Jeremie Frimpong levelled in the 89th minute for Xabi Alonso’s side.

Bayer Leverkusen will face Roma for a place in the final.

“I think we felt it in the first half, for me, it was a typical English crowd. They were pushing West Ham unbelievably. We were lucky in the first half if we’re honest,” Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka told TNT Sports.

“It was a different phase in the second half, we controlled the game. We are happy we got through.

“We competed much more. If you see over 180 minutes, the better team go through.”

Last weekend, Bayer Leverkusen won the Bundesliga for the first time, ending Bayern Munich’s 11-year grip on the title.

They remain in contention for a treble trophy haul this season as they also face second-division Kaiserslautern in the German Cup final on May 25.


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