Liverpool transfer round-up as Reds receive Salah exit and Karius return updates

Liverpool are currently enjoying a full seven days without a match ahead of their return to action against West Brom on 27 December.

There is festive cheer aplenty at the Premier League champions' Kirkby base, as they sit top of the table at Christmas and are buoyed by stars returning from injury.

But there is no let-up for the club's scouts as they continue to scour Europe for a new option to provide cover for long-term absentees Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez at centre-back.

Liverpool are also vying to keep hold of one of the club's biggest stars, Mohamed Salah, amid a fresh wave of speculation over the Egyptian's future.

Finally, the club's exiled goalkeeper may be set to return to Anfield far sooner than anticipated.

Here is Christmas Eve's Liverpool transfer round-up.

Salah to Real rubbished

Mohamed Salah will not join Real Madrid due to the club's ongoing financial difficulties, according to Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero.

Salah's future has been the subject of great speculation since the Egyptian's interview with AS last week, while a former teammate claimed he is "unhappy" at Liverpool.

Real Madrid and Barcelona are believed to be keen on the prolific forward, but Montero claims it is "almost impossible" for Los Blancos to finance a deal for Salah.

"Although Mo Salah is an extremely good player, it’s almost impossible," Montero told Sky Sports of Salah's potential move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Madrid have lost €107million (£97million) because of this coronavirus crisis, so I will say it is almost impossible for Madrid to buy this player in this next window, but let’s see what happens in the summer."

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Agent talks up Kabak's Milan links

Liverpool have received a blow in their pursuit of Ozan Kabak, as a transfer intermediary has spoken of the highly-rated defender's "great respect" for AC Milan.

Clubs across Europe are vying for the Schalke centre-back's signature, with the Reds and Milan among the many parties interested in the 20-year-old Turkey international.

Reports from Germany claimed Liverpool had made contract with the Bundesliga side over a swap deal which would see out-of-favour striker Divock Origi move the other way.

But Italian agent George Gardi claims Kabak is yet to strike a deal with any club – though he is keen on Serie A giants Milan.

Gardi told Tuttomercatoweb : "Ozan has been talked about for years… It’s normal for a player of this type, with this profile, to have certain combinations but there’s no pre-agreement with any club."

He added: "What I can guarantee is that it’s not true, as has been reported, that Ozan has expressed any preference for one or for another championship.

"What I can say is that he has great respect for Milan."

Do Liverpool need to buy a new centre-back in January? Have your say here.

Karius to return to Anfield?

Loris Karius is linked with a shock return to Liverpool in January as Union Berlin are reportedly keen to end his loan deal early.

Karius joined the Bundesliga side on a season-long deal in September but has made just one appearance, in the 3-2 DfB-Pokal defeat to second-tier Paderborn on Tuesday.

The German has endured a challenging two-and-a-half years since making a pair of catastrophic errors in the 2018 Champions League final versus Real Madrid. He joined Besiktas on loan in the aftermath of the 3-1 defeat only for his two-year contract to be terminated early.

The latest twist in Karius' tale may see him return to Anfield as soon as next month, with German outlet Kicker claiming his loan could end "prematurely" due to a lack of minutes.

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