Liverpool FC news recap: Toney talk, wantaway defender, Nunez baffles

Here's our Liverpool FC news recap for Sunday, 18th February 2024. A highly-rated defender could be leaving Liverpool this summer.

The Reds are coming off the back of an eventful early kick-off from the day prior, which saw them beat Brentford 4-1 in the Premier League.

However, all things weren't rosy, with Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota both picking up injuries that appear on the worse end of the severity scale.

Luckily, today's been less about injury updates and more about sweet gossip, allowing us to escape into denial about Liverpool's fitness woes.

Here's our Liverpool FC news roundup.

Klopp addresses Toney speculation

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Brentford star-striker Ivan Toney shared a jovial moment after the final whistle of yesterday's contest in West London.

17th February 2024 Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford, London, England Premier League Football, Brentford versus Liverpool Ivan Toney of Brentford reacts as he comes close to scoring PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK ActionPlus12609249 SalvioxCalabrese

Toney bagged a consolation goal for the hosts as his side were comfortably beaten 4-1 by Liverpool, with Darwin NunezMohamed Salah, Alexis Mac Allister and Cody Gakpo getting on the scoresheet for the Reds.

Despite watching a fantastic performance from an attacking perspective, some Liverpool fans were nevertheless left clamouring for one particular reinforcement up front after witnessing a smiley post-match encounter between Klopp and Toney.

Toney, who is expected to depart the Bees this summer, has previously revealed his love for the Reds - making the move a match made in heaven for many.

Telling all about his brief brush with the in-demand marksman, Klopp admitted his admiration for Toney - before insisting that little more than pleasantries were exchanged.

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Sepp van den Berg wants out?

Sepp van den Berg has come to terms with the fact he may have to give up on his aspirations of breaking into the Liverpool first team.

1:0 Mainz durch Sepp van den Berg 3, Mainz 05 17.02.2024, Fußball, 1. Bundesliga, 1. FSV Mainz 05 - FC Augsburg, 22. Spieltag, Saison 2023/24, MEWA Arena, Mainz, Deutschland, zmdz, ** DFB & DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video. ** 1. FSV Mainz 05 - FC Augsburg *** 1 0 Mainz by Sepp van den Berg 3, Mainz 05 17 02 2024, Football, 1 Bundesliga, 1 FSV Mainz 05 FC Augsburg, 22 Matchday, Season 2023 24, MEWA Arena, Mainz, Germany, zmdz, DFB DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and or quasi video 1 FSV Mainz 05 FC Augsburg

Van den Berg has spent numerous spells away on loan since his Anfield arrival in 2019, first at Championship side Preston North Endo before heading to once-titans of German football Schalke 04.

This season, he's enjoyed a spell back in the Bundesliga with Mainz, becoming a regular for the outfit in their battle for survival.

Now 22, he's hopeful that Liverpool will have a space for him upon his return to Merseyside in the summer - but is also realistic about his chances amid increased competition.

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Michael Owen baffled by 'insane' Nunez goal

Michael Owen was left further questioning Darwin Nunez's decision-making as he pulled out an audacious finish to put Liverpool ahead in yesterday's clash with Brentford.

Darwin Nunez, Brentford vs Liverpool

Brentford v Liverpool Premier League 17/02/2024. GOAL 0-1 Darwin Nunez of Liverpool celebrates his goal during the Premier League match between Brentford and Liverpool at Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford, England on 17 February 2024. Brentford Gtech Community Stadium Greater London England Editorial use only DataCo restrictions apply See www.football-dataco.com , Copyright: xPaulxPhelanx PSI-19061-0017

With the game goalless, Nunez had a clear run on goal with Diogo Jota in support - but instead of using the advantageous two-on-one situation to guarantee a goal, he pulled out a daring dink to beat Mark Flekken and give Liverpool the lead.

Many have been quick to laud Nunez for such a delightful finish, including former Reds striker Owen.

However, the once Ballon d'Or winner has also questioned the thinking behind his effort, which had serious scope to go awry compared to other options.

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John Barnes shuts down Arsenal title challenge talk

John Barnes has admitted that he is yet to be convinced that Arsenal are true contenders for the Premier League title - and has named who he thinks will go on to win the whole thing.

Football - FA Premier League - Arsenal FC v Liverpool FC LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, February 4, 2024: Liverpool s Alexis Mac Allister looks dejected as Arsenal score the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda LONDON Emirates Stadium GREATER LONDON ENGLAND PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xDavidxRawcliffex P2024-02-04-Arsenal_Liverpool-67

Liverpool were convincingly beaten by the Gunners earlier this month as Mikel Arteta's side clawed their way back into the title race, closing the gap on the table toppers to just two points.

However, Barnes doesn't believe that Arsenal have what it takes to beat out either Liverpool or Manchester City for the crown - and has put allegiances aside to name the latter as the favourites to take top spot.

"Arsenal have to play well to win and if they don’t play well they may not win, and that is why as much as they’re doing well now I still think it’s between Man City and Liverpool," Barnes said.

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Incredible stat showcases substitution masterclass

Liverpool's source of goals this season has gone far beyond those selected in the starting XI - and yesterday's win over Brentford showcased that once again.

Mo Salah, Brentford vs Liverpool

Football - FA Premier League - Brentford FC v Liverpool FC LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, February 17, 2024: Liverpool s Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Brentford FC and Liverpool FC at the Brentford Community Stadium. Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda LONDON Brentford Community Stadium GREATER LONDON ENGLAND PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xDavidxRawcliffex P2024-02-17-Brentford_Liverpool-96

Mohamed Salah and Cody Gakpo both came off the bench to score in the Reds' 4-1 win over the Bees, following a trend that has become one the stories of Liverpool's season.

Jurgen Klopp's substitutes have on many occasions been the difference between a good and bad result this term, utilising the depth in quality of his ranks to punish the opposition when they begin to tire.

The extent of just how regular Liverpool's substitutions directly impact a game is pretty incredible. According to Andrew Beasley, Liverpool have played 38 games this season and a sub has scored and/or assisted in 22 of them.

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