Liverpool lose out on starlet as End of Season awards handed out

Afternoon Bulletin

Real Madrid beat Liverpool to €45m Brazilian

According to Brazilian outlet Globosporte, Real Madrid have completed the signing of Flamengo’s starlet Vinicius Junior and are paying an astonishing €45m for the 16-year-old. It is reported that the transfer will take place in 2019 when the player turns 18.

Despite Neymar heading to Brazil to visit the youngster, he made his choice by signing for Neymar’s title rivals, Real Madrid. Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Barcelona were all reportedly ready to cough up €30m for the highly rated Brazilian.

Vinicius has 19 goals in 22 appearances for Brazil’s Under-17 side and is being touted as ‘The Next Neymar’ in his homeland.

Van Dijk’s £50m Liverpool transfer still on and £25m Keane backup

Previous reports by Mirror suggest that Burnley’s Michael Keane transfer to Liverpool was almost done for a £25m fee, was believed to be a false. It is reported and reaffirmed by Echo’s James Pearce that Southampton star, Virgil Van Dijk remains as the Reds’ No.1 target for the centre-back position and Keane remains as a backup option should Jurgen Klopp fail to sign the £50m Dutch defender.

Also, Senegal international Kalidou Koulibaly is reportedly the preferred target over Michael Keane.

Philippe Coutinho responds to Barcelona speculation

Reports in Spain on Tuesday claimed Philippe Coutinho had agreed to join Barcelona in a summer transfer with Barcelona reportedly ready to offer €90 million.

However, Coutinho allayed fears that he wants to join Barcelona by insisting he is targeting becoming a Liverpool legend. On Monday night’s Former Players end of season awards dinner, the Liverpool star revealed his future ambitions when he collected the Player of the Season accolade.

‘One day I hope I can win as many trophies for Liverpool as players in the past did,’ Coutinho told the crowd. Coutinho was the guest of honour at the awards as the current superstar of Liverpool Football Club.

The 24-year-old has been in fantastic form for Liverpool this season as he has guided the team to within touching distance of a return to the Champions League next season. Coutinho also signed a new long-term deal at Liverpool in January and is now tied to Anfield until 2022.

Mamadou Sakho nominated for player of the season award

Despite making just eight appearances for Crystal Palace this term, Mamadou Sakho has been nominated for Crystal Palace’s player of the season award. The Liverpool centre-back Sakho moved to Selhurst Park in January on loan until the end of the campaign and was quick to become a fan favourite after guiding Sam Allardyce’s side to four clean sheets.

However, a knee ligament injury during the defeat against Tottenham Hotspur ruled the France international out for the rest of the season. The other candidates nominated are Yohan Cabaye, Jason Puncheon, Andros Townsend, Wilfried Zaha and former Reds striker Christian Benteke.

Sadio Mane named Liverpool Player of the Year

Sadio Mane has been named Liverpool Player of the Year ahead of fellow nominees Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana at the club’s awards night at Anfield on Tuesday.

The award was voted for by supporters on the Liverpool’s official website. Mane thanked fans from around the world as he received the award, saying: “It means so much to me.

“I feel at home at this club and in this city. My team-mates, the staff, the manager and the supporters have all made me feel so welcome.

“I have loved every minute of playing for Liverpool this season and can’t wait to get back fit to help the team again.”

On the night, Mane also completes the double by taking home the Players’ Player prize as well while Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ben Woodburn won the Young Player of the Year and Academy Players’ Player of the Season award respectively.

Emre Can‘s goal against Watford was also named Liverpool’s goal of the season as Roger Hunt received the Lifetime Achievement Award.