Chelsea are reportedly making renewed efforts to tie Mason Mount down to a longer-term deal amid interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool.

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Hello and welcome to the Liverpool ECHO’s Saturday live blog where will be bringing you all the build up to Liverpool’s Premier League clash with Chelsea at Anfield. The Reds will be looking to build on Tuesday’s victory over Wolves in the FA Cup and get their quest for Champions League qualification back on track.

Elsewhere, Liverpool have been linked with a move for the Londoners’ Mason Mount, who is not yet close to agreeing a new contract at Stamford Bridge, with his current deal expiring in less than 18 months’ time.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reiterated his desire to keep Roberto Firmino at Anfield, whose deal expires later this year.

Also stay tuned for any breaking developments in the potential sale of the club. In a statement sent to the ECHO, owners FSG maintain they are ‘fully committed’ to the ongoing success of Liverpool under Klopp but admit they are open to the possibility of further investment from elsewhere.

Get involved and send your thoughts to @LivEchoLFC.

Stay tuned for all your very latest Liverpool transfer news and gossip. The ECHO will provide breaking stories, reaction and comment to all the big talking points from Anfield as well as keeping tabs on transfer market gossip from around the world.

Jurgen Klopp expects Darwin Nunez to be back in contention for Liverpool this weekend – and explained how Stefan Bajcetic is now a fully-fledged first-team squad member.

Nunez missed last weekend’s dismal Premier League defeat at Brighton and Hove Albion along with the midweek FA Cup third round replay win at Wolverhampton Wanderers due to a minor muscle complaint.

However, the Uruguayan striker was pictured in training on Thursday ahead of Saturday’s Premier League lunchtime clash with Chelsea at Anfield.

Morning Reds, it’s matchday!

Liverpool are in action later this morning as they take on Chelsea at Anfield in the Premier League, where both sides will be looking to put right their poor starts to 2023 behind them with a surge up the table.

A win would see the Reds close the gap to fourth place Newcastle United to just seven points, while also boasting a game in hand.

Chelsea are reportedly making renewed efforts to tie Mason Mount down to a longer-term deal amid interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool.

Mount, 24, has grown into an important first-team player after coming through the Blues’ academy. However, with just 18 months remaining on his current deal, Jurgen Klopp’s side are said to be ready to take advantage of any potential uncertainty after monitoring the situation for some time.

Liverpool are expected to push ahead with a rebuild in midfield as they prepare to lose Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita when the pair’s contracts expire at the end of the current campaign. Mount’s England team-mate Jude Bellingham is another target, but the Reds’ interest in the Chelsea man appears to have forced the London side into action.

According to The Guardian, Mount wants Chelsea to show they value him with their next offer. Despite featuring regularly for England at Euro 2020 and the 2022 World Cup, his £75,000 per week wages put him towards the bottom of the club’s earners.

Chelsea are said to be prepared to make a “generous” offer in a bid to keep Mount – who has been on Chelsea’s books since the age of six – in west London. However, Liverpool are monitoring the situation and are prepared to pounce if the Blues fail to make progress with their talks.

The interest also comes at a time when both Liverpool and Chelsea could be about to battle it out for another midfield target, Brighton’s Moises Caicedo. The Seagulls want north of £70m for the Ecuador international, with manager Roberto De Zerbi telling the media he hopes the club can keep hold of the player for the remainder of the season.

Reports of Liverpool interest in Mount comes as the Reds prepare to host the midfielder and his Chelsea team-mates in the Premier League. Liverpool sit down in ninth after last week’s defeat at Brighton, while their opponents are one place lower despite having played a game more.

Chelsea could hand a debut to new signing Mykhaylo Mudryk, after the Ukraine star was announced as a Blues player during the derby victory over Crystal Palace last time out. Graham Potter’s side have also added Noni Madueke to their ranks, with the England under-21 international joining from PSV Eindhoven on Friday night.

“He’s a good player, a really good player,” Klopp said of Mudryk. “He played an incredible Champions League campaign at his former club [Shakhtar Donetsk], speed, technique, goals, combines a lot.

“So, having him on one wing and [suspended new signing Joao] Felix on the other is interesting. Chelsea sorts problems differently to us, so let’s see.”

Young people and organisations who support young people build better futures through education, employment and sport can now qualify for grants of up to £10,000 after Football For Change announced its first round of 2023 funding.

Launched in 2021 by footballers Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Cody, Toni Duggan and Jamie Carragher and business leaders including the CEO of Ardonagh Retail Ian Donaldson and public relations leader Dan Hughes, Football For Change brings together sports stars and business leaders to help NEET (not in education, employment or training) young people get into education or find employment opportunities, as well as helping others from social and economically communities who face barriers achieving their full potential.

Football For Change has already sent 40 disadvantaged young people from Liverpool to the United States of America for a month-long sports and education retreat and has helped to finance the building of a new education hub in Bootle. It has helped young people into jobs by partnering with Local Solutions and has also helped homeless youngsters back into work and accommodation in Glasgow.

Now, the fund, managed by the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside, is encouraging young people and community projects in the North West who support young people to apply for grants. Funding will primarily focus on projects that provide life-changing opportunities in education and social mobility initiatives in education, employment and sport and will target those who have experienced poverty and economic challenges.

Applications can be made via the Communities Foundation for Lancashire and Merseyside at http://www.cfmerseyside.org.uk until 20 February 2023.

“Football For Change is investing in young people who have experienced tough starts in life. This fund is about giving them the tools to build better futures whether that be by providing opportunities in education, employment, training or sport. It is already making a huge difference and I cannot wait to see just how much this round of funding helps others.”

Football For Change has the backing of football superstars including Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Lioness Beth Mead. Sir Rod Stewart is patron of the initiative and it has had major support from business leaders including founding sponsor Swinton Insurance. The CEO of Ardonagh Retail, which incorporates Swinton Insurance, is co-chair of the initiative.

“With the current cost of living challenges, initiatives like Football For Change, which provide investment for young NEET people, are needed now more than ever. This vital funding will give access to life-changing opportunities to those in some of our toughest communities. I’d encourage everyone to apply, and I can’t wait to see the projects we’ll be funding to help young people reach their potential and build better futures.”

After leaving Crawley Town, Balagizi penned an emotional goodbye on his Instagram: “Big thank you to the staff, the players and the fans at Crawleytownfc

“Very grateful for the great people I came across. It was a pleasure to be there. Wishing everyone all the best for the future. The journey continues…”

Liverpool youngster Fidel O’Rourke has been recalled from his loan spell at Welsh Premier League side Caernarfon Town.

Liverpool are closing ‘monitoring’ the contract negotiations between Chelsea and Mason Mount with ‘plans in place’ for a summer move, according to reports.

The Guardian claims that the Reds are keeping a watchful eye on the current contract impasse in West London, with Mount still yet to pen fresh terms despite his deal entering the final 18 months.

The report adds that Liverpool are “monitoring the situation closely and have been putting plans in place for a summer move”.

Would you like to see Mason Mount at Anfield?

Jurgen Klopp has admitted he loves the thrill of football management – but confessed he thought he would enjoy such a sustained career within the game after being made appointed Mainz 05 manager in 2001.

Saturday’s Premier League encounter with Chelsea will see the Liverpool boss reach the incredible milestone of 1,000 games in the profession, having managed Mainz, Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool during his 22-year career.

Chelsea could hand a debut to £88.5m signing Mykhailo Mudryk against Liverpool but will still be without defensive duo Reece James and Ben Chilwell for their trip despite returning to team training.

The England full-backs have had differing injury problems which have kept them out of the side. James’ comeback against Bournemouth was halted as he was forced off with a different issue that ruled him out of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, the former Leicester City defender suffered a hamstring injury in the latter stages of Chelsea’s Champions League encounter against Dinamo Zagreb – like James – returned to training this week. However, the Londoners are without a host of players through injury.

It was heartening to hear Jurgen Klopp deliver a positive update on the fitness of Diogo Jota this week.

The Portugal international was sadly forced to miss the World Cup after suffering a serious calf injury in the closing stages of the 1-0 win over Manchester City on October 16, but is back on light duties ahead of a return to the fold.

Jota is working towards his own individually-tailored programme having successfully come through a series of rehabilitation sessions out in Dubai last month.

Klopp is hopeful he will be fit in the next few weeks and stated a comeback will be on the cards before that Champions League showdown with Real Madrid on February 21.

Former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has spoken about the importance of tomorrow’s clash with Liverpool.

Goal difference separates the two sides in the Premier League table with the Reds narrowly above the Londoners.

Jurgen Klopp’s side are winless in the league so far in 2023, but ended their run against Wolves in the FA Cup in midweek. Chelsea edged past Crystal Palace last weekend to claim their first three points of the calendar year.

The Frenchman speaking to ICE 36 said:

Fancy swapping your sofa for the stadium? After all the drama of the Qatar World Cup, top-flight football is back – and we are giving you the chance to win tickets to see the beautiful game live.

Maybe you want to see your heroes up close; perhaps you fancy the fiery atmosphere of a local derby; or does a weekend away day tickle your fancy?

However you want to see the beautiful game play out in the flesh, you can win two tickets to any Premier League or Women’s Super League game during the 2022/23 season up to the value of £900.

Liverpool have drifted to second favourites in the bookmakers race to sign Jude Bellingham.

The Reds are targeting the 19-year-old but face fierce competition from Real Madrid, as well as Manchester City.

Bellingham’s future remains unclear but as the January window ticks on and the summer market on the horizon, the saga is set to continue.

Betfair have been taking bets on who Jude Bellingham will sign for before September 4, 2023.

Here are their latest odds:

Real Madrid: 11/8

Liverpool: 7/4

Not to sign or agree a contract with any other club: 2/1

Man City: 8/1

Paris Saint-Germain: 14/1

Chelsea: 14/1

Man Utd: 18/1

Arsenal: 18/1

Bristol Rovers are closing in on the loan signing of Liverpool centre-back Jarell Quansah, according to Bristol Live.

The League One side are hoping to process the teenager’s paperwork in order for him to make his debut against Wycombe Wanderers on Saturday.

Barton watched the 19-year-old in action during Liverpool Under-21’s 4-2 win over Paris Saint-Germain last week, it has been said that they have been given the green light to loan the England Under-19 international for the rest of the 2022/23 season.

According to the report from Bristol Live, Quansah is training and undergoing a medical this morning, having travelled down to Bristol overnight.

Rovers have until 12pm today to register the powerful defender with the EFL.

Former Liverpool player Charlie Adam believes Michael Olise could play for Liverpool.

The attacker scored a sensational free-kick to earn an important point for Crystal Palace against Manchester United.

And the 21-year-old is quickly becoming one of the standout players for Palace as they look to turn around their fortunes in the second half of the season.

Adam, who has played with Olise during his successful stint at Reading, believes he could fit in at the Reds. He told Grosvenor Sport:

Liverpool have no intention of cutting short Arthur Melo’s loan transfer as the Brazilian edges nearer a return to fitness.

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The Reds paid Juventus a loan fee of around £3.5million to sign Arthur on a season-long deal on deadline day in September as they grappled with an injury crisis in midfield.

The 26-year-old made his debut with a 13-minute run-out from the bench in the 4-1 Champions League group opener defeat at Napoli on September 7 and was an unused substitute in three further games, along with a 63-minute run-out in the EFL Trophy at Rochdale as he looked to build up his match fitness.

Liverpool are reportedly unable to afford a move for Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves this month, according to reports.

TalkSPORT’s Alex Crook has said following the acquisition of Cody Gakpo, the Reds’ business this month will be minimal.

The news comes as Liverpool continue to be linked with midfield additions but nothing of late has come to fruition.

Chelsea have had a £55m bid for Moises Caicedo rejected, according to The Athletic.

Liverpool have been linked with the midfielder’s services this month but it appears that the Londoners free-spending isn’t letting up.

Already Graham Potter has welcomed Mykhailo Mudryk as Noni Madueke closes in on a move to Stamford Bridge.

Should the Reds pursue the 21-year-old, not only do they face competition from Chelsea but they now know he will cost north of £55m.

What a game it was last night as Man City came from 2-0 down at half-time to beat Tottenham 4-2 to keep the title race with Arsenal alive.

Arsenal currently lead the Premier League table by five points but have a game in hand over their nearest challengers. The Gunners play Man United on Sunday evening.

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