Jurgen Klopp discusses Liverpool's pursuit of Jude Bellingham
Jurgen Klopp has refused to be drawn on whether Liverpool could be priced out of a move for Jude Bellingham, but could not hide his admiration for the midfielder.
90min recently reported that the England World Cup star will decide his future at the start of 2023, with Real Madrid, Manchester City and Liverpool all believing they have a good chance of signing the teenager.
Klopp was quizzed about the Reds' pursuit of Bellingham ahead of their return to Premier League action on Boxing Day, though when asked about the lofty price it would take to secure the Dortmund star's services, he was immediately dismissive.
"I don’t like to talk about money when you talk about a player like him. Everyone can see he is just exceptional," Klopp said.
"If you mention to someone who has no clue about football: ‘How old do you think Jude Bellingham is?’ I don’t think anyone would get even close to his age. They would say 28 or 29 because he plays so mature. He played an exceptional World Cup. Absolutely exceptional. With all the things he has and things he can improve, to describe him I would say the things he can do are difficult to learn, and the things he can improve are easy to learn. He is a really good player.
"What can I say? I have thought that already for two or three years since he had his breakthrough at Dortmund. Everybody knew already but I have no idea what that means for the money side of it. I really think if we all want to do him a favour then we do not talk too much about money. I mean that from an England point of view. Do not throw any hurdles in his development."
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With Liverpool struggling in the top-four race - they currently sit seven points adrift of fourth-placed Tottenham - Klopp was also keen to point out that being in the Champions League should not be a player's priority when deciding on a new club.
"It is very important for the club and that is our main target now,. It is important but, from a transfer perspective, generally we have a good chance to qualify for the Champions League. Will it happen this year? I don’t know. But 100% we are one of the contenders for the next few years again," he added.
"If you ask a player and he says: ‘Next year you are not in the Champions League and I would prefer to go to a football club who plays this year’, then I am not sure I would still want this player, to be honest. I understand it 100% - I want to be in the Champions League all the time. For the moment we have two pathways still to qualify for the Champions League next year. As long as that is the case, I see ourselves as proper contenders for Champions League qualification."