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The Colombian striker was originally named in the squad for Saturday’s match but his late omission has raised serious questions over his future in France


Monaco striker Radamel Falcao appears close to leaving the Ligue 1 outfit after being left out of the team to face Lille on Saturday.

Head coach Leonardo Jardim had initially named the Colombian forward in a panel of 19 to face the northern outfit and, having started last weekend’s match against Nantes it was fully anticipated that he would once again feature from the outset at Stade Louis II, particularly after he scored in that clash.

Falcao, who missed the second half of last season with a serious knee problem sustained in a Coupe de France match in January, has, however, been closely linked with a move away from the principality for much of the summer.

Monaco have not reported any further physical complaints from their forward, and so it appears that this exit is likely to come in the next few days, with French media suggesting that a deal could even be completed on Saturday evening.

Several sides have been closely associated with the 28-year-old forward, including Juventus, Arsenal, Liverpool and Real Madrid.

While it is expected that Monaco’s asking price of €65 million will be too great to tempt suitors before the end of the transfer window, it appears likely that the ex-Atletico Madrid and Porto striker will instead be shipped out on a one-year loan, expected to cost the purchasing club €20m.

Falcao’s record in France reads that he has scored 13 goals in 22 matches, though he has been criticised for his failure to replicate his Atletico Madrid form in Ligue 1.

The Liverpool captain believes the Champions League holders are the opponents which the Reds really wanted and look forward to testing themselves against the world’s best stars


Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard cannot wait to pit his wits against Champions League holders Real Madrid.

Gerrard’s side return to Europe’s elite club competition following a five-year absence this season and Thursday’s draw in Monaco paired them with Real.

Basel and Ludogorets complete Group B, but it is the prospect of facing a stellar Real team – who defeated rivals Atletico Madrid in the 2013-14 final – that has captured Gerrard’s imagination.

Former England skipper Gerrard has fond memories of Champions League meetings with Real, with the 34-year-old having scored twice in a 4-0 rout of the Spanish giants at Anfield at the last-16 stage of the 2008-09 competition.

And while a repeat of that scoreline appears unlikely, Gerrard – who lifted the Champions League trophy in 2005 – believes Liverpool can compete with Cristiano Ronaldo and Co. this time around.

“They were one of the sides that all of the players wanted, and certainly the supporters,” he told the club’s official website.

“For us, it’s a chance to go and compete against the best. We’re not in this competition to make the numbers up, we’re not celebrating and going out to enjoy this competition – we want to compete and go as far as we can.

“We’re going to treat every team in the group the same – but, of course, it’s going to be an exciting encounter when Real come to Anfield and also us going away as well. I can’t wait.

“It’s a chance for us to compete against some of the best players in the world – the likes of Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, James Rodriguez and Karim Benzema.

“We’re quite a new team, so it’s a great chance for our lads to compete and see how good we are and how far we’ve come.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Real Madrid but we certainly have confidence we can compete with them.”

The central defender could be heading back to his former club after struggling to secure a regular first-team place under Brendan Rodgers last season


Brondby have confirmed they are in negotiations with Liverpool over a deal for Daniel Agger.

Goal understands that Liverpool have been open to selling the 29-year-old since the start of the summer, with Napoli initially interested in a move.

The Denmark international started just 16 games in the Premier League last season and is behind Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren and Mamadou Sakho in the pecking order at Anfield.

A statement from Brondby CEO Jesper Jorgensen said: “There have now been speculation in Danish and international media that Brondby is in dialogue with Liverpool FC about a transfer of Daniel Agger .

“Brondby can confirm that there is dialogue with Liverpool FC and Daniel Agger about a move to Brondby. If the club manage to sign Daniel Agger during the next few days, the financial effect of the profit will be limited.

“Brondby IF have no further comments on speculation about Daniel Agger.”

The North Londoners were hammered 5-0 by the Reds at White Hart Lane last season, though will take on a new-look Merseyside attack with the Italy international set to make his bow


Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers does not want Mario Balotelli’s potential debut to divert focus ahead of Sunday’s trip to Tottenham.

The Italy international is in line for his Liverpool bow at White Hart Lane, having arrived from Milan on Monday amid plenty of excitement on Merseyside.

Formerly of Manchester City, Balotelli returns to the Premier League after acknowledging his exit from the English top flight was a “mistake”.

The 24-year-old scored 26 goals in 43 league appearances for Milan and Rodgers will be keen for the striker to boost a Liverpool side yet to hit top gear this season.

The Reds’ narrow 2-1 win over Southampton was followed by a 3-1 defeat to champions Manchester City.

Balotelli scored the winning goal for City the last time he faced Spurs, and Rodgers has been pleased with his latest recruit’s attitude in training this week.

“Mario is fine, he has settled in very well. He has looked fantastic in training and he is a good lad. The focus is very much on his football and he has done very well,” said Rodgers on Friday.

“This is not the Mario Balotelli show. He’s a good player and a talented player but he has a lot of work to do here.

“We’ve got a number of top-class players. The star of this team will always be the team.”

Spurs have demonstrated fine form at the start of Mauricio Pochettino’s maiden campaign in charge – winning each of their Premier League games against West Ham and QPR to reach the summit of the table, while also moving into the Europa League group stages.

Buoyed by a 100 per cent winning start, the Argentine is not reading too much into the fact that Liverpool put nine goals past Spurs last season.

A 5-0 defeat to Rodgers’ men at White Hart Lane signalled the end of Andre Villas-Boas’ reign and Tottenham were also well beaten with Tim Sherwood in charge at Anfield.

“It is a new season, I think a different style, different philosophy,” said Pochettino. “Liverpool invested a lot of money this summer and we went another way.

“We believe in our squad and add some players for the balance. Two different ways [of approaching things].”

Kyle Walker (pelvis) and Roberto Soldado (neck) are the only injury worries for Tottenham, who have the option of including new defensive recruit Federico Fazio.

Rodgers could hand a competitive debut to Adam Lallana – one of the star performers in Pochettino’s Southampton team last season.

Lallana suffered a knee injury in July but will feature in Rodgers’ squad on Sunday, although there remain doubts over Alberto Moreno (ankle), Glen Johnson (thigh) and Jose Enrique (knee).

The former Southampton captain is yet to feature for the Reds after sustaining knee ligament damage in pre-season but could make a comeback this weekend


Adam Lallana is looking “fantastic” and is in line to make his Liverpool debut in Sunday’s Premier League clash with Tottenham, according to Brendan Rodgers.

The England midfielder has not yet featured for the Merseyside giants since his €31 million move from Southampton after sustaining knee ligament damage during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

Liverpool gave a positive outlook on Lallana’s fitness on Friday, though, revealing that the 26-year-old will be in the squad to face a Tottenham side who have made a bright start under Mauricio Pochettino – Lallana’s head coach at Southampton last season.

“Adam will be in the squad, for sure,” Rodgers told reporters. “He has looked fantastic in training.

“Of course he is well short of match fitness but in training for the last couple of weeks he has been exceptional.”

The Liverpool boss stated that Glen Johnson (thigh) is unlikely to be ready for the trip to White Hart Lane and he will also monitor the fitness of fellow full-back Alberto Moreno (ankle).

Rodgers also expects more activity in the transfer window ahead of Monday’s deadline, with players set to leave the club rather than arrive.

“There’ll probably be more movement out than coming in, I would say,” he added. “We’ve still got offers for players to go.

“Every player here knows their situation, so if they’re here after that deadline on Monday then they’ve decided to stay but their game time will be very limited. At this moment in time, there are not many more to come in, if any.”

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