Earlier this week, with Liverpool preparing to take on Porto in the Champions League, assistant Pep Lijnders talked about the time he spent at the Portuguese club developing as a coach during his seven years there.
Porto were key to his development, and the highly regarded young coach has spent more of his career with them than any other club. In his role there, he also helped to develop some very talented young players.
Players like Ruben Neves, now at Wolves, who Liverpool have been linked to in the past and whom Lijnders mentioned by name, saying that in his role at Liverpool, Neves is the “type of player [who] always interests us.”
A few speculative English stories tried to turn that into a full blown transfer rumour, but they didn’t get a whole lot of traction. Today, though, Portuguese outlets like O Jogo are giving the story a push of their own.
They’ve already been picked up again in the English press, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if we spend the next couple of months now hearing about how Liverpool have Neves as their top midfield target for the summer.
The only problem is that, if he actually was, it’s unlikely Lijnders would have mentioned his name so freely—not with how Liverpool have managed their transfer business ever since 2017’s Virgil van Dijk mess.
Is Ruben Neves a good player? Very. Is he the type of player Liverpool would track? Absolutely—and Lijnders did confirm that he’s at least been of interest to Liverpool. Are Liverpool going to sign him now? Probably not.
There’s a good chance the Reds sign at least one midfielder this summer, but it probably won’t actually end up being one who was talked about as an interesting player by a Liverpool coach. So it goes.