Jurgen Klopp, unprompted, singled out Arsenal forward Gabriel Martinelli for praise after Thursday’s 2-0 win, leaving fans to ponder a possible move to Liverpool.
The Reds are into the final of the League Cup semi-final after a comprehensive 2-0 victory at the Emirates, with Diogo Jota scoring twice in the absence of Mo Salah and Sadio Mane.
Salah and Mane are due to return from the Africa Cup of Nations next month, but their time away is serving as a glimpse of life after the two biggest attacking threats of Klopp’s reign at Anfield.
While the club are trying to tie Salah down to a new long-term contract, at this stage it seems likely that both Mane and Roberto Firmino will depart on the expiry of their terms in 2023 – if not sooner.
It was intriguing, then, that when asked about the threat of Chelsea in the final, Klopp began his answer with unexpected praise for Arsenal‘s No. 35.
“Martinelli, by the way, the young Brazilian,” he said. “Everybody should remember that name, because [he is an] outstanding player.”
After an impressive display from the 20-year-old despite defeat, Klopp’s comments led Liverpool supporters to consider Martinelli joining the Reds’ attack:
Klopp absolutely loves Martinelli ? The pressing intensity, 1v1 threat & good off-the-ball movement. He sees Martinelli as one of his typical wide forwards. pic.twitter.com/QXDSX5wLRK
— Raj Chohan (@rajsinghchohan) January 20, 2022
Martinelli is such a Klopp forward.
— Josh Williams (@DistanceCovered) January 20, 2022
Need to talk about that Martinelli performance btw. Full of energy, was dangerous everytime he got the ball. A perfect Klopp type player. Class ?
— AG (@lfcabdu11) January 20, 2022
Give Jurgen Klopp Martinelli and he turns him into a 25 G+A assist player in one season.
— Nidhi Shankar (@BoldMonk_) January 21, 2022
Klopp’s always got a lovely quote for Martinelli. I’ll take him in a heartbeat. Unreal talent https://t.co/RUa3R9GYmI
— BPComps (@borgixprxdeli) January 20, 2022
Klopp planting the seed of an LFC move in Martinelli’s mind. 4d chess. ? https://t.co/9lVjK4JxIY
— Futbol: O Jogo Bonito (@DavidC_LFC) January 20, 2022
I need Klopp to bring Martinelli home ??
— A. O ?? (@thesecondborn_) January 20, 2022
Jurgen Klopp biggin up Martinelli. Julian Ward let’s do this
— Moby (@Mobyhaque1) January 20, 2022
This is not the first time Klopp has singled Martinelli out for praise, with the manager hailing him as “a talent of the century” after the League Cup fourth-round victory over Arsenal in 2019.
And given Liverpool are currently engineering a revamp of their attacking ranks with a focus on youth in the likes of Jota along with Kaide Gordon and Harvey Elliott, it would be no surprise if contact was made with Arsenal.
Martinelli signed a new deal with the Gunners in 2020, however, which ties him to the north London club until 2024 – with an option to extend that to 2025.
It may not be a straightforward deal if Liverpool do push ahead with it, though Klopp is seemingly convinced Martinelli can be a top-level forward.