Sunday, January 29, 2023

Gerrard hopes to woo Liverpool target Jude Bellingham with dinner date

SoccerNews in La Liga 21 Jan 2023

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Steven Gerrard believes Jude Bellingham should steer clear of continental Europe’s top clubs and come to Liverpool.

Former Reds midfielder Gerrard has offered to take Bellingham out for dinner and tell him about what he could achieve by moving to Anfield.

Bellingham has long been touted as a big-money target for the Reds, and Gerrard believes the 19-year-old would be more likely to flourish with Liverpool than with Real Madrid, Barcelona or Bayern Munich.

The attraction of Liverpool may be diminishing, with Jurgen Klopp’s team looking highly unlikely to qualify for the Champions League through the Premier League route this season.

They may yet get there by winning the Champions League, but that looks a fantastical prospect given they face Real Madrid in the last-16 stage, and given Liverpool’s general form has been terribly patchy this season. A 0-0 draw at Anfield against Chelsea on Saturday left the Reds rooted in mid-table, a worrying distance behind the top four.

“All he needs to do is send his diary to me, when he’s got a free day,” Gerrard said, while working as a pundit on BT Sport. “I’ll fly to Dortmund personally, I’ll take him out for a nice dinner and we’ll talk about it.”

What is beyond dispute is that Bellingham’s skill set and dynamism would improve Liverpool’s midfield, with Klopp’s experienced campaigners Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara not the force they once were. Gerrard described that area as “a little bit stale”.

Gerrard said: “I’m sure Jude is bright enough to see there’s a stand going up here, this is going to be a 60,000-seat stadium, they’ve got one of the best five managers in the world, they’ve won the Premier League of late, they’ve been in Champions League finals of late, they pay very well here – that’s a fact.”

Bellingham plays at an 81,000-capacity ground with Dortmund so Anfield is small by comparison, but there are undoubtedly aspects of a move to Liverpool that might appeal.

Dortmund are struggling domestically this season, too, so Bellingham would not be giving up the prospect of likely league titles in Germany, particularly given Bayern have dominated there for the last decade.

But he might have transfer options where winning major trophies would appear more likely than if he were to move to Merseyside.

Even though Bellingham has been playing in Germany for three seasons, and flourishing in the Bundesliga, Gerrard feels the former Birmingham City player belongs in England.

“I think it’s important he stays in this country,” said former Liverpool captain Gerrard. “He’s 19 years of age.

“You talk about Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich; I know he’s doing it at Dortmund now, but them clubs are at a higher level than Dortmund and you can get swallowed up.

“There’s a lot of stars, and you can get swallowed up by making a move too soon.

“In my opinion, staying around England, staying around this country, getting developed, there’s still growth in him, and he can evolve, and I think staying in England until a certain age until he hits his peak years is very important for the boy now.”

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