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Klopp: Coutinho is key for us

Jur­gen Klopp re­vealed he spoke to Philippe Coutinho about Barcelona’s £70mil­lion bid be­fore the play­maker scored in Liver­pool’s 2-1 vic­tory against Le­ices­ter City for the Pre­mier League Tro­phy in Hong Kong. “Of course we have spo­ken,” said the Ger­man. “We found a mo­ment when we could speak. Ev­ery­body knows Philippe Coutinho is a key player for us. I know he feels com­pletely more than fine, com­fort­able in Liver­pool. He loves the club, he loves the city.”

Zaha hit by racist abuse

Wil­fried Zaha claimed he was racially abused on so­cial me­dia af­ter play­ing for Crys­tal Palace in the Pre­mier League Tro­phy in Hong Kong. Writ­ing on Instagram, he said: “If Man United and Liver­pool fans feel bet­ter by call­ing me a black mon­key in my mes­sages, feel free to carry on if it makes your day bet­ter,” he wrote.

£5m Ran­dolph joins Boro

Mid­dles­brough have signed goal­keeper Dar­ren Ran­dolph for £5mil­lion from West Ham on a four-year deal. “I am de­lighted to get it all signed and com­pleted,” Ran­dolph, 30, said. The Repub­lic of Ire­land in­ter­na­tional knew his time was up at West Ham when they signed Joe Hart from Manch­ester City on a sea­son’s loan. “I want to come here and get the club back to where it be­longs and I want to be part of some­thing spe­cial,” added Ran­dolph, who be­comes Garry Monk’s sixth sign­ing af­ter Jonny How­son, Cyrus Christie, Martin Braith­waite, Britt As­som­ba­longa and Con­nor Roberts.

In­jured Bent out for months

Derby striker Dar­ren Bent could be out un­til Christ­mas with a ham­string in­jury. The 33-year-old for­mer England in­ter­na­tional de­vel­oped the prob­lem dur­ing Tues­day’s friendly vic­tory at Port Vale and scans have con­firmed there will be no quick re­turn. Bent made 42 ap­pear­ances for Derby last sea­son, scor­ing 13 goals.

Rooney scores for Ever­ton

Wayne Rooney scored his sec­ond pre-sea­son goal for Ever­ton in yes­ter­day’s 1-1 draw against Genk. He marked his first ap­pear­ance back in a blue shirt with a fine ef­fort against Gor Mahia ear­lier this month and was on tar­get again at the Lu­mi­nus Arena He pro­duced a neat first-time fin­ish at the back post just be­fore half-time fol­low­ing a cross from San­dro Ramirez and later took the cap­tain’s arm­band when Leighton Baines left the pitch. New £30 mil­lion goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford made his de­but, as did San­dro.

Forster howler lifts Brent­ford

A late howler from Southamp­ton keeper Fraser Forster al­lowed Brent­ford to force a 2-2 draw at Grif­fin Park. Forster al­lowed a cross from Josh Clarke through his hands for Brent­ford’s equaliser af­ter a Char­lie Austin dou­ble had put the Saints in front. Vir­gil Van Dijk was ab­sent from the Southamp­ton squad af­ter telling the club he wants to move this sum­mer.

Portsmouth fan dies

Portsmouth have con­firmed the death of a fan who fell ill dur­ing yes­ter­day’s friendly against Bournemouth at Frat­ton Park. The fan col­lapsed at half-time and the start of the sceond half was de­layed. Bournemouth won 2-1.

West Ham snap up Ar­nau­tovic

West Ham have con­firmed the £24m sign­ing of Marko Ar­nau­tovic from Stoke City. The 28-year-old winger has signed a five-year deal.

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