Christian Pulisic's impressive two-goal display against Liverpool could prove far more costly to the Reds than they ever imagined.
Shaking off the disappointment of throwing away a 1-0 lead in front of a crowd of mostly Reds fans in Charlotte to lose 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund, many Kopites consoled themselves with the hope than the long-time target might actually end up playing for their own team somewhere down the line, possibly in a year's time.
However, the USA international's rising star is starting to attract even those few clubs in world football who stand above Liverpool in the food chain.
Yes, the game was in essence a friendly, despite its 'International Champions Cup' status but the match did provide a platform in front of a big crowd for Pulisic to showcase his talents against one of Europe's top sides.
The full complement of Anfield aces are of course yet to return and the starting line-up on the opening day of the Premier League season against West Ham United could look rather different, but it was Pulisic who proved the stand-out performer in a display that new Dortmund boss Lucien Favre hailed as “Ausgezeichnet!” (excellent) even though the teenager missed out of the man-of-the-match award from brewers Heineken because the legal age of alcohol consumption in the USA is 21.
It seems that such displays have garnered attention from those at the very top of the tree with the Mail reporting that Real Madrid – who defeated Liverpool 3-1 in Kiev to claim their third consecutive Champions League – have made enquiries about signing the 19-year-old.
Dortmund are hoping to hang on to their Pennsylvania-born star for at least another season but the vultures are already circling.
Their Bundesliga rivals Bayern Munich – German champions for the past six seasons – have identified Pulisic as their number one target to replace veteran wide men Arjen Robben (34) and Franck Ribery (35).
Real Madrid, who are believed to enjoy a good working relationship with Dortmund, are on the look out for a new generation of Galactico after selling their club record goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus.
Klopp himself remains a big fan of the player he knew as a precocious youth talent at the Westfalenstadion, declaring before the sides' meeting on Sunday: “If, at one point, he will join us, I don't know.
“I like him, it's not that that could be the problem, but we respect contracts still and there’s no market I know about at the moment. We did our business and Dortmund are doing theirs. All good.”
That personal relationship between manager and player could ultimately prove to be the ace up Liverpool's sleeve but you always need to make sure you play your best hand when Real Madrid come to the table.
Source: Liverpool Echo
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