Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe has once again stoked the fires over the transfer speculation linking him to Liverpool, labelling Jurgen Klopp’s side “a machine” who make “winning look easy”.
The Reds were on course for a first league title in 30 years before the coronavirus crisis shut down the Premier League, and in some style too.
With 27 wins from 29 games and just one defeat, Liverpool have racked up 82 points and need just two more victories – if the season restarts – to confirm themselves as champions.
Their form in the English top flight this term comes after winning the Champions League last season while also recording a club-record 97 points in the league, though they missed out on the title to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.
And Liverpool’s performances and results over the past two years have caught the attention of fleet-footed France forward Mbappe, who has been tentatively linked to Anfield.
The 21-year-old, who boasts 117 goals and 66 assists in 181 games at club level for PSG and Monaco, is out of contract at the Parc des Princes in 2022 and has yet to sign an extension.
Klopp and co. looked to sign him three years ago with the Liverpool manager even having held talks with the young Frenchman about a switch to the Premier League.
And with Mbappe’s future once again a hot topic, the World Cup winner has paid tribute to the European champions and in particular their head coach.
“This season Liverpool have been a machine in the Premier League,” Mbappe said when asked if he is a keen watcher of the English top flight.
“They have made winning look easy – but the truth is that is never easy.
“To be as ruthless as they have been would come from having a very good manager and lots of hard work in training.
“Performances like they have been having don’t just happen.”
It is not the first time Mbappe has publicly hailed Liverpool, having called them “amazing” earlier this year.
He told BBC Sport: “The guys are focused, they play games every three days and they win, they win, they win.
“Now the problem is that everybody watches Liverpool, and everybody watches what we can do against them, so now they have to show they are strong again but it’s a very good team with a very good manager.”
Liverpool are one of few clubs who might boast the appeal to be able to sign Mbappe, as one of the continent’s most formidable teams.
But the hopes of Liverpool fans that they would beat Real Madrid to the signature of arguably the most valuable player in world football were shut down by Klopp last year.
The German, speaking back in November, insisted that the Merseyside club simply cannot afford to meet Mbappe’s valuation – which might surpass £200m even in a post-coronavirus market.
“Buying this calibre of player is difficult,” said Klopp. “I don’t see any club at the moment who can buy Kylian Mbappe from PSG.
“I don’t see any club, that is how it is. And we are involved in the clubs that cannot do it. It is as easy as that.
“OK, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him.
“What a player he is. But it is about the money of course. No chance.
“Absolutely no chance. Sorry for killing that story.”