By Germany correspondent Hans Matthias
Jurgen Klopp has hailed the “extraordinary abilities” of Mario Gotze in a thinly-veiled hint that he will pursue a summer move for the German sensation.
The versatile Bayern Munich forward has been repeatedly linked with a move to Anfield and a reunion with Klopp, who brought him through the ranks at Borussia Dortmund.
Football Insider revealed that Liverpool are hopeful of securing the German’s services for as little as £20million in the summer.
Klopp has now spoken of his admiration for Gotze after being quizzed in his native Germany about a swoop for a second player in the Bundesliga following Liverpool’s acquisition of Joel Matip, the defender who will move to Anfield from Schalke in the summer.
“We can talk about Matip or something else, but not Mario,” Klopp told German publication Ruhr Nachrichten. “I am happy that he put in a good performance yesterday. But there is nothing to add from my side. He’s a player with extraordinary abilities and wants to return to full fitness after four months on the sidelines.”
A well-placed Liverpool source has told Football Insider that Klopp is keen on taking advantage of the uncertainty surrounding the 23-year-old’s situation this summer.
Gotze’s Bayern contract expires in 2017 and he has yet to open talks over a new one.
In a season in which he was sidelined for months through injury, the Germany international has also struggled for game time for the Bundesliga leaders and Champions League quarter-finalists when he has been fit.
A Germany source has told Football Insider that the combination of Gotze’s contract, form and diminished status at Bayern mean the club are unlikely to be able to command a fee of more than £20million in the summer.
In turn, the Germany World Cup winner has admitted in the past he could leave Bayern at the end of the season and has spoken of his excellent relationship with Klopp.
Incoming Bayern manager Carlo Ancelotti will have a say in Gotze’s future but the player is in a strong position to push for a summer transfer.
The scorer of the winning goal in Germany’s 2014 World Cup final win over Argentina had a terrific record at Dortmund under Klopp, scoring 31 goals and supplying 44 assists from 116 appearances.
In other Liverpool transfer news, Klopp has already begun to look towards a summer revamp with his scouts checking out a potential £12million player.