Leicester boss Claude Puel has suggested Riyad Mahrez must wait until the summer if he wants to move away from the club as reports link him with a January transfer to Liverpool.
Liverpool dubbed the rumour as “complete fabrication” on Saturday, but that was before Philippe Coutinho agreed to join Barcelona for £142 million. If the Reds still decide not to snap up Mahrez, he has also been linked with moves to Chelsea and Manchester United too.
“I think it is important he [Mahrez] keeps this focus and concentration until the end of the season,” Puel told a news conference. “I am happy with him and I think he is enjoying his football. He is happy to play with this team.
“We are trying to develop good play on the floor and he likes this. He has good results with assists and goals in recent games.”
Mahrez, 26, has been in blistering form with five goals and four assists in his last nine Premier League games, showing the glimpses of brilliance that won Leicester the title in 2016.
The Algeria international was one of a number of first-teamers left out of the Foxes’ side for the FA Cup tie against Fleetwood on Saturday, as Leicester were held to a 0-0 draw by the League One side.
Meanwhile, Puel also spoke of his desire to hold on to record-signing Islam Slimani, despite the striker making just two Premier League starts this season.
“I am happy with ‘Slim,'” he added. “We have a lot of strikers and offensive players and we need to have good balance to give them game time.”
Puel did, however, suggest Leicester could look to offload £16 million striker Ahmed Musa this month.
“Perhaps it could be a possibility,” he added. “We will see with the player and the opportunity for the club also.”