Liverpool should look for an exciting midfielder who, this season, is up there with Lionel Messi and Kevin de Bruyne as the best assist-maker in Europe’s top five leagues.
It would be an understatement to say Liverpool’s midfield has been a little flat this season. What is often the team’s spine has often been Liverpool’s weak point.
Not fluid enough nor strong in the defensive transitions, the Reds will need to resolve their midfield issues if they want to return back to the pinnacle of the Premier League table.
For a long time, Liverpool has lacked a dynamic presence in the middle of the park who can also be a creative force and dictate games on his own. It’s exactly the type of player Kevin de Bruyne is and he has been essential to Manchester City’s success over the years, highlighted by his crucial contribution to winning a late penalty, converted by Erling Haaland, for Pep Guardiola’s side on Saturday against Fulham.
As Liverpool continues to evolve and build a new generation, the next step in the club’s metamorphosis must be to find their own equivalent of the Belgian in their squad, and they could do so by targeting a player from a well-established transfer link, who according to a CIES study from last year, is one of the most similar players to De Bruyne from Europe’s top five leagues in terms of his style of play in RB Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai.
Over the years, Liverpool has developed a close bond with Red Bull clubs having conducted plenty of business with them over the years, and Szoboszlai seems like the ideal player for the next piece of business between the two sides.
This season, only De Bruyne himself and Lionel Messi have bettered him in terms of assists out of the players in Europe’s top five leagues with Szoboszlai having already registered 11 in all competitions for Leipzig.
A dynamic and robust player with speed and plenty of energy that makes him a suitable candidate for Liverpool’s midfield, Szoboszlai has previously confessed it would be a ‘dream’ to work with Jürgen Klopp one day, meaning he may not be opposed to the idea of moving to Anfield.
His 0.77 goal contributions per 90 this season is better than any of Liverpool’s midfielders have ever averaged under Klopp and that already makes him an ideal candidate in order to bring a new layer to Liverpool.
But it’s not just his creativity that is a huge asset. Szoboszlai also puts in his fair share of defensive duties and he is adept at winning the ball high up the field. He averages 6.77 possession-adjusted interceptions this season per 90 for Leipzig and to put that into context, that’s more than Declan Rice (6.59), who plays in the holding midfield position for West Ham.
His multi-faceted ability coupled with his desire and unique skillset means Szoboszlai — valued at £25m by Transfermarkt but with a €70m (£61m) release clause — must absolutely be on the club’s radar next summer as Julian Ward embarks on his quest to resolve Liverpool’s midfield problems.