Mason Mount: Ideal Summer Midfield Addition for Liverpool?
We are hopefully about to witness a significant rebuild of a Liverpool midfield that has needed major tweaks for some time now.
In hindsight, last summer simply had to see at least one big signing made in that area, but a mixture of FSG’s unwillingness to spend and Jurgen Klopp’s loyalty prevented it from happening.
Things have gone from bad to worse in the middle of the park this season, with the decline of Fabinho and Jordan Henderson particularly galling to watch.
Thiago has tried his best, but has been more miss than hit recently, Naby Keita has done well in some games but isn’t good enough moving forward (see also: James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain) and Stefan Bajcetic is still an 18-year-old who shouldn’t be starting games.
Put bluntly, there isn’t one midfielder at the club who feels like a guaranteed key part of Liverpool’s future.
A plethora of midfielders will be linked with a summer move to Anfield in the coming months, with Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes the most talked-about additions, but Mason Mount is another name who has been thrown into the hat.
The 24-year-old is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of next season and some recent reports have suggested that the Reds could look to swoop in, should he decide to leave Stamford Bridge in 2024.
In truth, it is still highly likely that Mount will end up committing his long-term future to the Blues – it would be the equivalent of Trent Alexander-Arnold suddenly exiting Anfield – but Liverpool should do all they can to entice him to the club.
This opinion likely won’t be met with resounding positivity, however, considering the England international is someone who divides opinion greatly.
We could all do with another one of those footballers at Liverpool, eh!
There are some who struggle to see what Mount offers, often finding themselves perplexed at how he manages to start so regularly for Chelsea and England, receiving lots of plaudits at the same time.
He isn’t lightning-fast, there isn’t a huge amount of flair on show and he isn’t one to make the headlines in the same way that international teammates such as Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka do.
Mount’s brilliance lies in his subtlety as a footballer, though, which is not dissimilar to former Liverpool hero and fellow divisive figure Gini Wijnaldum.
He isn’t necessarily a player who wins countless Man of the Match awards and produces individual magic from attacking midfielder areas, but there is so much to admire and he is someone who is treasured by his colleagues.
Perhaps Mount’s greatest strength is his intelligence, allowing him to read the game expertly, show immaculate positional sense and understand complex instructions.
Those attributes may not sell as many shirts as someone like Jack Grealish, but they are everything that the Manchester City star lacks in his game.
In the past, Jose Mourinho has hailed Mount for his “tactical discipline”, adding that he is “very, very intelligent”, while none other than Lionel Messi has said he can become “one of the best” in the game.
Capable of playing as either a No.8 or No.10, or even out wide at a stretch, his versatility is something that could further appeal to Klopp.
A lot of Mount’s best work goes unnoticed, from off-the-ball defensive nous to clever movement, but that’s not to say he isn’t also an extremely gifted footballer.
He already has 36 caps to his name for England, becoming a mainstay under Gareth Southgate, and a tally of 70 goal involvements (33 goals and 37 assists) in 188 appearances for Chelsea shows that he delivers far more end product than all of Liverpool’s midfielders.
The Chelsea man has averaged 1.5 key passes per game in the Premier League this season, with Thiago (1.2) Liverpool’s highest-performing midfielder in that area, and his tally of two tackles per match in the Champions League highlights his all-round game.
At 24, Mount is also still young – three months younger than Alexander-Arnold, to be precise – and his box-to-box energy and pressing ability would bring the freshness that is so desperately needed, with one of the No.8 roles tailor-made for him to thrive in.
Granted, he has been more attack-minded for Chelsea this season, playing the majority of his games as a No.10, but his aforementioned tactical brilliance means tweaking his position would be no great issue.
If Liverpool were able to snap up both Bellingham and Mount, it would be superb business – another midfielder is also needed, too, such is the level of surgery required – immediately solving an issue that has become crippling this season.
There may be some who turn their noses up at the prospect of Mount becoming a Reds player, whether it be because of a perceived lack of flair or the lazy narrative of “what does he actually do?”, but he is someone who could flourish under Klopp, combining technical quality, a switched-on footballing brain and long-term promise.