After Szobozlai: Defender Move The Next Priority

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It’s amazing how in the space of 48 hours a transfer window can just kick into gear eh. After weeks of frustration, impatience and deep-rooted suspicion, Liverpool fans seem set to get something that has been a rarity in recent years: a second midfield signing of the window. After the early arrival of Alexis Mac Allister at The AXA Centre, it now looks like he’ll be joined by Dominik Szoboszlai. The Reds’ business doesn’t look like stopping there if reports are to be believed and nor should it. However, in the context of what we have and what’s needed, there’s one area of the team that should be a focus.

Photo: IMAGO

The fact shouldn’t be ignored however just how great a start to a window that only opened a short while ago this really is. In Mac Allister, Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp have gained a 24-year-old, World Cup-winning midfielder ideally suited for the left-sided eight role for a bargain fee of £35 million. Two years his junior, Szoboszlai’s running power, energy, dribbling, and ability to strike the ball and find the final pass make him ideal for the right side of our midfield. With spotless injury records and versatility, both will be expected to contribute in different systems and positions, as well as bringing goals from the middle. It’s natural to be excited and positive at this stage.

However, not all the main issues in the team are now solved and there is real work to do. A centre-half is seriously needed to support Van Dijk, Konate, Matip, and Gomez. Whatever the combination from last season of ages, form, ability, contract situations, or the change of formation with Trent’s role, the majority of Reds share the concern that what we have there simply isn’t enough right now. To almost paraphrase Neil Jones as he mentioned on our Media Matters show, Jurgen Klopp may well see it differently to the majority of fans but the defensive situation could replace the midfield one in twelve months if nothing is done.

The recent names that are being mentioned and discussed by respected journalists relate to midfield. With Szoboszlai’s arrival, there may be a few question marks against firming up interest in Khephren Thuram, whilst Romeo Lavia seems to have come back into the thinking based on recent reports. From a defensive standpoint, Mickey Van De Ven appears to be closer to Spurs than anywhere else, Jurrien Timber also looks set for North London, Inacio’s hopes were dampened by David Lynch on media matters and any links to Levi Colwill seem ambitious at best. There doesn’t appear to be a defender close, jumping out, or primed to arrive at Anfield as the next priority.

Recent events though will show because nothing is public doesn’t mean too much right now. The entire operation of a move for Szoboszlai was performed in a manner to which Liverpool fans desire, whatever may be said. A link breaks from nowhere and within 48 hours it’s on the verge of being done, as opposed to a public and dragged-out saga. Whatever is happening behind the scenes with Schmadtke, Klopp, Gordon et al. right now, there should be clarity. Another midfielder is still important don’t get it twisted. But if push comes to shove and there’s only one option, a centre-back should be next.

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