When Kostas Tsimikas first arrived at Anfield off the back of Liverpool’s Premier League title win in 2020, excitement was high surrounding the Greek international.
Over the first few months of his Liverpool career, many saw the left-back as a potential long-term competitor/replacement for the brilliant Andy Robertson. In fairness, Tsimikas’ performances were brilliant for the most part in his opening few years on Merseyside.
Speculations and Contract Renewal
At the end of the 2022/23 season, speculation over the ‘Greek Scouser’s’ future began to increase, with many suggesting he could be on the verge of leaving the club. Instead, the 27-year-old recently signed a new long-term deal keeping him at the club until 2027.
However, now Tsimikas finds himself in the worst run of form he has had during his time at the club, and questions over his future at the club are starting to arise again. Despite the long-term injury to Andy Robertson, the left-back is struggling to get into the lineup ahead of natural centre-back Joe Gomez.
What is going wrong for Tsimikas? There is definitely a debate to be had over the idea that Klopp’s new tactical system doesn’t suit Tsimikas’ style of play at all. This new tactical system sees the right-back operate invertedly, almost as a central midfielder, meaning the left-back ends up almost playing as a third central defender.
Now, it’s important to note that, although not as much, Robertson was also struggling with this tactical tweak prior to his injury. Defensively, Tsimikas is nowhere near good enough to feature in the role that is required in this system. With just 1.77 tackles per 90 minutes, that leaves the 27-year-old in just the 41st percentile compared to other Premier League full-backs. In comparison, Joe Gomez completes 2.12 tackles per 90 minutes and is in the 86th percentile for that statistic.
However, the change in tactical system has nothing to do with the often careless and lazy approach that the full-back often seems to have in games. There’s no doubt that Tsimikas loves the club and is trying his best, but sometimes that still isn’t quite enough, unfortunately.
What does the future hold for Tsimikas? The fact that Tsimikas has recently signed a new long-term deal at the club suggests that Klopp sees him as an important squad member for at least another couple of years. With Robertson out with a long-term injury, this was the opportunity that Tsimikas had been waiting for since he arrived on Merseyside three years ago.
Missed Opportunities and Potential Transfers
Unfortunately, so far he hasn’t been able to capitalise, and I can’t help but feel that if he was ever going to nail down a starting spot, then this was that chance. However, his new deal does also protect his value should the decision be made to move the left-back on in upcoming transfer windows. The Reds have been regularly being linked with left-footed defenders in recent months, such as Goncalo Inacio and Piero Hincapie. This suggests that Liverpool could be in the market for a defender that could be better suited to the left-sided role in this system.
Liverpool’s Squad Dynamics
If you were to name the two weak points of Liverpool’s current squad, I think this position would only be second to the defensive midfield position, which is likely to be solved in January. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if we saw Liverpool sign a left-footed defender next summer, and potentially Tsimikas could be used to raise funds for that transfer.