Liverpool are not expected to be busy in the January transfer window. As usual the club will only act if a major target suddenly becomes available. Just like it was the case with Cody Gakpo or Luis Díaz during the last couple of windows.
But that doesn’t mean that there shouldn’t be any activity expected at all. In the last few January windows, Liverpool has moved for future long-term prospects. Stefan Bajčetić arrived at the club in the January window of 2021. In the same year, the club brought in Kaide Gordon from Derby County, and a year later the Reds tried to sign Fábio Carvalho from Fulham.
It would not be a surprise to see Liverpool make a similar move in January 2024.
Reports in Sweden have already linked Momodou Sonko with a move to Anfield, who could be an ideal target.
The 18 year old Swedish youth international has been on the club’s radar for some time. He’s already been on a trial at Liverpool’s academy back in 2017. He’s expected to be available in the January window. But alongside Liverpool, the likes of Barcelona and RB Leipzig also covet his services.
A Top Prospect
Sonko is a left-winger and plays his club football for BK Häcken in Sweden. He made his debut just over a year ago in the top flight back in October 2022 towards the end of last season. It’s this season though that Sonko really broken onto the scene in Sweden.
He scored his first goal for the club in the Swedish Cup at the start of the 2023 campaign. In the process he became the second youngest goal-scorer in Häcken’s history in the Swedish Cup. Since then he has scored a further nine goals and registered 7 assists in 29 games in the league and cup.
Over the summer Sonko helped Häcken reach the group-stages of a European competition for the first time in the club’s history. During the qualifying stage, he made history by becoming the youngest ever scorer for the club in European qualifying.
When Sonko scored in the Europa League group-stages later on, he also became the youngest Swedish player to score in the competition in the 21st century, beating Zlatan Ibrahimović’s record.
Europa League Performance
Sonko’s ability to score and create chances makes him a valuable prospect. He’s been really impressive in the Allsvenskan. But what has probably made clubs like Liverpool and Barcelona take notice are his performances in the Europa League.
His side may have finished rock bottom, and lost every single game in the group-stages this season, but Sonko was still able to shine. Not only did he score one of only Häcken’s three goals at the competition, but he also ranked highly for offensive metrics.
Impressively, in the group-stages of the Europa League this season only one player made more successful take-ons than Sonko as per FBref. Sonko made 16 successful take-ons out of 28 attempted ones, which was trumped only by Alexander Prass who made 18 successful take-ons. Given Häcken’s poor showing in the group, Sonko’s ranking so highly is a really commendable feat. To put into context, the most successful completed take-ons by a Liverpool player was Curtis Jones with 9.
Sonko also had to deal with a lot of defensive situations given his club’s poor showing. Impressively, for an attacker he stood-out in defensive metrics as well. Among wingers in the Europa League, Sonko ranked in the top five for successful defensive duels percentage as per Wyscout. He won 66.67% of his 5.54 defensive duels per 90 minutes. Out of the wingers ranked in the top five, no one averaged as many defensive duels as Sonko, which makes his high percentage output all the more impressive.
Suitability for Liverpool?
Sonko’s ability to defend effectively from the front is definitely a key factor in why he has appeared on Liverpool’s radar. Klopp demands his attackers to win the ball high up the field, and Sonko does this effectively on a regular basis.
Not just in the Europa League, but in the Swedish top flight as well. Out of wingers in the Allsvenskan, Sonko ranks third for successful defensive duel percentage winning 63.29% of his 4.87 defensive duels per 90. He also ranks in the top ten wingers for adjusted interceptions per 90, with 2.93 according to Wyscout.
On top of his effective defending, Sonko is also the kind of direct winger Klopp likes to deploy on Liverpool’s flanks. He averages a high volume of dribbles and is very effective at taking players on.
In the Allsvenskan out of players who average at least 7 dribbles per 90, Sonko has the third best success rate at 57.16%.
Like Klopp’s wingers, Sonko thrives at getting into the box, and cutting into his stronger right foot. Out of his last 11 goals, eight were scored from inside the box, and out of the eight scored inside the box, seven were scored from the left. Overall, he ranks in fourth place in the league for touches inside the opposition’s penalty area (5.18 per 90) according to Wyscout.
Perfect fit? Perfect timing?
Liverpool probably has more of a pressing need to invest in a left-footed right-winger, however bringing in Sonko wouldn’t hurt. He’s been on the club’s radar for some time and he’s got all the attributes Klopp looks for in his attackers. He defends well from the front, likes to drive at opponents and is effective at finding space inside the box.
The 2023 season has just concluded in Sweden, and the new campaign doesn’t start until late February. Similarly, to André at Fluminense, Häcken are likely going to be a lot more lenient to letting Sonko go in January rather than mid-season during the summer window. Which means now might be the perfect time for Liverpool to strike a deal.