Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool team have been excellent this season. Attacking-wise, they have been one of the best teams in the division. Players like Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane have turned it on in fine style and have been instrumental in taking Liverpool to where they find themselves today. And that is a handsome 2nd spot, only trailing leaders Chelsea by a single point.
Things might change in January though when Sadio Mane heads to Gabon for the latest version of the African Cup of Nations. Mane will be absent for close to a month depending on Senegal’s success in the tournament and Klopp will surely feel the absence of a player who has been in scintillating form. With Mane going away, Liverpool might be short on attacking numbers and Klopp has been linked with a move for the £15m rated Croatian midfielder Ante Coric.
Ante Coric Bio
Ante Coric is all of 19 years old but has already established himself as a mainstay in the Dinamo Zagreb midfield. Coric has drawn comparisons with compatriots and fellow Dinamo Zagreb-graduates, Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic, who are both instrumental to Real Madrid’s midfield proceedings. There are even reports from Croatia that Coric is more of a talent than those two, but only time will tell.
At the age of 12, Coric moved to Austria and joined the academy of Redbull Salzburg, where he stayed for 4 years before moving back to Croatia. On returning to his homeland, he signed with Dinamo Zagreb and hasn’t looked back ever since. 2 days after turning 17, Coric made his senior debut for Dinamo. A couple of months later, he was setting all sorts of records as he became the youngest goalscorer in the Europa League history, at 17 years and 157 days.
Coric is an attacking midfielder who is similar to Luka Modric, not only in stature but also when it comes to attributes. He might only be 5’6 in height, but has the heart of a lion and is an ever-willing challenger in midfield, as he is known for his ability to pick out a pass and orchestrate attacks from deep, something his compatriots Modric and Kovacic are so good at doing. There’s just something about Dinamo Zagreb that milks the best out of its upcoming midfielders as the production line just goes on and on.
How Coric would fit into the Liverpool line-up
Although Coric has been earmarked to replace Mane in the team sheet, it might not be as straight-forward as that. Liverpool are blessed with many playmakers at the moment. Lallana, Coutinho, Henderson are all favourite to start. It is only the wider positions that will be up for grabs once Mane departs.
This will undoubtedly play on Coric’s mind. But the opportunity to work with one of the leading managers in world football, in Jurgen Klopp, will please Coric and he should view this as a real opportunity to progress. What Klopp has been successful in doing in the past is, how he tinkers around with the position that a player is able to play in. He shows great imagination and thrill in how he lines his teams up and Coric could benefit from this and change his position to a wider role.
Coric has also been in amongst the goals and this will encourage Klopp about Coric’s prospects an Anfield. With Phillipe Coutinho being the main playmaker in the team, Coric might have to seriously consider playing in a wider role to accommodate all the players Klopp wants in his line-up.
Another worrying factor for Coric would be about how he gets on with acclimatising to the rigours of the Premier League. Liverpool made another midfield recruit in the summer, in the form of Marko Grujic, a young upcoming Serbian midfielder, but he has had to bide his time in his quest to get first team minutes with the Liverpool team.
Coric would obviously prefer not to slip down the same route, but he should make the move to test himself nevertheless. Klopp did a very good job with Mario Gotze in his Dortmund days and he could have the same effect with Coric.
How they could line-up post Coric’s arrival
Karius, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Henderson, Can, Lallana, Coric, Firmino, Coutinho.