Why Leon Goretzka Would Be A Perfect Signing For Klopp’s Liverpool
Fresh from making Virgil van Dijk the most expensive defender of all time, Liverpool are trying to wrap up a second January deal in the form of Schalke star Leon Goretzka. The £36m rated German can negotiate a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Germany from the beginning of January and according to Bild, Liverpool are at the front of the queue.
Last season, Emre Can was considered a favourite amongst some of the Liverpool fans. Well, this meant that securing a new long-term contract was of huge importance for the German international. Now, the 23-year-old is on the brink of leaving Anfield, with him reluctant to agree to a new deal. As Can’s future remains uncertain, supporters are wondering who his replacement would be. In the addictive world of football transfers, the next quick fix is required.
Jurgen Klopp has already secured a deal for RB Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita, who will join Liverpool in the summer of 2018. While Keita is a midfield enforcer, ticking all the boxes to be a Klopp kind of player, he is not of the sort of a panzer, which Can generally is. So this becomes a debatable topic whether Keita is the ideal replacement to Can if the German leaves Anfield next season. Not in my opinion though, as I feel Goretzka is more suited to play the role of Can, and in a more stylish manner.
Indeed, it could be argued it would be like-for-like. Goretzka has created a buzz with his performances for both Schalke and Germany and it’s no surprise he has attracted wide interest from Barcelona, Bayern, Manchester United and Arsenal.
Six goals at international level in his 12 appearances – including two in Germany’s 5-1 win over Azerbaijan in October – is in keeping with his progression at club level in Gelsenkirchen. After scoring five in the last Bundesliga campaign, Goretzka already has 4 in 12 appearances this season.
Now two years into Klopp’s stewardship, Liverpool have at times started to line up differently from their traditional midfield and forward trios, supported by full-backs acting as wingers. The German works on the 4-3-3, with skipper Jordan Henderson sitting deep and spraying crosses to different parts of the pitch.
In Klopp’s 4-3-3, the defence stays static, and an energetic midfield in Henderson, Can and Georginio Wijnaldum or Philippe Coutinho feed the attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. If the case of Henderson’s injury, Can is the one who takes that responsibility but has often disappointed as he is not a defensive midfielder.
With Can and Coutinho likely to depart Liverpool in the summer, which frees up spaces for next summer’s signing Keita to take the latter’s place, Goretzka becomes the idyllic replacement for the former, with little more proficiency on the front foot.
Goretzka’s versatility is immense; he can play as a double-pivot, in a midfield of three or as a No.10, while the German also has the knack to play as a winger. He fits the traditional label of a ‘box-to-box midfielder’, possesses the power that is needed in the Premier League and has the drive from midfield to operate in advanced areas.
However, he remains raw and there is undoubtedly more to come from him. But if Liverpool were to replace Can, he appears to be a prime candidate as the midfielder is considered to be one of Bundesliga’s top talents. Goreztka will be a fantastic signing for Klopp, who prefers to play an attacking and dynamic brand of football. With Salah, Mane and Firmino swarming the opposition’s box, the Schalke man could become the fulcrum of creativity.
If Coutinho leaves for Barcelona in the summer, there won’t be a bigger beneficiary than Goretzka, who will have plenty of room to create magic and take the Premier League by storm.