Liverpool Still Need a No. 6: Who are the Leading Options?

Matt Biggin
Matt Biggin

published 07:01, 08 August 2023

Liverpool have enjoyed a period of prolonged success in recent times, but the Jurgen Klopp era is in the midst of a transitional period. Last season’s dismal form meant the club could only manage a 5th placed finish, despite a resurgence in the final 10 games of the campaign, missing out on Champions League football for the first full season since the German took charge.

An aging midfield composed of Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, James Milner, et al looked sluggish, slow, and their form dipped alarmingly from previous seasons. This was to be the summer of the great rebuild under FSG, and things started so promisingly. Following the midfield departures of Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Naby Keita, new signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szobozlai were through the door early, and all was looking good. Then Saudi Arabia happened.

Saudi Came Knocking

Following Cristiano Ronaldo’s high-profile departure to the Saudi Arabian league, big name players have followed suit. And Liverpool’s summer transfer plans took a big blow when captain Jordan Henderson had his head turned, and unexpectedly left to join Al-Ettifaq for £12 million. Fabinho also departed for £40m to Al Ittihad, leaving the club with youngster Stefan Bajcetic as their only recognised number six.

This presented a huge problem, as the lack of strong options in that position last season had left the defence vulnerable, and the same was true in the opening game of this season, a hard-fought 1-1 draw away at Chelsea. Liverpool started off strong, but their defensive frailties were exposed, leaving the club still needing a recognised number 6, and at least 2 midfield options before deadline day.

Who are the Options?

With the unexpected signing of Japanese international Wataru Endō from German club Stuttgart now confirmed, we’ll take a look at some of the other options Liverpool have been monitoring, and who might be the perfect fit. Here are some of the key names being touted, as well as the stats that we feel are most relevant to the role they would need to play:

Chieck Doucoure – Crystal Palace

Pass completion 83.2%
Progressive passes p/90 mins 4.55
Dribblers tackled 55.8%
Interceptions p/90 1.82
Progressive carries p/90 0.58
Take-ons 71.4%

Andre – Fluminense

Pass completion 93.4%
Progressive passes p/90 mins 5.68
Dribblers tackled 58.6%
Interceptions p/90 1.49
Progressive carries p/90 1.42
Take-ons 58.3%

Ibrahim Sangare – PSV Eindhoven

Pass completion 83.7%
Progressive passes p/90 mins 7.58
Dribblers tackled 57.5%
Interceptions p/90 0.86
Progressive carries p/90 1.25
Take-ons 70.8%

Florentino Luis – Benfica

Pass completion 89.7%
Progressive passes p/90 mins 6.99
Dribblers tackled 69.7%
Interceptions p/90 2.67
Progressive carries p/90 0.47
Take-ons 59.1%

Whilst all four men play the same position, each have different strengths and attributes that allow them to excel in key areas. Whilst Sangare appears the most offensive, and Luis the most defensive, a more well-rounded option could be the way forward. Doucoure’s Premier League experience could prove invaluable, but it will depend on reaching the right price.

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