Liverpool haven’t had their most impressive first half of a season in the Premier League and Jurgen Klopp will surely be looking forward to the summer when he could potentially freshen up his team.
The Reds are currently ninth in the top-flight table after 19 outings due to inconsistent performances that have led to the side being ten points adrift for a Champions League qualifying spot inside the top four.
Indeed, there was an opportunity to bolster the squad over the January transfer window and although the club did acquire the attacking services of Cody Gakpo, the midfield issues are yet to be addressed.
Liverpool face a much-needed rebuild in the centre of the pitch this summer with a number of the current midfielders either out of contract or coming to the latter stages of their careers and not the players they once were.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, James Milner and Naby Keita – as it stands – will leave the club as free agents at the end of the season, whilst Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara are well into their 30s and will likely take a less frequent role in the team in their remaining years at Anfield.
As a result, Klopp and the recruitment team will need to identify impactful and high-quality midfield signings to replace those set for an exit this summer and improve the performances on the pitch.
One player who has been linked with a move to the Merseyside giants this month is Bayern Munich midfielder Ryan Gravenberch, a player who could finally replace the gap that Georginio Wijnaldum left at Anfield.
Over 12 Bundesliga appearances this season so far, Gravenberch has been displaying glimpses of his talent and potential – tallying up an 88% pass completion rate, successfully completing 57% of his dribbles and winning 1.1 duels per game, despite only averaging 21 minutes per performance.
Not only that, the £156k-per-week talent – hailed the “greatest talent” by Wim Kieft – ranks in the top 15% of his positional peers in the top five European leagues for shots on goal, shot-creating actions, touches and progressive passes received, over the last 12 months.
Gravenberch’s progressive style of play is very similar to that of Wijnaldum with the pair sharing many similarities in their output when you compare the positional peers.
When you measure the output of the 20-year-old this season and compare that to his fellow Dutchman’s final season at Anfield in 2021/2022 there are some clear likenesses including dribbles completed (66.7% v 66.7%), short pass completion (90.1% v 94.4%), medium pass completion (85.7% v 93.9%) and shots on target per 90 minutes (0.39 v 0.28).
Like Wijnaldum – who was dubbed the “architect of our success” by the Liverpool manager – it is clear that the young Bayern ace is comfortable in receiving passes under pressure and is capable of being direct whilst breaking the lines to allow the attacking threat to thrive.
With that being said, the signing of Gravenberch would be a major coup for the Reds and could finally give Klopp a player who can replace the work-horse in Wijnaldum that Liverpool are so sorely missing.
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