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Liverpool sporting director Jorg Schmadtke played as a goalkeeper and striker in classic



Liverpool sporting director Jorg Schmadtke played as a goalkeeper and striker in classic…

Liverpool’s new Sporting Director Jorg Schmadtke was once at the centre of one of the German Bundesliga’s exciting encounters, in which he featured as both goalkeeper and striker in the same match.

The Reds announced their latest appointment yesterday, the anticipated new sporting director Schmadtke, on a three-month contract officially starting tomorrow.

The 59-year-old comes into the role having acted in a similar position with Wolsburg and Koln, as well as having his own playing career between 1985 and 1998, in which he made over 300 German top-flight appearances as a goalkeeper. Well, almost entirely as a goalkeeper.

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Outfield players filling in between the sticks? Yes. Goalkeepers moving upfield in search of an attacking return in the dying embers? Alisson Becker has been there and done that, however straight up utilising a registered goalkeeper as a striker? That’s almost unheard of.

Well, in one such instance, Liverpool’s new sporting director found himself with tape strapped over the back of his outfield shirt to form a makeshift number one jersey so that he could feature up front for 16 minutes of SC Freiburg’s final day clash with Borussia Dortmund in 1996.

The wild scenario was a result of Dortmund’s confirmation as champions before the final match and Freiburg’s ability to breathe easy following their clinching of survival. Both managers opted to make what would be strange decisions in the second half of the match, which would go on to end in the most exhilarating way possible.

The score was one nil when Freiburg boss Volke Finke moved Schmadtke to striker, and eight minutes later four goals had been scored with Dortmund leading 3-2. Even more shockingly, Schmadtke had notched himself a fine assist during his brief outfield cameo, teeing up teammate Paschalis Seretis for an open goal tap-in.

Dortmund manager Otmar Hitzfeld would then bring on his 42-year-old goalkeeping coach into the fray to round out the campaign, as well as handing future Liverpool player Patrik Berger some minutes.


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Khéphren Thuram should lead Liverpool to’Moneyball’gem perfect for FSG transfer blueprint

The summer transfer market is already starting to heat up on Merseyside, with Liverpool tipped for moves for a whole host of players from across Europe. It remains to be seen who Jürgen Klopp will target in the coming weeks, but a new name has emerged in the last few days.

According to French publication L’Equipe — via Sport Witness — the Reds are ‘eager’ to sign Khéphren Thuram, who is currently contracted to OGC Nice. The 22-year-old midfielder has experienced an encouraging campaign in his homeland, and he now appears to have a place on Liverpool’s shortlist.

Klopp is desperate for new midfielders at Anfield, especially considering James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keïta will all leave the club this summer. Alexis Mac Allister, Mason Mount and Ryan Gravenberch are also linked with Liverpool, but Thuram is the latest name to pop up.

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The Italian-born talent has gradually established himself as a physical and promising pillar in the French Riviera. He stands around 1.91m (6ft 3in) tall, and he’s also a keen dribbler and ball carrier from the middle of the park, starting 30 matches from a possible 37 in Ligue 1 this term.

Supporters on Merseyside seem excited by the news linking Liverpool with Thuram, but he could act as little more than a smokescreen of sorts. If the Reds have been tracking the French top flight this season — as the links with Thuram would suggest — then another midfielder could have secured a spot on Klopp’s radar.

An intriguing player by the name of Enzo Le Fée has lit up Ligue 1 just as much — if not more than Thuram — over the past 12 months. He has been deployed in the middle of the field for Lorient, starting 34 matches and painting himself as a real ‘Moneyball’ gem.

Le Fée is perhaps the type of player who is inclined to drift under the radar in the scouting world, but after applying numbers to his performances, it becomes apparent just how much he is doing on the pitch. The 23-year-old looks like a very busy player in the data, and one who could be undervalued.

Enzo Le Fée has impressed in Ligue 1

(Image: Getty Images)

Fenway Sports Group first delivered success for the Boston Red Sox using evidence-based methods. The American consortium also transformed Liverpool through the application of data to gain an edge, with Le Fée looking like the type of rough diamond who could be showing up to Klopp’s recruitment team behind the scenes.

He offers a lot of value on the ball, but also does his fair share on the defensive side of the game. This season, Le Fée ranks top of the division for successful dribbles by midfielders — having completed just four fewer than superstar Kylian Mbappé — and he also places ninth among midfielders for progressive passes, and sixth for tackles and interceptions.

The Frenchman is slight in frame, standing just 1.7m (5ft 7in) tall unlike Thuram, but his size doesn’t seem to impact his effectiveness on the field. He has a contract that is due to expire in two years which could make him attainable this summer, and his wage demands are likely to be low considering he earns very little relative to Premier League terms right now.

Bournemouth attempted to acquire his services during the winter transfer window, but Le Fée denied the opportunity in favor of something bigger. “I know that these last few months are also very important if I want to go to a big club. I am someone who likes challenges, risks too. I want to show that I am capable of evolving at the highest level,” he said via L’Equipe earlier this season.

There is a question mark attached to just how big of a move he could get this summer, but based on his output this term, he seems to be worth monitoring at the very least. With Thuram appearing on Liverpool’s agenda, Le Fée could be next.

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