Connect with us


Liverpool submit offer to sign £69.5m defender – Report



Liverpool submit offer to sign £69.5m defender – Report

Liverpool ended their Premier League campaign with a draw in a poor defensive display against against relegated Southampton, who managed to score four past the Anfield club.

The Reds had the third best attack in the league, however, Klopp’s men had the seventh best defense and that is they failed to finish in the top four.

News – Liverpool prepared to seal £7.8million a year deal for signing – Report

Even Aston Villa and Brentford conceded fewer goals than the Merseysiders, who need to reinforce the backline in the summer.

According to Spanish source, Liverpool have submitted an offer to sign Jules Kounde from La Liga champions, Barcelona.

The news outlet have mentioned that Xavi would like to hold on to the defender but the French international wishes to leave.

The 24-year-old rose to fame at Sevilla where he mainly played in the central defense and he also featured as a center back in France’s Nations League win two years ago.

Last week, Sport revealed the Barca boss lured Kounde to play him in the central defense and even convinced him to reject Chelsea. Now he must resolve the situation.

He arrived at the Nou Camp in a deal worth over 50 million euros and the Catalan source claims he will not be allowed to leave for a fee less than 80 million euros (£69.5m)

The Blaugrana have only conceded 18 goals in 37 league outings this term and the Les Bleus star has been a key member of their backline.

Yesterday, Kounde featured in the preferred center back role against Mallorca but Xavi has primarily preferred Christensen.

Even France boss, Didier Deschamps, utilized the 19-capped international as a right back at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year.

Jules Kounde has the quality and the versatility to improve things at the back for Klopp. In your view, should Liverpool secure his signing?


Liverpool season review: Injuries and midfield issues cost the Reds a place in Champions League

Read Daniel Storey’s reviews for all 20 Premier League clubs here

What went well?

Halfway through the season, there were serious concerns that the rapid depth of the fall and scale of recovery was so large, and coming so far into Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, that Liverpool’s manager might not have the energy to see it out.

Yet the scale of the comeback was impressive: Liverpool pushed on and made a concerted late bid for Champions League football that eventually ended with them falling just short. That represents a significant setback, but not a calamity.

That recovery speaks of Klopp’s continued ability to motivate his players, but also of the strength in Liverpool’s squad outside of their problem central midfield. The strength in depth in attack is outrageous and Ibrahima Konate has improved to rival Joel Matip as first-choice central defender.

Related Article

Unsurprisingly given the investment in attacking players last season and this, Liverpool’s attack was their attack. They ranked third in the Premier League for shots on target. Their attacking returns were evidently skewed by their most handsome victories (they scored 29 per cent of their league goals in three wins over Bournemouth, Manchester United and Leeds), but that is just nitpicking.

Following the signing of his new contract, it was a risk to then immediately change Mohamed Salah’s role. Salah became less of a pure goalscorer and more of a goalscorer-creator, but that actually worked. Salah scored 19 league goals but also provided 12 assists.

Although Trent Alexander-Arnold had his (well-documented) defensive issues, he remains an elite creator, both in his customary right-back role and after his more recent shift to a full-back-central-midfielder hybrid. On the left, Andy Robertson remains the best – and most complete – left-back in the country. Finally (and more details on him later), Alisson had one of his best seasons in a Liverpool shirt.

What went badly?

The decision not to buy a new midfielder, even if based on sound principles at the time, backfired badly. Recruitment instead focused on the attack with the signings of Cody Gakpo and Darwin Nunez, but that quickly felt like the cart coming before the horse. Nunez has not worked out yet, largely because he is a “proper” centre-forward in a team that peaked (and arguably continues to peak) with a fluid front line containing Salah, Gakpo and one of Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz. Nunez didn’t help himself with his finishing. No Premier League player took shots more regularly, but nine goals from 84 shots is way below what we expect from an elite striker.

Related Article

The midfield problem began to define Liverpool’s season because of the obvious drop in intensity (and Arthur, the one midfield arrival, was injured for virtually for most of the campaign). Three of Liverpool’s four most-used midfielders were Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Fabinho – 32, 32 and 29. Liverpool played 63 matches in all competitions in 2021-22 and there was a World Cup in the middle of this packed season. At their best, Liverpool are brilliant in transition both ways – transforming defence to attack quickly and closing down counters when possession is lost. This season, that midfield struggled to do either excellently.

Injuries compounded the problem. Much was made of Alexander-Arnold’s defending (tracking runners and defending at the back post were both clear issues), but he suffered from the lack of consistency next to him. Virgil van Dijk, Matip and Fabinho, the defensive axis, started four games together after early-October. Liverpool won three of those matches and drew the other.

Finally, there was evidently a collective loss of belief that lasted from late-summer to spring. In 2021-22, Liverpool took 20 points from the 12 league games in which they conceded first (1.67 points per game). Between August and the beginning of April, Liverpool took nine points from 13 games in the same circumstances. Their aura, the belief that they could win every game, was badly eroded.

Player of the season

Salah carried on doing his thing, recording the most goals and most assists of any Liverpool player and suffering a dip only in comparison with his usual extraordinary standards. But Alisson was surely the club’s highest performer. Not only did he keep 14 clean sheets behind a vastly underperforming defensive and midfield unit, he also overperformed expectations with his shot stopping. No goalkeeper in the division had a better record in terms of post-shot expected goals (the number of goals conceded vs goals we would expect them to concede based on the quality of chances faced).

The manager

Klopp has clearly been unnerved this season. Elite managers obsess about control and there was a period where Klopp seemed helpless to solve the midfield issues and must have realised that he and his club made a mistake last summer in sticking with what they have. His treatment of officials, playing into the elements of fanbases who are keen to discover conspiracy theories, was desperate at times.

But he will go again; we know that now. Missing out on the Champions League is difficult to swallow, but Klopp seems to be using it as motivation for his players: “Don’t want to play in the Europa League? Leave. Don’t want to miss out on the Champions League again? It’s in your hands.” Liverpool will not make the same mistakes this summer (Alexis Mac Allister might be the first midfielder in) and they will, surely, be more competitive next season.

Pre-season prediction (oh the shame): Second

The Score is Daniel Storey’s weekly verdict on all 20 Premier League teams’ performances. Sign up here to receive the newsletter every Monday morning next season

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *