Abdi Sharif has signed his first professional contract with Liverpool Football Club.
The 18-year-old midfielder has been training with the Reds since the age of six and formally joined the club three years later.
Born in Somalia but raised in Toxteth, Sharif was an important part of Barry Lewtas' U18 side last season.
He started in the FA Youth Cup final and scored a penalty in the shootout, which saw Liverpool lift the trophy for the first time in 12 years.
Sharif made his full U23s debut in January, going on to score his first goal at the level against Chelsea in April.
Liverpool have announced the signing of Sepp van den Berg and supporters have been left excited by his capture.
The Reds confirmed their first signing of the summer on Thursday, with Van den Berg completing a £1.3 million move to Anfield.
Seen as one of the most exciting young talents in the Dutch football, the former PEC Zwolle centre-back is expected go into Liverpool’s first-team squad quickly.
While Reds fans will be hoping for more high-profile additions this summer, positivity has still surrounded Van den Berg’s arrival.
Here’s the best fan reaction on social media.Supporters welcomed the teenager with open arms…
First lean of the summer. SvdB is here! pic.twitter.com/ViHl6NuNJP
— GaGs (@GagsTandon) June 27, 2019
— LFCZA ?? ???? (@LFCZA) June 27, 2019
“Welcome to six times UCL CHAMPION.”
– Sebastian Bong on Facebook.
“Welcome aboard. Keep the standard high.”
– Prabagar Thruselvam on Facebook.
Sepp Van Den Berg >>.
Ginger Sauce. ?
Paul Scholes could never. pic.twitter.com/XvMSynI2b1
— Le? (@HeadieTw0) June 27, 2019
“I’m just remembering the last time we bought a cheap centre back from the Dutch league. If he develops and turns into even half the player Sami was then we’ve got an absolute steal.”
– Steven Robinson on Facebook.A few comments, some tongue-in-cheek, were made over how good he could be…
Sepp van den Berg vs Mattijs de Ligt in 2018/19 (per 90):
4.9 vs 4.7 interceptions
1.4 vs 3.4 aerial duals won
10.4 vs 12.2 ball recoveries
2 vs 1.4 defensive duels won
2.5 vs 2.45 clearances
1.8 vs 2.7 successful long balls
88% vs 92% pass accuracy
— agent bobby (@agentbobby_) June 27, 2019
My exposure to Sepp van den Berg is fairly limited, but I like what I've seen. Looks proactive and calm on the ball, able to slot in centrally and on the right. Really like that he appears to be pretty fluid and mobile despite his height and lankiness.
— ???????????? (@div6ck) June 27, 2019
Guess now I have to go to YouTube to watch Sepp van den Berg videos lol
— Nhlanhla Mazibuko (@_NhlanhlaM) June 27, 2019
Sepp van den Berg > Matthijs De Ligt
Anything else is wrong.
— 6 (@AnfieldRd96) June 27, 2019
— Waq™ (@WaqtinAFool) June 27, 2019Some are considering whether this is the start of a busy summer or otherwise…
The way #LFC have announced Sepp Van Den Berg and the media love fair over an U23 signing should be flagged too. This narrative we're creating regarding signings this summer is definitely no coincidence. As I've said time and time again, under FSG we're masters of media narrative
— The Advocate (@TheAceOfKnaves7) June 27, 2019
At least we won't end the window with no new signings ?
Welcome to Liverpool, Sepp ?? https://t.co/5jjuQQEWQD
— ?•?G?•? (@Proud__Scouser) June 27, 2019
1st transfer of the window completed. Sepp van den Berg from PEC Zwolle ?? Liverpool for £1.3 million, fee could rise up to £4.4 million with potential add ons for the 17 year old Dutch defender. #transfernews #lfc
— Noah Hitchcock (@NozHitchcockLFC) June 27, 2019Some pointed out the Dutch revolution taking place at Anfield…
The Dutch Domination continues at @LFC I’m so happy ?
— Leroy | LFC Impulse (@LFCImpulse) June 27, 2019
Welcome to Liverpool, Sepp van den Berg. Hopefully the latest great Dutch addition for the Reds.
— Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) June 27, 2019
Two brilliant young Dutch centre halves to go train with VVD for a couple of seasons. Lovely stuff #LFC
— Owen Webb O Rourke (@OwenWebbORourke) June 27, 2019
“Here come the boys…. So a Dutch CB and a Dutch RB/CB (Hoever) waiting in the wings.”
– Dimi Maha in the comments section.
Hoever and Van den Berg, could be Liverpools centre backs sorted for a long time and what better idol than their fellow countryman VVD #LFC
— Martin Deady (@MDeady3) June 27, 2019
Up the Dutch defender Reds.
— Liam Grimshaw (@LFCLiamGrimshaw) June 27, 2019
Dutch gold pic.twitter.com/TkHTuVrOI1
— John O'Sullivan (@NotoriousJOS) June 27, 2019
Sign all the Dutch defenders
— Martin ?????? (@Turner_LFC) June 27, 2019
He’s only a teenager with a handful of games to his name, but Liverpool’s new signing is setting the bar high for what he wants to achieve at Anfield.
The Dutch 17-year-old will join in July from PEC Zwolle after the Reds agreed a deal on Thursday.
In his first interview after signing, Van den Berg immediately set long-term goals which highlight not just his ability, but also his maturity and the fact that this is very much a move for the best part of his career if all goes to plan, not a mere stepping stone.
Indeed, if Van den Berg goes on to achieve all he hopes at Anfield, it won’t be long before the fans need to dream up a song for him.
“It’s just amazing. It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true. I am really excited,” he said.
“Football without fans is nothing. I can say Liverpool has the best fans in the world, so I am really excited to hopefully [get a chance] to play with them behind me.
“Longer-term, I hope I can play as much as possible here for the club. Short-term, [my target is] to be with the first team, develop myself, grow into the team and see how it goes. Long-term, I really want to be a legend here.”
Plenty of expectation on himself, then!
That doesn’t appear to faze him, though, and of course he’ll be learning from the very best. Once he’s integrated into a first-team environment, whether that’s immediately or a little further down the line, there will be a familiar face or two around him.
Sepp is clear that he’ll be taking on board plenty from the Reds’ No. 4, who he sees as the perfect role model. Indeed, the teenager notes his own strengths and traits, which many fans might see reflected in Van Dijk’s own game.
“I am a centre-half, I am calm with the ball, I am quite quick and can run, but I came here especially to improve myself more.
“I think this is the best place for me to grow and hopefully play a lot of games here.
“I was thinking about [the idea of] training with Virgil. For me he is the best defender in the world right now, so I can learn a lot from him. [I can learn] Everything!”
Patience will be a virtue for Van den Berg as he gets to grip with a new life in a new country.
His father will initially be moving over with him, he revealed, and the family-oriented feeling at the club was a motivation for joining.
There’s another big positive which swayed him, though: the progress of young players at Liverpool.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a great example, going from young hopeful to Champions League winner in a couple of years, but the progress and excitement around others including Hoever, Rhian Brewster and Joe Gomez—who Van den Berg has been likened to—also applies.
“I’ve seen what kind of players from the Academy have grown into the first team.
“It is unbelievable, especially when this kind of big club does that.
“Of course, the trainer [Jurgen Klopp] is a great guy and one of the reasons they are successful – and also one of the reasons I came here.”
Plenty of impressive targets and plenty of time to work toward them; now Liverpool fans will hope to get a first sight of the latest Dutch addition to the Reds ranks during pre-season.
Last Updated: 27/06/19 1:43pmLiverpool unveil new signing Sepp van den Berg at Melwood
Liverpool have signed 17-year-old Sepp van den Berg from Eredivisie club PEC Zwolle.
Van den Berg's transfer will be formally completed on July 1, with Liverpool understood to be paying an initial £1.3m.
The fee for the Netherlands U19 centre-back could eventually rise above £4m, depending on how many Premier League and European appearances he goes on to make for the Champions League holders.
Liverpool have beaten a host of big European clubs to the signing of Van den Berg - Bayern Munich, Sampdoria, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven were all interested in the young defender.Sepp van den Berg has represented the Netherlands at U19 level
Van den Berg has revealed Liverpool's interest came as a surprise to him, admitting to Liverpool's official website: "I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke.
"I was really happy and, to be honest, I was a little bit scared at first because such a big club had interest in me.
"So, I was a little bit scared but eventually I was really excited."
After making Van den Berg their first signing of the summer, Liverpool insist that while they will be looking to develop him, he is not considered an 'academy' signing.
Van den Berg made his Eredivisie debut at the age of 16 in March 2018 and went on to make 15 league appearances for PEC Zwolle.
The defender has established himself in the Dutch youth side, starting each of their last three European U19 Championship qualifiers.
Van den Berg has described himself as "calm with the ball" and admitted he hopes to learn from Virgil van Dijk, as well as boss Jurgen Klopp.Van den Berg says he is excited about the prospect of learning from Virgil van Dijk
"I am calm with the ball, I am quite quick and can run, but I came here especially to improve myself more," he said, when asked about his qualities. "I think this is the best place for me to grow and hopefully play a lot of games here.
"I was thinking about (the idea of) training with Virgil. For me he is the best defender in the world right now, so I can learn a lot from him.
"Of course, the trainer (Klopp) is a great guy and one of the reasons they are successful - and also one of the reasons I came here."Follow the Summer Transfer Window on Sky Sports
From July 1, Sky Sports News will be the home to three new shows dedicated to bringing you the very latest news from this summer's transfer market.
Start your day with Good Morning Transfers at 9am as our team of reporters and pundits bring you the latest news and insight. Transfer Talk then follows at midday delivering the biggest stories that matter to you. And join us at 7pm for the definitive round up of the day's news with The Transfer Show.
And as well as tuning into Sky Sports News, don't miss a thing with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.
There's also the Transfer Talk Podcast, the daily UK, Regional and European Paper Talk, plus features across skysports.com and the Sky Sports app.Sky Sports Racing Selector
Select 7 winners for your chance to win £1,000
Sepp van den Berg put pen to paper on his Liverpool contract after arriving on Merseyside to complete the formalities of his switch from PEC Zwolle.
The Reds have agreed a deal with the Eredivisie side for the transfer of the 17-year-old defender, who will officially become a Red in July, subject to international clearance.
Browse the gallery below as the Netherlands U19s international proudly posed with the shirt of his new club...
Photos by Nick Taylor
Images brought to you by Western Union, LFC's official money transfer partner
Sepp van den Berg has detailed why he believes Liverpool is the ideal club to help him realise his potential and grow into a first-team footballer.
The 17-year-old will become a Reds player in July after the club reached an agreement with PEC Zwolle for his signature, subject to international clearance.
Van den Berg will arrive on Merseyside having made 15 appearances in Holland’s Eredivisie last season, as well as winning four caps for the Netherlands’ U19s.
The centre-back understands he has much more to learn, but he is confident Liverpool are the club to best help him achieve those ambitions – particularly as he will get an opportunity to study Virgil van Dijk up close, a player he considers the ‘best defender in the world’.
After putting pen to paper on his new contract with the club, Van den Berg sat down with Liverpoolfc.com to discuss his switch and look ahead to a new, exciting chapter in his fledgling career.
Read on for a full transcript of his interview below now...
Sepp, firstly, welcome to Liverpool…
How does it feel to be joining Liverpool? Can you put it into words?
Can I put it into words? It’s just amazing. It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true. I am really excited.
How did you feel when you first heard of Liverpool’s interest in you?
I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was a joke. I was really happy and, to be honest, I was a little bit scared at first because such a big club had interest in me. So, I was a little bit scared but eventually I was really excited.
And you’re obviously very excited now as it’s your first day at the club today…
Yeah, I am really happy to be here and looking forward to next season.
Why is Liverpool the right club for you to join?
When I came here for the first time, it directly gave me a good feeling. The people who work here were really nice to me and everybody I met was really nice, so it gave me a good feeling – a family feeling, and that’s very important for me. I am a little bit of a family guy, so it was hard to leave home to come here, but I saw how the people looked after me. It gave me a really good feeling.
There’s a lot to consider, especially at 17 years old, when moving abroad, so it was that ‘family feeling’ that really won you over?
Yeah. My dad is going to come with me for the first few months, but eventually I am going to have to do it on my own, so if there is a club that [feels like] family and they look after me, that really gives me a good feeling. That was one of the biggest reasons I chose this club.
You are joining the European Champions. How does that make you feel?
It is just unbelievable. I know in the past seasons they were great, but last season they were just unbelievable - a great team. I still can’t believe I am sitting here and hopefully I can play next year with those guys.
Where did you watch the Champions League final?
I was at home with the whole family, watching the TV. When they won, I was really happy, even though I had not signed for the club yet. I was really happy to see they had won it.
For the Liverpool fans reading this, how would you describe yourself as a player?
I am a centre-half, I am calm with the ball, I am quite quick and can run, but I came here especially to improve myself more. I think this is the best place for me to grow and hopefully play a lot of games here.
There’s a manager here in Jürgen Klopp and a whole team of staff at the Academy with a proven track record of developing young players…
Yeah, I’ve seen what kind of players from the Academy have grown into the first team. It is unbelievable, especially when this kind of big club does that. Of course, the trainer [Klopp] is a great guy and one of the reasons they are successful – and also one of the reasons I came here.
There are two senior Dutch players here, of course – Virgil van Dijk and Gini Wijnaldum. Was that a factor in your decision to come here?
Not really, but I was thinking about [the idea of] training with Virgil. For me he is the best defender in the world right now, so I can learn a lot from him.
What kind of things do you think you can learn from Virgil?
We also have Ki-Jana Hoever here, too. Have you had an opportunity to speak to him? He made his debut last season at a young age, so was seeing that a factor in your decision?
No, I haven’t spoken to him yet. But of course, seeing him make his debut, I was happy for him and it lets me see I can have an opportunity here, so that’s really nice.
There’ve been a lot of videos of Liverpool fans that have gone viral, including from the homecoming parade recently. Have you seen any of them and what will it mean to you to play for a club with such support?
I watched the videos of the parade and it was crazy; I saw so many people going crazy about a football club that won the Champions League – which of course is one of the biggest achievements. It was really nice to see the people here are so close with the club. I saw a lot of videos on social media how crazy they went when Liverpool won [the final]. I am really excited to meet the fans.
To realise you’re going to be representing those supporters must mean so much?
Yeah, of course. Football without fans is nothing. I can say Liverpool has the best fans in the world, so I am really excited to hopefully [get a chance] to play with them behind me.
Have you set yourself any targets, either short or long-term?
Longer-term, I hope I can play as much as possible here for the club. Short-term, [my target is] to be with the first team, develop myself, grow into the team and see how it goes. Long-term, I really want to be a legend here.
It’s just the start now and you have all of your dreams still to try and achieve, but how are you feeling right now knowing it is done and you’ll become a Liverpool player in July?
Excited but a little nervous, too! I really look forward to the next season. I am nervous, but really excited.
Liverpool have agreed a deal with PEC Zwolle for the transfer of Sepp van den Berg, which will be completed in July subject to international clearance.
The 17-year-old defender has finalised terms on a long-term contract with the Reds after an agreement was reached with the Eredivisie club.
Van den Berg told Liverpoolfc.com: “It’s just an amazing feeling.
“It is, for me, the biggest club in the world and it’s a dream come true. I am really excited.
“I’ve seen what kind of players from the Academy grew into the first team here. It is unbelievable, especially when this kind of big club does that.
“Of course, the trainer [Jürgen Klopp] is a great guy and one of the reasons they are successful – and also one of the reasons I came here.
“I think this is the best place for me to grow and hopefully play a lot of games here.”
Van den Berg made 15 appearances in the Dutch top flight last season, helping Zwolle to a 13th place finish.
He is also an international for the Netherlands at U19 level, winning four caps to date.
Tickets are now on sale for Liverpool's pre-season friendly with Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday July 31.
The match at Stade de Geneve in the Swiss city will kick off at 7pm local time.
Fans can purchase tickets for the game now by clicking here.
Liverpool’s Egyptian king scored just before half time in Egypt’s second group stage fixture, helping his side to a 2-0 win over DR Congo.
The hosts won their opening game against Zimbabwe and the three points here against their next Group A opponents means Egypt will definitely be in the knock-out stage.
Salah operated from the right wing as his starting position, but spent plenty of time roving forward into the striker’s area, not unlike the positional flexibility he has at club level.
His effort was one Reds fans will have witnessed and admired many times over, too: confusing a back-pedaling defender, feinting to shoot toward the far post and burying it instead inside the near, putting his side two up.
— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) June 26, 2019
It was his 40th goal for Egypt in just his 63rd cap, highlighting his worth to the team.
That said, it wasn’t Salah’s most electric performance across the 90 minutes; early on his play was somewhat sloppy, gifting possession away as he tried to create chances for his team-mates.
One early chance on goal was blocked and diverted wide, while Salah later sent a free-kick on target, but it was saved.
With Egypt sitting back in the second half, Salah’s influence waned somewhat, though he remained an outlet on the counter. He played the full 90 minutes as his side saw out the somewhat fortuitous win, given Congo hit the woodwork twice and Egypt might have had a red card along the way.
Egypt’s final group game is against Uganda on Sunday, 30 June.
Earlier on Wednesday, Naby Keita had been in action for Guinea against Nigeria, again a second group stage fixture.
It was Keita’s first return to the starting XI since he suffered an injury on 1 May, in Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final first leg at Barcelona.
Keita played the final 20 minutes of Guinea’s first game, a draw with Madagascar, and here he played a full 70 minutes—though, naturally, he was not firing on all cylinders after his seven-week absence.
It was a tough outing for Keita, who played in an advanced midfield role, as he was targeted by several rough challenges by the Nigerians, leaving the No. 8 needing treatment more than once.
Keita made a couple of inventive through-passes and the odd dribble—trademark stepovers aplenty—but more often than not, that’s exactly what ended with him being crudely chopped down.
His ankles, shins and knees all took a few hits and it wasn’t a huge surprise when Keita was withdrawn for the last quarter.
Just a couple of minutes after his departure, Guinea conceded from a set-piece and that was the only goal of the game, Nigeria winning 1-0.
It means Guinea need a win in their final group game against Burundi to have a chance of reaching the knock-out phase, with that fixture taking place on Sunday, 30 June—otherwise Keita will be heading off for his summer holidays.
Mohamed Salah scored for Egypt in their 2-0 victory over DR Congo on Wednesday night to secure a place in the last 16 of the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Liverpool forward netted the second goal for the Pharaohs with a powerful finish in the 43rd minute.
Ahmed Elmohamady opened the scoring in Cairo as Javier Agurrie's side now sit top of Group A after two rounds of matches.
Meanwhile, Naby Keita started for Guinea in their meeting with Nigeria earlier on Wednesday, but was unable to prevent a 1-0 defeat.
The midfielder was withdrawn from the affair in Alexandria shortly before Kenneth Omeruou's decisive goal with 73 minutes on the clock.
Relive the best 10 moments of Liverpool's historic 2018-19 season with our free video compilation.
Jürgen Klopp's side capped off a memorable campaign with success over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League final on June 1.
From Divock Origi's heroics to boisterous scenes with supporters, look back on the high points in the YouTube video below...
Perhaps the biggest area of agreement among Liverpool fans this summer is that an additional forward should be added to the squad—but who is the best fit?
When all three are fit and firing they are a sight to behold and the Reds can be tough to stop—but at times, there is a noticeable drop-off in quality and reliability when one or two are absent.
Xherdan Shaqiri started last term well and Divock Origi found a few heroic moments in the second half of the season, but Jurgen Klopp‘s squad would really benefit from a fourth forward who was at the same level as the three regular starters.
In the interests of game time, rotation and keeping everybody available as often as possible, any new addition should be capable of filling in across multiple positions, just as the three starters do—along with Origi and Shaqiri, for that matter.
Here we’ve listed no fewer than 24 potential considerations, from the absolute world class to the youthful prospects—with the final eight being our selections who best blend ‘realistic addition’ and ‘genuine quality’.
Naturally, there’s more possibility of signing some than others, so let us know your preferences in the comments section below!The elite
Starting right at the top, only a handful of players attain this sort of level.
Should they ever happen to become available, it’s wise to do everything possible to snare them, because it’s rarely a possibility.
Age, cost and best position all become bigger factors than ever, though, as their immense capabilities can be significantly diminished if it’s a case of shoe-horning them in for the sake of it.
Kylian Mbappe – PSG – Age 20 – Striker, right wing
The French prodigy would be top of the list for every club on the planet, let’s be honest. Insanely talented, unbelievably fast, extremely mature and a clinical touch.
If he’s on the move, do everything possible. Let’s move on.
Paulo Dybala – Juventus – Age 25 – Centre-forward, right forward, No. 10
We’re linked with him every so often, but nothing ever materialises. He’s a mercurial talent, is possessed of one of the finest left foots in Europe, but has also not yet hit the peaks he’s capable of. His role is a tricky one to harness.
Gareth Bale – Real Madrid – Age 29 – Right wing, left wing, forward
Has played everywhere across the line for Madrid, including No. 10, but still seems best as an inside forward. This is likely his last ‘big’ move and it could be on loan, given he’s a) out of favour, b) about to turn 30 and c) on monstrous wages.
Would guarantee 20 goals, a month’s worth of injuries and everlasting media suspicions of disharmony.The gambles
Sometimes, you have to pull the trigger with one or two players who look as though they’re capable of everything—yet somehow never quite achieve it. Maybe it’s a matter of coaching, better team-mates, maturity or trust; sometimes the gambles pay off handsomely.
Demarai Gray – Leicester City – Age 22 – Right wing, left wing
He’s very skilful, lightning quick and is growing in strength now he’s into his early 20s. Gray can still go on to be one of the Premier League‘s more effective wide men, but he needs consistency in his end product.
Determination and discipline on his part in learning and impact could see him become far more Raheem Sterling-like than, say, Theo Walcott, in terms of English wide forwards.
M’baye Niang – Rennes – Age 24 – Right wing, left wing, striker
If he could finish, he’d be unstoppable. Immense strength and pace, great skill in one-vs-one situations…all the composure of Gonzalo Higuain in a cup final.
Still scored 11 last season in Ligue 11, and Rennes have just taken up an option to sign him permanently after a loan—but for a quick profit, they’d likely be tempted to sell. Catch him at the AFCON this summer, starring for Mane’s Senegal.
Martin Odegaard – Real Madrid – Age 20 – Right forward, attacking midfield, No. 10
Less of a striker than most others on the list, Odegaard would nonetheless free up the likes of Mo Salah to play central if he played in the attacking line.
Prodigiously talented and developing nicely after a few quiet years away from Madrid on loan; he’s likely headed to either Leverkusen or Real Sociedad next term for another year’s learning curve.
Sign him and loan him out wouldn’t be the worst idea ever.
Giovanni Simeone – Fiorentina – Age 23 – Centre-forward, left wing, right wing
The son of manager Diego, Gio has spent most of the past two seasons playing as a striker, but was a wide forward in his formative years.
Still has plenty to learn in terms of how best to use the ball in tight situations in the final third, and could do with a more consistent goalscoring rate, but there’s plenty of promise to work with.
Tremendously hard-working and extremely brave off the ball.
Nikola Vlasic – CSKA Moscow – Age 21 – Attacking midfield, right wing, left wing
One potential issue; he’s been on loan at CSKA Moscow and they’ve just signed him, so an immediate move is improbable. But keep an eye on him (or just remember the name) and he’s likely to crop up in rumours back to the Premier League in a year or so.
He’s extremely talented, loves a goal from distance…and was sold by Everton. They love missing out on a good young player, don’t they?We’ve been here before…
Sometimes, Liverpool are linked with players which make absolutely no sense at all (hi, Moussa Dembele rumour), but on occasions some names do fit the bill.
A few who we’ve seen mentioned in conjunction with the Reds have excited fans because…well…they pretty much encapsulate what we’re looking for.
Nabil Fekir – Lyon – Age 25 – Centre-forward, No. 10, attacking midfield
Would imagine we all know enough about him by now. Very talented, one year left on his contract and has a world-famous knee.
Nicolas Pepe – Lille – Age 24 – Right wing, striker, left wing
Fast, great at dribbles, scores plenty, “pure lies” that we’re interested in him.
Wilf Zaha – Crystal Palace – Age 26 – Left wing, striker
About time he played for a big team, wouldn’t you say? Has excelled through the middle of late after always being a goal threat from wide. Expensive.
Memphis Depay – Lyon – Age 25 – Left wing, striker, No. 10
Linked on and off for some time. Still not an elite goalscorer and a few questions over his temperament and focus.Mane-esque step-up?
Sadio is one of the world’s best, but he wasn’t when we brought him to Anfield. Here are a few who are in a similar place: have shown greatness, but not consistently, and a big move to a bigger team could see them reach the very top.
Hirving Lozano – PSV – Age 23 – Left wing, right wing, No. 10
The Mexican starlet who briefly lit up the World Cup; since then has been superb in the Eredivisie and suffered a knee injury which sees him miss the Gold Cup this summer.
Surprisingly didn’t get a move last year, but a 21-goal season will have teams circling.
Alassane Plea – Borussia Monchengladbach – Age 26 – Striker, left wing, right wing
Loves a shot from anywhere, great pace, plays in a front three at BMG. Scored 15 last season.
Downsides: ‘Gladbach already lost Thorgan Hazard this summer and won’t want to see another attacking departure.
Ante Rebic – Eintracht Frankfurt – Age 25 – Striker, No. 10, right wing
Powerful, selfless, clever with his movement. The bulldozer foil to Luka Jovic at times; the creative and surprisingly finessed runner at others.
Again, the downside of his team having sold one star striker already this summer.
Milot Rashica – Weder Bremen – Age 22 – Centre-forward, left wing, right wing
A Kosovan international, Rashica played in Holland before moving to Germany and made a good, albeit sporadic, impact at Bremen last term.
Finished the season in blistering form and will play a bigger role next year—unless some enterprising data centre in an air-conditioned office spot his numbers, of course…The great eight; the chosen few
Ok, here we go. These are the eight who best fit the bill: ludicrously talented, versatile, capable of being as good as the current crop of attackers and, yes, likely to each carry a transfer fee worth an absolute fortune.
Such is the price of signing the very best…
David Neres – Ajax – Age 22 – Left wing, right wing, No. 10
Superb dribbler, excellent close control, loves to attack the penalty box as a typical inside forward.
Not the finished article and could do with a little more consistency to reach the very highest level, but the Brazilian is 100 per cent capable of being as good as the likes of Eden Hazard or Mane.
Don’t forget the age difference here: he is at least five years younger than that type of ‘finished article’ elite forward.
Federico Chiesa – Fiorentina – Age 21 – Right wing, left wing, centre-forward
Such fun to watch. Loves to run at defenders, extremely strong for a wide player, works hard to find space and gets shots in from any angle at all.
Has been loosely linked with the Reds, albeit at enormous prices from dubious sources, but Juve are also unsurprising admirers.
Chiesa would be a little unorthodox in this side in terms of his current consistency in passing, one-touch link play and tracking back, but there’s a lot of raw material for Klopp, Pepijn Lijnders and Co. to work with.
Goncalo Guedes – Valencia – Age 22 – Left wing, striker
No apologies here for making the annual case for Liverpool signing Goncalo Guedes. He’s a perfect fit in a tactical, technical and mentality sense, a player who is driven to improve and has a clear ceiling way above his current station.
Explosive, with a rocket of a shot and great ability to turn and burst past players; can play in a three or as a second striker in a two-man attack, useful for one of Klopp’s favourite in-game tactical switches.
Didn’t have the most consistent of years at Valencia due to an injury or two, yet still scored eight from mainly out wide.
Angel Correa – Atletico Madrid – Age 24 – Right wing, striker, No. 10
The industrious, aggressive yin to Guedes’ silky, lightning yang.
Right-sided for the most part and rather more Dirk Kuyt-esque than anything from that side, Correa is non-stop running, always an outlet on the counter, a ferocious presser from the front and no shortage of technical skill, either.
Can play up front but needs better end product to be a regular striker. That he’s often Atletico’s super sub speaks of both his whole-hearted approach and his slightly lacking consistency.
Felipe Anderson – West Ham – Age 26 – Left wing, No. 10, right wing
Honestly, a better side than the Hammers should have moved for the Brazilian last summer.
Good on-the-ball technique, possessed of a hammer shot and yet technical enough to play as creator-in-chief at times, too. Work rate, versatility, speed, all the preferred Klopp assets.
Might be overly pricey due to the fabled Premier League transfer tax now, though.
Steven Bergwijn – PSV – Age 21 – Left wing, right wing, striker
The inverse of Chucky Lozano (see above). 14 goals and 12 assists as a wide forward are impressive numbers and he was matching or beating Lozano for dribbles, key passes and shots per game during the season when the Reds were linked.
Full scout report on Bergwijn is here.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – Arsenal – Age 21 – Right wing, left wing, right wing-back, central midfield
There’s always one on the list which sounds less-impressive, isn’t there? But guess what? Ainsley Maitland-Niles is excellent and being somewhat misused by Arsenal in rather the same way that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was.
He’s not a wing-back or defender despite his athleticism, selflessness and work rate. Free him into his more natural offensive midfield role and watch him thrive.
Good technique, good range of passing and an engine to run all day; his end position might be centre-mid, but for now he’d be a great alternative down either flank or as a supporting runner from deep.
Ousmane Dembele – Barcelona – Age 22 – Left wing, right wing, No. 10
Phew, back to a regular newspaper column inches player to finish up with.
Dembele has his share of issues at Barcelona, not least of which are injuries, but harness this man’s talents correctly and he’s up there with the best.
It’s just that it’ll cost an absolute fortune to do so.