Friday, August 19, 2022

Klopp Told The Price For The New Suarez – What Can Liverpool Fans Expect From Him?

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

It’s not quite Christmas eve, even though Juergen Klopp is seen no less than Santa Claus on the red-adorned half of Merseyside. Pressing injury problems have cast a bit of gloom in an otherwise successful pre-season routine. The search for a defensive midfielder and a left-back ought to be priority number 1 on the wish-list, but if certain reports are to be humoured, Liverpool have carried on the theme of ignoring the obvious, and turning their keen eye on this sprightly little Dutch diviner from Ajax named, Anwar El Ghazi, a wing-forward.

The 21-year-old Anwar El Ghazi is a trickster, quick, nimble and is of Moroccan lineage. I know what you’re thinking – Ousamma ‘not-so-assiduous’ Assaidi, right? To be fair, Brendan Rodgers’ bewildering player politics assured that the profusely talented winger never really got a crack, despite putting in half-decent performances whenever called upon. Anwar El Ghazi is from the same cut of gilded Mediterranean cloth, with more markedly lavish stitch-work.

Lazio and Wolfsburg have their eyes peeled as Liverpool mull the feasibility of lodging bid near-about the asking price of £15m that Ajax’s hierarchy have demanded. While countless others lie in eager anticipation of Liverpool letting their guard down.

The 4th Official’s resident hipster, Srijandeep, discerns through a SWOT analysis if a move for Anwar El Ghazi makes sense for Herr Klopp.

Strengths

At a glance, the two-footed Anwar seems like the complete flanker. Equally proficient with his Nikes grazing chalk on the touchline, or making rapier-like runs inward, he is precociously unpredictable with the ball at either foot – leaving opponents guessing whether he’ll put his laces through it, dink a pass, or serve a lay-off. His effervescent technical ability is apparelled by his versatility in seamlessly playing across the front three. His sublime dribbling ability makes defenders trip over each other, literally.

At the age of 21, many young wingers have a tendency to be ponderous without the ball, lying in wait for the ball to be played at their feet. Anwar breaks that mould with his incessant buzzing around. Buzz, buzz, buzz – making a darting run through the channels diagonally, or holding his run out wide on the wings, always looking to take the initiative to make things happen around him. This is the sort of proactive trait Klopp would indisputably appreciate.

Unlike Assaidi, 6’2” Anwar has shown suitable core strength to defend the ball with his back to goal, when De Boer often played him as a central reference point (centre-forward) of attack the past season. 11 goals and three assists in the 2015-16 edition of the Eredivisie underpin his whetting instincts in the box.

Weaknesses

‘Clumsy’ is the keyword. While his heart is in the right place, Anwar can be a regular source of frustration with his wayward tackles. Does well to track back, and cover his lines out on the flank, but undoes all that good work by needless, mistimed, amateurish challenges. He’s as likely to win a foul as he’s to concede one. His understanding of constricting space without the ball is nowhere near as well his nous while of making use of it, with the ball at his feet.

He’s been also accused of playing with his head down a bit too often, with his single-minded determination of gaining vertical yardage with the ball at his feet – getting closer to the goal for a shot, sometimes, seems to be his primary objective. A sum total of just the 3 assists last season does not do the ceiling of his technical ability or vision justice.

While he does to have enough ability to back himself, he does have the tendency of carrying it too high up the pitch and running into cul de sacs and then trying to wriggle out of the situation – which to his credit, he often does, but to no great benefit as the momentum of the forward play is lost as the opponents have regained their defensive shape in the meantime.

Opportunity

The last Ajax import has some considerable success, didn’t he? While Anwar may not have Luis Suarez’ obscene tenacity, he seems to have the cheeky nutmeg in him and the Uruguayan’s much-vaunted technical-versatility.

With the news of Lazio among many others looking to rekindle Lazar Markovic’s dwindling potential, Anwar El Ghazi may have a vacancy opening up at Anfield. In Klopp he’d have one of the best facilitators of young talent in Europe; a fine tutor to address his shortcomings and develop him as a player.

Threats

The downside of this transfer could be the fact that Liverpool already have too many players who play his role. At his age, he’d need regular football to assert his footballing credentials and hone in on his strengths. With Wijnaldum, Saido Mane, Bob Firmino, Sheyi Ojo, Adam Lallana, Phil Coutinho already flanking the flanks, without European fixtures, it may be a player too many for Anwar to overcome for a steady starting berth. But if his brimming ability is anything to go by, he might just approach the challenge head-first, with dogged determination, akin to the snarly South American.

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