Thursday, June 30, 2022

Liverpool Willing To Fight For This Portuguese International: How Will he Fit In?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

Liverpool are reportedly in a tight race with newly crowned Premier League side Chelsea to land Portugal’s latest sensation Ruben Neves. The 20-year-old has been one of the brilliant minds in the footballing word currently and numerous top sides are vying for his signature.

The Reds have apparently even contacted FC Porto to make an enquiry about their celebrated academy product, as Jurgen Klopp is desperately searching for an anchorman who could strengthen the spine at Anfield alongside skipper Jordan Henderson. Following the season-ending injury to the English midfielder, Liverpool’s domestic season saw a huge dip last term throwing them out of the title race ultimately.

Klopp had to endure vile criticisms from fans and critics alike for not having a prepared bench to take over the reins as and when needed. And by the time the likes of Emre Can and Georginio Wijnaldum settled into that central role, the Reds were already out of EFL Cup and FA Cup too. Klopp wouldn’t want to encounter any such scenarios this time, especially when they play in the Champions League.

And the Porto starlet could be the ideal option for the boss, who would be the perfect understudy for Henderson and step up as and when needed. At just 20, the Santa Maria da Feira born player has many achievements to his name.

He became the youngest player to captain a Champions League side when Porto beat Maccabi Tel Aviv 2-0 in the group stages. He was 19 then and has surpassed the record of Netherland’s Rafael Van der Vaart. He also holds the notable record of becoming the youngest player to play 50 games for the club, where he surpassed the likes of Fernando Gomes and Jaime Magalhães.

Although he is yet to fully break into their first team, he has already made 18 appearances last season, even notching a goal in the process. At just 20, Neves has made a debut for the Portugal national side back in 2015 as an 18-year-old.

A central midfielder by nature, Neves is more defence minded, which allows him to play as an extra centre-half when opponents are on the counter. His pace on the ball also makes him a right winger in a makeshift formation. At 180cm, though he isn’t the tallest of players to don the Liverpool shirt, his technical prowess should be enough to compensate for that.

His playing style has been familiarised to that of João Moutinho, who excels in putting pressure on opponents and find the key passes from deep midfield.

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