Thursday, December 1, 2022

Liverpool Identify This La Liga Defender As Lovren Replacement: What Will He Bring To Merseyside?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

According to a recent report by La Razon, Liverpool have identified Real Sociedad centre-back, Diego Llorente, as Dejan Lovren’s replacement this summer. However, the same source has also mentioned that the Reds could face stiff competition from AS Monaco in pursuit of the Spanish defender who has an exit clause in the region of €40m.

Llorente’s Solid Run Of Form This Season Despite Injury Concerns

The Madrid-born talent has experienced another solid campaign at the Anoeta Stadium after producing several impressive displays at the heart of Imanol Alguacil’s defence. He has made 20 appearances for the Spanish outfit this term and has got two assists to his name in all competitions. However, he has missed a series of matches this season due to a muscle injury which explains why he has only received a total of 1699 minutes of game time thus far.

To his credit, Llorente has averaged 1.0 tackles, 1.1 interceptions and 3.9 clearances per game in the La Liga this season (stats via whoscored). His stats prove just how effective he can be on the defensive end of the field.

The 26-year-old has also earned five senior caps for the Spanish national team but is still waiting to open his goal-scoring account for his country. A high-profile summer move to Anfield could give him the platform to showcase his talents at the highest level and stake a claim in Luis Enrique’s squad for next year’s UEFA European Championship finals following the competition’s postponement due to the recent COVID-19 pandemic.

Liverpool identify Diego Llorente, who is celebrating in the photo, as Dejan Lovren replacement
Real Sociedad’s defender from Spain Diego Llorente celebrates a goal during the Europa League football match Real Sociedad vs Rosenborg BK at the Anoeta stadium in San Sebastian on September 14, 2017. (ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images)

What Will The Five-Time Spanish International Bring To Anfield?

Llorente is a moderately-paced defender who can use his leaping ability to win most of his 50-50 aerial duels with the opposition. He has also transformed himself into a reliable centre-half and has already shown that he can make some well-timed challenges to secure possession back for his side. The Spaniard can even position himself ideally to pull off a few vital last-ditch clearances at the back. He is a very accurate ball-distributor after completing 87.2% of his attempted passes in the La Liga this season (stats via whoscored).

Recruiting a player of Llorente’s defensive capability could prove to be a shrewd coup for the Merseyside outfit and their long-term ambitions as a football club. At 26, he is entering the prime years of his football career which Jurgen Klopp’s team can look to benefit from in the coming seasons. The former Real Madrid youngster will not only add more quality to the Liverpool defence but also provide some healthy competition for Joe Gomez and Joel Matip to secure a regular starting berth alongside Virgil Van Dijk at Anfield.

When Llorente is fit and performing at a high level, he can be a commanding presence inside his own half. Plus, Klopp will be the perfect man to get the best out of the Spanish defender due to his excellent man-management skills.

However, the Real Sociedad star’s recent injury record will be a significant cause for concern. Plus, the jury is still out on whether he will be able to handle the physicality and high intensity of Premier League football. Either way, the pros outweigh the cons of signing him, so the Reds should consider orchestrating a move to bring Llorente to the north-west of England before the start of the new campaign.

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