Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Bundesliga Starlet Addresses His Future Amid Interest From Liverpool: What Should Klopp Do?

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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.

In a recent interview with Schalke TV (via sport.de), Schalke 04 youngster Malick Thiaw addressed his future amid recent interest from Liverpool and said, “Of course you’re happy when big clubs are after you, but it was actually clear to me that I would stay at Schalke.”

Thiaw’s Rapid Rise At The Veltins-Arena

The Finnish centre-back has come through the youth ranks of Schalke and finally managed to break out as a first-team starter last season. The 19-year-old has made seven senior appearances for the German club thus far, scoring one goal in the process across all competitions.

The Dusseldorf-born talent has already featured in a couple of matches in the Bundesliga this season. The Schalke starlet has done well to average 3.0 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 3.5 clearances and 1.5 shots in both those league games. He has even been careful when distributing the ball out from the back after completing 84.1% of his attempted passes in the German top-flight (stats via whoscored).

Thiaw has shown some promising signs with his performances in Germany. However, he is still quite inexperienced, so he would need more time to establish himself as a regular starter at the highest level. Hence, the Finnish prospect won’t serve as an immediate fix to Liverpool’s recent defensive concerns following the long-term injuries to Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez at Anfield.

Thiaw addresses his future amid recent interest from Liverpool (Thiaw is seen in the picture)
Malick Thiaw of Schalke runs with the ball during the pre-season friendly match between FC Schalke 04 and VfL Osnabrueck at Quitt-Stadion on August 09, 2020, in Ankum, Germany. (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)

What Will The Bundesliga Whizkid Bring To The Table?

Standing at 1.91m, Thiaw can be a towering presence inside his half and can win his fair share of aerial duels using his strong frame to outmuscle the opposition at the back. He has good defensive awareness that allows him to make some crucial interceptions for his side.

The Finnish defensive ace is also not shy of clearing his lines when in danger of being exposed on the defensive end of the field. However, at 19, he is still quite a raw talent, so Jurgen Klopp will have to be patient with him if he decides to bring him to Merseyside in January or next summer.

Should The Reds Move In For Thiaw In January?

Liverpool have currently got one fit senior centre-half in Joel Matip. However, Fabinho is inching closer to a return which could help the Reds cope with the long-term absence of Van Dijk and Gomez. Nathaniel Phillips and Rhys Williams are Klopp’s other options, but they are still not ready to feature at the top level week in week out.

Schalke’s Thiaw is also on the same boat as he has only got seven matches worth of experience under his belt. Maybe in a year’s time or two, he could be ready, but for now, it makes more sense for the Merseyside giants to opt for an experienced and proven defender when the transfer window reopens at the start of next year.

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