- Liverpool still have a vested interest in bringing another midfielder to Anfield before the deadline.
- One target is reminiscent of Moises Caicedo, who nearly joined the Reds this summer.
- He could be available for a bargain price in the current market.
Liverpool surely need to sign another midfielder before the transfer window slams shut this week, but whether Jurgen Klopp’s side do as such is another question.
Will Liverpool sign anyone before transfer deadline day?
According to The Athletic’s Carl Anka, Liverpool have held an interest in Bayer Leverkusen holding midfielder Exequiel Palacios this summer following Fabinho’s £40m sale to Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad.
Despite this, Klopp has received a blow after the Bundesliga club’s managing director for sport, Simon Rolfes, has stated that Palacios is going nowhere this year.
The report alludes to embryonic Manchester United interest, and while the 24-year-old is deemed untouchable by Leverkusen, the late stage of the window means Liverpool need to test some outfits’ resolve to complete their rebuild.
How good is Exequiel Palacios?
Palacios might be a name few have heard on Merseyside, but Xabi Alonso and the Leverkusen support are waxing lyrical over the Argentine’s midfield skills over in Germany, with his manager lauding his “excellent” progress over the past year.
Having basked in footballing glory at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar with Argentina, the 25-cap international would link up with compatriot Alexis Mac Allister at Anfield in a move that would likely enhance the cohesion at the club.
Liverpool were left hot under the collar after missing out on both Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia to Chelsea earlier in August, despite agreeing lucrative deals for both, and were forced to swoop for 30-year-old Stuttgart midfielder Wataru Endo for £16m to combat the absence of a No 6.
Caicedo, in particular, would have been a superlative addition to a prestigious club targetting a resurgence after falling by the wayside last term, having dazzled for Brighton & Hove Albion last season, earning an average league rating 7.08 – as per Sofascore – after completing 89% of his passes and averaging 2.7 tackles per match, also earning praise as a “machine man” by renowned scout Jacek Kulig.
The Ecuadorian ranks among the top 4% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion, the top 11% for passes attempted, the top 12% for tackles and the top 17% for interceptions per 90, as per FBref, emphasising his stunning skill set that left the Reds and Chelsea oh-so desperate for his services.
Caicedo happens to be listed as a comparable player via FBref to Palacios, who ranks among the top 7% of positional peers for passes attempted, the top 4% for tackles and the top 3% for interceptions per 90.
As a result, Liverpool could land a tailor-made alternative, if they are able to complete an unlikely swoop.
The £15m-rated hotshot recorded an average league score of 7.03 last season, completing 83% of his passes and averaging 2.3 tackles per outing, highlighting a similar level of robustness to the new Chelsea phenom.
Klopp must now push to sign the Leverkusen ace before the market closes later this week, eradicating the doubt that has seeped into the club’s early-season efforts after a tumultuous transfer window.