Lyon’s Houssem Aouar can be Jurgen Klopp’s plan ‘B’
Liverpool’s style has constantly evolved under Jurgen Klopp, none more so than it did following the sale of Philippe Coutinho.
The Brazilian was easily the best Reds player on the pitch and the team often looked to him for inspiration, maybe a little too much. The midfielder was called upon a number of times to step up and be counted on and he obliged more often than not.
It did also lead to a worrying trend where the opposition knew they could snuff us out if they shielded the Brazilian’s light. All in all, our change of style to ensure that the contribution is distributed among a number of players has helped take the focus off an individual. We are harder to shut out now and have various avenues of attack.
However as said in the famous show Fullmetal Alchemist, “To gain something, something of equal value must be lost.” In finding one way to win, we have had to give up another. The one that relies on a player conjuring that bit of magic when needed. The ability to pull one out of the hat is a spectacular piece of skill.
Liverpool lack a player who can unlock a defence the way Coutinho did. In short, we lack an X-factor from the midfield. As a fan who started watching the Reds in the year 2000, I can attest to the importance of a single player capable of doing so.
Steven Gerrard was the man for the majority of the time as he carried us over the line, time and time again. The mantle then passed on to Coutinho before we chose to implement a more team-based philosophy.
A change in philosophy, yet no plan-B
The current system has its benefits as the last two seasons have shown. But the lack of a plan B at times has come to hurt us. A prime example of it was the 3-0 loss to Watford.
Not only did we not look like getting back in the game, our play ironically looked predictable. Not one player on the pitch looked to do anything apart from what was expected. At times, even when a team has an off-day, this one player could get us ashore.
This leaves a hole to be filled in the summer transfer window. Although Coutinho could be available, Liverpool will be better served looking elsewhere.
The Reds today are one of Europe’s premier destinations and can vie for the best talents out there. Liverpool have been linked with top talents like Timo Werner, Jadon Sancho and Kai Havertz. However, Klopp should prioritize the signing of Lyon’s Houssem Aouar. (h/t Daily Mail)
The French wonderkid
The 21-year-old is a technically gifted footballer who has an eye for a pass. Both a creator and a finisher, Aouar has scored nine goals and seven assists in 37 appearances this season. His ability on set-pieces is an added benefit.
A versatile player who can slot in the middle and on the left, the youngster’s vision and creativity will add a new dimension to Liverpool’s attack. Having come through Lyon’s youth ranks, he has already won 133 caps and has experience of playing against the best in the Champions League.
He has one goal and three assists in this year’s competition and came up with the assist for Lucas Tousart’s famous winner against Italian Champions Juventus in the first leg of the last 16.
Aouar could be the specialist player that the Reds can bring into the starting XI, someone who can make use of his individual brilliance to unleash our much-vaunted front three.
It can be argued that Havertz does have more goals and assists than Aouar, but the Frenchman has shown the ability to shine better in bigger games than the German. He has also managed to upstage his Leverkusen rival in terms of his vision and the ability to do the unexpected.
Liverpool’s lack of a magician in midfield is likely something that Klopp would be aware of. The 21-year-old Aouar’s talents are reminiscent of Coutinho when the Brazilian first arrived at Anfield. Klopp has shown that he knew how to get the best out of the Brazilian and there is no reason to suspect he cannot do the same with Aouar.
The Frenchman has also been drawing the attention of our rivals. The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, and Arsenal are all tracking Aouar. He is currently valued at £65million. (h/t Daily Mail)
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It remains to be seen who the Reds go for in the summer. Liverpool are in a strong position and should leverage the draw to add further dimensions to an already impressive team. Sometimes, plan B can be a player. In Aouar, Liverpool could get exactly that.