Centre-back-less and behind in the title race, Liverpool had to make the final week of the transfer window an important one; and, that, they did. With wins over Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham United reigniting the belief around Liverpool’s title chances, only one more solution was left to be solved.
The players stepped up on the pitch, even without a recognised central defender, to echo Jurgen Klopp’s heavy metal football all around London and send a statement that this is their title until confirmed otherwise.
So, with the players back to winning ways, it was time for Liverpool to step up off the pitch. So, re-emerged Michael Edwards: The man behind Liverpool’s transfer genius.
The expert negotiator entered deadline day without a single centre-back signed. By the time the clock struck 11 pm, two had put pen to paper at Anfield with one of those being 20-year-old Ozan Kabak.
Ozan Kabak: Latest Example of Liverpool Genius
Kabak Ticks All the Boxes
Jurgen Klopp stressed throughout the transfer window that Liverpool will not spend with panic. Instead, they would wait, as they often do, for the ideal option. As the wait went on, frustrations began to build and worry began to set in that a central defender may not be on their way.
Like buses, however, two arrived at the last minute, much to the relief of many. Ben Davies will be seen as more of a backup option, but, a solid solution nonetheless.
Kabak, on the other hand, arrives as a player ready to solve Liverpool’s defensive crisis. Recommended by David Wagner, the 20-year-old arrives on loan with an option to buy of £18 million.
He ticks the box for age, potential, and current ability, having had plenty of experience in the Schalke first-team. In comparison to Rhys Williams and Nat Phillips, Kabak arrives with the knowledge of consistently performing on the biggest stages.
At 6’1, Kabak’s aerial ability would have convinced Jurgen Klopp to complete the deal. Without Fabinho and Joel Matip, Liverpool’s lack of aerial presence was apparent- leaving them susceptible to set pieces.
The arrival of Kabak solves that Liverpool problem. The Turkish international has won 4.1 aerial duals per 90 at Schalke this season alongside a success rate of 77%- the third highest in the Bundesliga this season.
This instantly solves a glaring Liverpool issue. The Reds have conceded four-headed goals this season, already more than last season. Without Virgil van Dijk, Liverpool have won just 13.6 aerial duals per 90- the second-lowest in the Premier League.
Having secured Kabak, Liverpool will hope that number improves, and they once again become dominant in the air- taking control of games as a result.
Last Season’s Numbers Prove Worth
When taking a look at Kabak’s duals won last season, only Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip had better numbers. The Turkish international had a better dual success rate than Fabinho, Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez.
With all the statistics pointing in the right direction, for the potential price of £18 million, Kabak seems yet another steal by Michael Edwards. On loan, for now, the former Schalke defender will look towards the highest of heights at Anfield.
Liverpool may have left it late, but better late than never with the ideal solution to their mounting problems now secured.
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