What’s better than having one top defensive midfielder in your team? Well, having two of course and that’s what Denis Zakaria can bring to Liverpool.
The Anfield club have been linked with a move for the Switzerland international midfielder, with his current contract at Borussia Monchengladbach set to expire at the end of the season.
While journalist James Pearce says it’s unlikely that anyone joins the club in January, Liverpool could risk losing out on the 25-year-old to clubs such as Bayern Munich or Barcelona if they don’t move before the summer when he is a free agent.
Currently Jurgen Klopp’s preferred midfield trio boasts Fabinho in a holding role with captain Jordan Henderson and Thiago playing slightly ahead, providing energy and passing abilities for the forwards to feed off. They have started each of the last three Premier League games together but with Henderson being 31, this may be the perfect opportunity to bring in a replacement and start to phase him out of the side.
Zakaria has previously spoken about his style of play, saying he appreciates comparisons to the likes of Patrick Vieira and Paul Pogba but others describe him differently. Lothar Matthaus says he reminds him of Toni Kroos, Yann Sommer says he possesses some traits that Zinedine Zidane and Michel Platini had and Marco Rose described him as “complete.”
But much like Gunter Netzer, the descriptions by some as just a “defensive midfielder” are an insult to someone with the skillset of Zakaria.
The midfielder has featured in 12 Bundesliga games so far this season and scored twice, with an assist to boot. Much like Pogba, he excels in a hosts of different areas. He averages 1.3 shots per game, 0.7 key passes, 1.6 dribbles and has a pass completion rate of 89.2% from an average of 50 passes per game.
In comparison to Henderson, who has taken part in 14 Premier League games so far this term, he looks like a very good alternative. The England international averages 0.9 shots, 1.4 key passes and 0.4 dribbles a match. He also boasts a pass completion rate of 86.7% from an average of 65 passes per game.
Defensively, the £24.3m-rated Zakaria is an improvement too, with 1.8 tackles an outing compared to Henderson’s 1.1 and 1.2 interceptions compared to the Liverpool skipper’s 0.5.
With his good energy too, he would form a perfect pairing alongside Fabinho to make Liverpool even harder to beat than they already are while adding some fresh legs to the club’s weakest position on the pitch. In turn, they may well find their very own Pogba too.
AND in other news, Divock Origi’s masterclass in Milan.