Liverpool are facing a race against time to bring in a new central midfielder before Thursday’s transfer deadline but they could secure a phenomenal deal by signing Konrad Laimer.
It is no secret that Jurgen Klopp wants to bring in Jude Bellingham from Borussia Dortmund, with a deal for the teenager reportedly on the cards for next summer, but the German manager could find a similar player a year early in Laimer.
According to recent reports, the Austria international is one man on Liverpool’s shortlist as they look to bolster their midfield options following injuries to Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita.
Last season saw the 26-year-old contribute four goals and four assists in 26 Bundesliga appearances for Leipzig, averaging a solid 6.67 rating from WhoScored for his performances.
According to FbRef, the second-most similar player to Laimer in terms of style of play is Bellingham. The former Birmingham City youngster has established himself as one of the top talents in world football during his time at Dortmund, contributing 11 goals and 19 assists in 95 appearances for the Bundesliga side.
Last season saw the two midfielders register extremely similar numbers in terms of expected goals and assists per 90 minutes (0.30 vs 0.29), percentage of dribbles tackled (35.4 vs 35.8) and fouls committed (45 vs 44).
This emphasises that both midfielders can do the dirty work in midfield, while they also like to get forward in attack, which is arguably what Liverpool are lacking in the absence of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Keita.
While Bellingham is clearly the better long-term prospect for Liverpool’s midfield, Klopp emphasised following the defeat against Manchester United that he needed more bodies in the middle of the park, and at £25m, Laimer could be a bargain option for the Reds.
Laimer has gathered a lot of praise during his time in Germany, with Bayern Munich manager Julian Nagelsmann dubbing him a “Monsterballeroberungsmaschine“, which translated to English means “a monster, ball-winning machine.”
This is reinforced by WhoScored, who claim that tackling is Laimer’s greatest strength, while he also excels at through balls, long shots and dribbling, which again goes to show that he can offer Liverpool plenty from both an attacking and defensive perspective.
Bellingham is also said to excel at through balls and dribbling, which highlights their similarities further. Thus, if FSG and Klopp want a stop-gap midfielder until the 19-year-old potentially arrives at Anfield, then Laimer could be the ideal man.