Jack Hallows takes a look at Jürgen Klopp’s former club – Borussia Dortmund – and identifies five players who would bolster the Reds current squad.
When Jürgen Klopp arrived at Liverpool Football Club he respectfully spoke of not wanting to simply poach players from his former club Dortmund. Despite the German side boasting a number of impressive talents that would easily strengthen Liverpool’s current squad, Klopp hoped to distance himself from all Dortmund ties in a bid to quickly settle into his role on Merseyside.
However, with Klopp now having filled the role of Liverpool manager for almost two years and Thomas Tuchel’s recent sacking creating potential unrest at the German’s former club, could he look to target one or two of Dortmund’s current crop?
1) Ousmane Dembélé – Winger
Arguably the standout name on this list despite being just 20 years of age.
The Reds may be close to wrapping up a deal for Roma’s Mohamed Salah but various reports have recently claimed that Klopp is still in the market for another right-sided attacker – suggesting Salah will play on the left – as cover for Sadio Mané. Why stop at that? Why not sign a player who is so two footed it really doesn’t matter where he starts on the field?
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The Frenchman’s ability with both feet is nothing short of incredible and of Liverpool’s current squad, only Adam Lallana even comes close. Dembélé has managed an impressive 34 goal contributions – 21 goals and 13 assists – in league football since the start of the 2015/16 season with 16 of those coming from his left foot and 18 from his right.
The winger also possesses all the physical attributes that Klopp values in a footballer. His raw pace, skilful dribbling, surprising strength and height all making him a seriously tough force to deal with for opponents.
At just 20 years old, Dembélé also has plenty of room to develop and improve. How high his ceiling potential-wise could reach is frankly utterly terrifying and to have a player like that at Liverpool would be huge for the club both now and in five years time.
Unfortunately, however, Barcelona have just been quoted 80 million euros if they wish to enter negotiations with the player so it doesn’t look likely that he’ll be doing the Melwood lean anytime soon!
2) Raphaël Guerreiro – Left back
You want an attacking left-back option, Kloppo? How about one of Portugal’s brightest prospects who even impressed Cristiano Ronaldo last season?
The 23-year old Portuguese made 24 Bundesliga appearances for Dortmund last season – 35 in all competitions – and became a hugely important resource for Tuchel during the second half of the season. Guerreiro operates as primarily a left back but his ability and composure on the ball means he can also play effectively at left midfield and as an auxiliary central midfielder.
Scoring 6 Bundesliga goals and setting up 3 assists last season with a further 24 chances created, Guerreiro would provide an extra creative spark down the Reds left flank and would give Klopp a far better-rounded option than James Milner or the erratic Alberto Moreno.
The Portuguese is naturally left footed – always a plus for a left back – won 52% of his attempted take ons in the Bundesliga last season and provided an average of 3 defensive actions per game, managing an impressive 37 interceptions across the campaign.
He’s definitely not the finished article but at 23 years old, there’s plenty of time for Klopp to develop him into a top class left back.
3) Sokratis Papastathopoulos – Centre back
If you thought Wijnaldum was hard to say last summer, imagine signing Sokratis this summer!
The Reds are most definitely in the market for another centre-half this window and with any slim hopes of Virgil Van Dijk donning Liverpool red seemingly slipping further away by the minute, Sokratis could be a worthwhile alternative.
At 29 years of age, there is the debate that the Greek defender may be too old to be a Klopp signing and I can get behind that argument but at the same time, it shouldn’t really matter when he’s as good as he is.
Sokratis had a solid season in 2016/17, winning 53% of his attempted tackles, 67% of his headed duels and completing an impressive 11/17 attempted take ons. The Greek international also boated an 88% pass accuracy, playing 82% of those passes forward in an attempt to kick-start attacks in a back to front manner.
His ability to get himself in the right place at the right time was also further epitomised by the fact he made 12 blocks, 40 interceptions and 106 clearances in the Bundesliga last campaign.
He would, however, not exactly pose a risk-free signing. I’ve already mentioned his age but there are also concerns over his ability to avoid injuries, with the defender yet to manage a season of over 30 Bundesliga appearances since joining Dortmund in 2013.
We’ve already seen how difficult the adjustment for Bundesliga centre-halves is to the physicality and extra football of the Premier League through Joël Matip’s injury record and I can imagine that another injury prone defender is the last thing Klopp would be hoping for.
4) Emre Mor – One for the future
One for the future.
The Turkish attacking midfielder only signed for Dortmund last summer but has found it tough to break into the club’s starting XI. At just 19 years old, Mor is one of the most promising young talents in European football and would likely see a bit more game time at Liverpool given their involvement in four competitions this season.
Even just signing the attacker to loan him out and give him first team experience should be food for thought for Klopp, simply because of the promise he has shown over the last 18 months or so. It would be a risky move but one that could potentially pay off massively in two or three years time.
5) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Do I really need to explain?
I’ve left Aubameyang until last because really, he’s a given on any potential Dortmund signings list. The Gabonese international has been tentatively linked with the Reds in recent days and to see him in Liverpool colours next season would be nothing short of beautiful.
Having already played under Jürgen Klopp in 2013/14 and 2014/15, the player and manager already have a relationship and an understanding while the fact that it was Klopp who initially brought the striker to Dortmund shows that he has all the qualities that the German desires in a forward.
What would worry me slightly, however, is that while Aubameyang prefers to play centrally – and is bloody good at it too, as his 79 goals in 95 games over the last two seasons suggests – Klopp often played him out wide on the right-hand side which arguably, limited his impact.
Of course, with Sadio Mané being so good there last season and the arrival of Mohamed Salah expected in the coming days that may not be such an issue but you just never know with Klopp.
Price could be a contributing factor to Liverpool not actually being able to sign Aubameyang, with the Mirror claiming he could cost around the £60m mark. It would also be hard to see the goal machine picking Merseyside over the likes of Real Madrid but with Paris Saint-Germain having decided against signing him this week, he could find himself short of suitors. Time to swoop FSG?
Let us know who you’d want to see Liverpool potentially sign from Dortmund in the comments section below!