Yasser Larouci played as a centre-forward for the Under 23’s at the weekend, showing the kind of versatility Jurgen Klopp loves.
Larouci, usually a left-back, moved to centre-forward for Neil Critchley’s side to face Everton. With Rhian Brewster off with the first-team and Paul Glatzel’s injury, the team needed a forward.
Up stepped Larouci – showing that he’s far from just a left-back.
“I thought he played it very well,” Critchley told the Echo after the game. “We played him up there to do a specific job for the team.
“It’s not his normal position but I thought he did very well against two centre-halves. He battled and competed and gave them some problems before drifting out to the wings in the second half and giving the full-backs a few problems as well.”
But then, Larouci has changed positions before. He arrived at Liverpool as a right-winger but the coaching staff moved him to a defensive position. There, Larouci excelled enough to play a strong part if Liverpool’s pre-season this summer.
So that’s potentially three positions that he can play. If Larouci maintains decent levels there, it’s exactly the kind of thing that put him in the thoughts of Jurgen Klopp.
The Liverpool boss loves versatility. It could just be flexibility in midfield, as with Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum. Or Mohamed Salah’s ability to play on the wing or up top. Roberto Firmino is versatile in one position, able to switch between dropping deep and pushing on so easily.
James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can both play several positions, too, both in attack and defence. And that’s what Larouci should be looking at.
We’ve seen – or not seen – Rhian Brewster this season and his struggles to get into the side. He’s somewhat limited by ‘only’ being a striker – he’d find more game time if he was more versatile.
And so with Larouci on the fringes of the first-team, his ability to play several roles could be what allows him to find more opportunities. Klopp will certainly keep a player like that around the first-team – if his current squad is anything to go by.