Liverpool reportedly want Yves Bissouma and he could be exactly what Jurgen Klopp needs. The boss is surely after a fix for his adventurous plan.
As we detailed earlier today, there are now several solid sources reporting that Liverpool want Yves Bissouma. The latest is from the Telegraph but you need only go back a week to find the Athletic claiming the same.
The latter also mentions a price of sorts. They say it would cost a team over £40m to pry Bissouma away from Brighton.
But on top of it all, there’s Liverpool’s need to replace Gini Wijnaldum. The Dutchman’s contract expires this summer and it doesn’t look as though he’ll sign a new one.
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That leaves a gap in the squad that the Reds must fill. Bissouma could do that.
More than just replace Wijnaldum, though, we think Bissouma could be an upgrade when it comes to one Jurgen Klopp plan.
Klopp and Wijnaldum
Wijnaldum is a fantastically versatile player. He’s comfortable playing on the counter and in possession, just as he’s comfortable on the edge of either box.
It’s made him a wonderful part of Klopp’s 4-3-3. The boss typically has Wijnaldum in a three alongside a defensive holding player and a more aggressive midfielder. The Dutchman offers a middle-ground between the two that brings everything together.
But while Wijnaldum is a great fit in that formation, we’re not sure he’s perfect in Klopp’s newest plan. We’ve seen the German play 4-2-3-1 on occasion this season, changing the midfield.
It means there’s a two-man shield in front of the defence and little else. It’s a more physical role than in the three-man midfield, while it also calls for an all-around game.
And that’s especially the case in Klopp’s 4-2-3-1 as it’s really a 4-2-4. Roberto Firmino doesn’t really change his role at all from being a False 9, leaving Liverpool with a front-four.
That adds pressure in midfield as it’s typically two players up against counter-attacks and in battles against superior numbers. Not to mention that they need to cover full-backs, too.
There’s far more emphasis on physicality and defence. We’re not sure that’s Wijnaldum’s strong-suit. Yes, he has a wonderful all-around game but he leans towards being an attacking midfielder more than a defensive one.
He’s not one for aggressive midfield battles over 90 minutes – Wijnaldum is more about control and maintaining possession.
So when he partners Thiago in a two as he did against Newcastle United, Liverpool look vulnerable. The Spaniard is more forward-thinking, too, after all.
We’d only really trust Wijnaldum alongside Fabinho and that’s a problem. Even with the Brazilian, we’re not sure Wijnaldum is aggressive enough for the role.
It makes the 4-2-4 a lot less viable if you don’t have the players who naturally suit it.
The Bissouma fix
Bissouma is a player with the all-around game for the 4-2-4. As we detailed last month, he hovers around top-10 in the league for combined tackles & interceptions, and again for pressing in midfield.
Then he’s also top 20 for recovering loose balls after a high-press. Given the four forwards, there will be a lot of high-pressing.
Bissouma, then, could add the necessary bite and aggression in a midfield two. Put him alongside Fabinho or Jordan Henderson and Liverpool can cope with their inferior midfield numbers.
They’d certainly have a very strong shield in front of the backline.
We hope Liverpool move for Bissouma anyway but the 4-2-4 really increases the desire, here. We like that system a lot – it just needs a little tinkering.
And Klopp may have the fix he needs in Bissouma. It would be a £40m upgrade that solidifies Liverpool and adds significantly more aggression in a midfield battle.
For us, the potential added versatility to Liverpool could make it all a bargain.