Karim Adeyemi faced off against Jonathan David on Wednesday evening in the UEFA Champions League. Who won the battle of Liverpool transfer targets?
RB Salzburg and Lille played out a thoroughly entertaining Champions League fixture in Austria. The hosts won the game 2-1, though, moving onto four points in the group.
But it was interesting for another reason. Two of the best young strikers in Europe came up against one another – two players Liverpool reportedly like.
Who came out on top, though?
We’ll start with Adeyemi as he undoubtedly took the headlines here. The German won a first-half penalty – that he converted – to give Salzburg the lead.
That means Adeyemi has won a barely comprehensible four penalties across his opening two Champions League fixtures. Defences simply cannot handle the 19-year-old – his pace and movement is electric.
Adeyemi scored a second penalty, though he didn’t win it, which eventually sealed the game for Salzburg. But scoring two penalties is the footnote here – his all-around game seems built for Liverpool.
The 19-year-old, who now has nine goals this season in the Austrian Bundesliga and Champions League, runs relentlessly when he’s on the pitch. He’s a constant out-ball and one who forces teams to worry about him.
You can’t leave Adeyemi isolated against one defender, nor can you afford to leave space around him. The youngster also won two tackles in an example of his hard work. We think he’s brilliant and Liverpool are surely impressed.
Bild claims the Reds hold an interest – we recommend they take that one step further and bid.
David had a tough game here – Lille weren’t in control for much of it. Despite that, he still impressed.
We’ve written before about David and how his pressing is quite fantastic. And that’s the draw here – the Canadian isn’t an out-and-out threat like Adeyemi. Instead, he drops into space, moves for teammates, and looks to link play. He’ll also press hard and win the ball back.
So really, he’s more like Roberto Firmino than most. He lacks the same technique but the idea is the same – a selfless striker who does the things you wish other strikers would.
That’s what David did here. He created two chances for teammates – no one on the pitch topped that – and won two tackles. The 21-year-old also completed two dribbles and got a shot away.
Above all, though, it’s the way David happily drops into space behind Burak Yilmaz and tries to connect with midfield that impresses. The potential there is huge when you add in his athleticism and ability to score.
As for threatening himself, David had one moment in the second half that showed what he can do. The forward picked up the ball and rode two tackles as he drove towards the Salzburg goal. His shot was tame in the end but it was a sign of just how difficult he is to defend.
Liverpool saw David as an alternative to Diogo Jota, per the Liverpool Echo. We know they rate him highly, then, and even after his £27m move to Lille, we’re sure the Reds are watching.
So who impressed more?
Both Adeyemi and David looked good here, though the former was the more impressive. Lille just couldn’t figure him out at first as he drifted across the pitch causing havoc.
But it’s easy to see how Liverpool could use both Adeyemi and David. They could even play together, in fact.
If we could have one, we’d pick Adeyemi, though. He looks like a potential star and would likely be far cheaper than the Ligue 1 player. Liverpool would have to act fast, however – these performances will only drive that price up.