Renato Sanches caught the eye for Lille on Tuesday amid talk of interest from Liverpool. The midfielder helped his side to a huge 1-0 win over RB Salzburg.
Group G has got to be the most interesting group in the Champions League this season. Lille, RB Salzburg, Sevilla and Wolfsburg will head into the final matchday with three points separating top from bottom.
And a huge reason for that is Lille finally getting a home win, beating Salzburg 1-0 on Tuesday evening. It was a game that Liverpool were almost certainly watching, too.
As we wrote the last time these two faced one another, there are links to Karim Adeyemi of Salzburg and Jonathan David of Lille. Adeyemi was the star in that game but roles reversed this time around as David scored the winner.
But he wasn’t the only Lille player linked with Liverpool. Calciomercato claims the Reds like Renato Sanches – certainly not a new name to the Red rumour mill.
And if Liverpool were indeed watching, they’ll have been mightily impressed.
Renato Sanches shines amid Liverpool interest
Sanches played a midfield role here with a license to push forward and roam the pitch. And he did that well. What really stands out about the 24-year-old, though, is that he roams with the ball.
Few players can dribble like Sanches. He’s such a strong player that no one can knock him off balance, allowing him to just rush past opponents with ease.
It’s fantastic to see and a little reminiscent of Gini Wijnaldum at his best. The Dutchman uses a low centre of gravity, rather than strength, but Liverpool know well how valuable it is to have a midfielder who can keep the ball under intense pressure.
Not only does it make him great in a possession game or when you simply want to keep the ball, but Sanches looks devastating on the counter. He completed four dribbles in total against Salzburg – a game-high.
Those dribbles were particularly important late on. Sanches was happy to pick up the ball and push forward with it, taking time off the clock.
Now, the Portuguese midfielder is also prone to giving the ball away and isn’t the strongest defensively. Both were on show in this one and it was not a perfect performance.
But his strengths are so fantastic and impressive, that we can’t help but wonder what Liverpool could do with Sanches. If they were watching this, they surely saw a talent they could quickly refine into a true star.