Ward had a deadline day blunder at Liverpool with a £14 million gem who “shoots like a horse” – opinion

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham

Liverpool’s well-documented troubles are obvious this season, with the current FA Cup and Carabao Cup holders succumbing to the conclusion of a previously golden cycle following years of milk and honey under Jurgen Klopp’s supervision

This season, the Reds lack the fluidity and unyielding intensity associated with their German manager’s footballing philosophy, and the club is now languishing in ninth position in the Premier League, having been eliminated from both domestic competitions.

Technical director Julian Ward hastened plans to strengthen the frontline after striking combination Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz suffered long-term injuries a few months ago. In the early days of the January transfer window, Ward secured the acquisition of Cody Gakpo for an initial £35 million.

Diogo Jota's
Diogo Jota’s

Many expected the Merseyside club to jump back into the deep end and emerge with a new midfielder in tow after the midfield was exposed as the epicenter of the crisis this year, but it was not to be; the doors slammed shut and Klopp is left to tinker around with his options and attempt to right the wrongs that the club has been plagued with.

With the help of their new manager Erik ten Hag, Manchester United has recovered and appears poised to contend for big awards once more while reclaiming their place in the Champions League.

The elite team completed a deadline-day swoop for Bayern Munich’s Marcel Sabitzer, a 28-year-old Austrian giant who will join on a six-month loan, bolstering their hopes of maintaining their recent winning streak.

While names like Jude Bellingham and Matheus Nunes have been mentioned as potential summer transfers, such upbeat rumors won’t do much to calm the turbulent waters that surge against the walls of Anfield and show little sign of abating. In fact, the team is currently in fourth place, ten points behind the Red Devils, despite having a game in hand.

Sabitzer has been a threat in the German Bundesliga for a number of seasons. After excelling with RB Leipzig, he earned a transfer to the league’s leaders in 2021, joining for an estimated €16 million (£14 million).

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham

The star has 185 appearances in the German first division, scoring 34 goals and dishing out 29 assists.

And given how quickly United acquired the ace after dipping into the market, it is puzzling that Liverpool did not follow suit after the midfielder was initially mentioned in connection with the club 18 months ago.

According to FBref, Sabitzer is in the top 1% of positional peers for total shots, top 4% for progressive passes received, and top 2% for tackles. He would breathe new life into a team devoid of power and give a crucial dimension to Klopp’s team, which is in desperate need of more originality.

While reporter Keith Costigan once praised him as the “heartbeat” of his old Leipzig team, Sky Sports’ Uli Koelher amusingly claimed yesterday that Man United would be acquiring a dynamo who “shoots like a horse.”

Jude Bellingham
Jude Bellingham

Since Thiago Alcantara is the only permanent senior midfield addition since the 2018–19 season, Liverpool’s lackluster transfer approach over the final stretch of the transfer window does indeed suggest an acceptance to wait and strike decisively in the summer. However, this inaction could have unfavorable effects given that Thiago Alcantara is the only senior midfield addition since the 2018–19 season.

Sabitzer would have contributed vitality, a straight attack from the center, and perhaps even a goal-scoring streak that he has previously shown to be capable of.

Unfortunately, he now wears United’s colors, and Liverpool must settle with their available options. However, United’s purchase serves as a reminder that the Reds had transfer options but chose not to take advantage of them. Ward and company have most certainly missed their chance.


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