When you visualize some of the best players of the Klopp era, the most common answers would probably be our bevy of brilliant attacking players. The formidable trio of Mo Salah, Sadio Mane, and Bobby Firmino spring to mind. Or perhaps you prefer the defensive steel of Virgil van Dijk, the composed brilliance of Alisson Becker, or the creative drive of Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson. What gets lost in the shuffle though are those in the midfield. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, and James Milner have all been vital. However, those players served more of a functional role. They lacked a certain flair or technique to add another layer to the Liverpool side they were in. Enter Dominik Szoboszlai, or Szobo for short, one of the new arrivals in “Liverpool 2.0.” The Hungarian might be THAT player we’ve been crying out for all these years.
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Szobo Putting The League On Notice
Any doubts about Szobo starting slow have been quickly put to bed. Getting accustomed to Liverpool’s style of play usually takes time but he’s bucked that trend. Our newest number eight has 4 goal contributions in 13 appearances this season. But the midfielder’s impact goes beyond the numbers.
In previous iterations of Klopp’s Liverpool, there hasn’t really been a consistent goal threat in midfield. This would cause opposing defenses to double down on our attackers. Szobo is already providing a remedy for this with his speed, power, and drive from the midfield. Opposition backlines now have something else to worry about. He’s clearly what we’ve been lacking for years. His positive start to the year clearly puts this notion on display.
He’s Only 23
Looking at the overall impact of Szobo’s game since coming to Liverpool, you’d be forgiven for not realizing that he’s only 23! With Liverpool’s old guard midfield stuck at the wrong side of 30, this new cadre of midfielders is a breath of fresh air. Joining Szoboszlai is the youthful Ryan Gravenberch and World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister. It’s clear what Jurgen Klopp is going for this year in terms of the makeup of his midfield. Despite some nitpicks here and there, it’s largely worked out.
A Generational Talent?
I don’t want to be tooting this horn too early, but the excitement is too widespread to ignore. Let’s be real everyone, we have an absolute gem on our hands. The previous summer transfer window had some holding out hope for a certain Real Madrid midfielder named Jude Bellingham. While Jude has indeed taken La Liga by storm, I think we managed to snag the next best thing. I struggle to point out an outright flaw in Szoboszlai’s game. He can thrive in free-flowing attacking situations and rugged defensive holdouts.
Time will tell if all our hopes will be fulfilled. But for now, it looks like we’ve found a player worthy of keeping Stevie G’s old number eight warm.