Liverpool could not be in more desperate need of a fresh pair of legs in midfield in light of an ongoing lack of dynamism in the middle of the park.
That may come across as a strange statement to make given that Jurgen Klopp fielded his strongest possible midfield combination – Jordan Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara – against a weakened Wolves outfit in the FA Cup.
Anyone paying even vague attention to that particular clash, of course, will all concur that the Reds’ midfield was largely to be found wanting once more for any kind of impactful presence.
Having already landed Cody Gakpo, it seems the club’s options are somewhat limited when it comes to any kind of addition that would solve this positional concern.
That’s if Liverpool have already overlooked up-and-coming USA star Yunus Musah – reportedly, according to The Athletic (via the Daily Mail), available for bids upwards of $21m (£17.2m) – who recently shone for his national side at the World Cup.
Having only played 816 minutes this season, our skipper acts as a good point of comparison for the 20-year-old Valencia man (on 992 minutes).
Looking exclusively at defensive metrics – a key consideration for Jurgen Klopp (in particular, the ability to conduct successful challenges) in his comments to the press following the 2-2 draw with Julen Lopetegui’s men – we at Empire of the Kop believe the midfielder has something to offer.
Per 90 minutes, Musah is near doubling Henderson’s stats (per FBRef) in a handful of areas:
Tackles: Yunus Musah (2.27); Jordan Henderson (1.21)
Tackles in defensive third: Yunus Musah (0.64); Jordan Henderson (0.33)
Tackles in middle third: Yunus Musah (1.27); Jordan Henderson (0.66)
Tackles in offensive third: Yunus Musah (0.36); Jordan Henderson (0.22)
Percentage of dribblers tackled: Yunus Musah (50%); Jordan Henderson (44.4%)
We’ll have to keep an eye on the number of times the American is dribbled past by an opponent (both players level at 0.55 per 90 this term) but there are some encouraging signs from a player who is ultimately still raw and could be moulded into another gem by Jurgen Klopp and his coaching staff.
If we can keep the price down as close to £17.2m as possible – it’s a potential no-brainer for our recruitment team.