Mark Wyatt has given Liverpool fans an insight into what they can expect to see from Romeo Lavia if the Reds secure the signing of the Southampton midfielder.
The Merseyside outfit remain the favourites to snap up the 19-year-old this summer, and the Hampshire Live journalist told The Redmen TV‘s Expert Insight show that he can see the deal going through before the Saints’ first Championship match next Friday.
The reporter also elaborated on the qualities that the Belgian displayed at St Mary’s last season, and how he could operate within Jurgen Klopp’s team at Anfield.
Wyatt explained of Lavia: “He is supremely confident in his ability and that comes across in his game. He plays in a position right in the middle of the action, he has incredible ball retention and wriggles out of spaces fantastically.
“He has those eye test things where you go to a game and watch a player do those things you take notice of. He really stood out in that regard. He has room for development and that’s the exciting thing and it’s clear that there is going to be a world-class player in there at some point if not the very near future.
“I don’t think he is a straight swap for Fabinho. In Southampton, he plays in a double pivot a lot. Occasionally he will be on his own in the six but I would like to see him push forward into the eight because sometimes you do get lost in needing a physical body in there. You do want someone with a bit of technical ability who can play in that eight, maybe even working with Alexis Mac Alister.
“One thing that sets Romeo Lavia apart from players around his age is his consistency. A lot of Southampton players didn’t play well last season but Lavia played well all the time and made him look better.
“I don’t know how he would step up in terms of the pressure, the environment of playing at Liverpool; big club, big transfer fee. It would be a different kind of pressure than playing for a side just trying to escape relegation. In terms of his consistency, he was an 8 out of 10 week in week out.”
This is a very interesting and revealing insight from Wyatt, who would’ve watched Lavia firsthand on many occasions last season.
It’s striking how the reporter said the Belgian youngster wouldn’t be a like-for-like replacement for Fabinho, which may leave Liverpool fans yearning for the addition of another player whose remit would purely be focused on breaking up opposition attacks.
However, with an average of 2.1 tackles per game last term (only Thiago had more at Anfield, via WhoScored), the Southampton starlet is still well able to play the role of destroyer, along with exhibiting his qualities on the ball.
Furthermore, it’s hugely encouraging to hear Wyatt talking of how consistent a performer Lavia has been, even as a 19-year-old in a Saints side who finished rock bottom of the Premier League.
The journalist is right to add the caveat that success at one club doesn’t automatically translate into repeating it at other, but there are plenty of indications that the Belgium international has the qualities to thrive at Liverpool if he comes to Anfield this summer.
After the problems we endured in midfield last season, Reds fans would surely be craving to see a player renowned for his consistency being brought in.