Few expected Liverpool to sign Dominic Szoboszlai this window. But out of nowhere, the Reds triggered his £60m release-clause and our second midfielder of the summer was signed after Alexis Mac Allister.
Fans knew more about the Argentinian World Cup winner on the whole, having watched him for Brighton in the Premier League and in Qatar, while Szoboszlai, despite being more expensive, was more unknown.
He’s the captain of Hungary but in general, English supporters are not watching too many Bundesliga games, forming an opinion of Szoboszlai primarily from his Champions League outings.
Granted, he’s only made two proper appearances so far, but we’re all very much aware of his potential now.
Szoboszlai was the best player on the park against Bournemouth and it’s his combination of physical and technical attributes that make him so exciting.
The 22-year-old is 6ft 2′, fast and strong, with a wonderful first touch and an ability to pass off either foot. What’s most noticeable though is his ability to dribble with the ball centrally. He can drive past opponents with speed or beat them with skill – and without wanting to put too much pressure on the new signing – the last midfielder we had who could do that also wore the no.8 – and it wasn’t Naby Keita…
At Anfield, Szoboszlai registered the most passes, touches, progressive carries, distance covered and dribbles. Even when his team-mate Mac Allister was unfairly sent off, Szoboszlai still looked to play aggressive, front-foot football and his stinging effort from outside of the area led to our third goal, which killed the game.
Szoboszlai seems perfectly suited to the Premier League. He can handle the physicality and likes to play fast, off one and two touches, something fellow new signing Wataru Endo will have to learn. It’s intriguing that Jurgen Klopp has decided to play him the full 90 minutes in both fixtures so far, given he normally lets new signings bed in by subbing them off after an hour, although in fairness, there are not too many other options from the bench right now.
Watch his best bits v Bournemouth, here:
Official MOTM in his first outing at Anfield. Szoboszlai 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zJ4iYAlf9y
— The Anfield Talk (@TheAnfieldTalk) August 19, 2023
He oozes confidence. This is not a player who has any doubts about his own ability. You can see that in the expression with which he plays and the manner in which he takes on opponents.
Klopp had to pull him back in the second-half because he was having so much fun.
“He was the only one [after the red card] who really felt like he had power for more, because he was part of the double six and running everywhere,” the manager told his press-conference.
“I had to hold him back a little bit.
“But, the general performance level he shows since he’s here is really, really good, to be honest, and the involvement in the third goal obviously super-important.”
Mac Allister got a red but he’s also shown why he’ll be a very good signing. We definitely need another defensive-minded player, even with Endo, as at 30, the Japanese is not a long-term option.
James Pearce in the Athletic has hinted we’re not signing another holding midfielder, but that seems nonsensical – and in truth – no journalist has known much about the incomings so far and the reporting has largely been based on guesswork.
We have a week before a very challenging trip to Newcastle United. Hopefully, Mac Allister’s red will be overturned, as without the Argentine, we look scarce in central options.
Szoboszlai will be a guaranteed starter of course, looking to carry on the exceptional work we’ve seen so far.