Neil Jones has expressed his delight with how Dominik Szoboszlai has hit the ground running during the first few weeks of his Liverpool career.
The Hungary international threw in a superb performance on Saturday as Jurgen Klopp’s side defeated Bournemouth 3-1 at Anfield.
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Our new No. 8 appeared to cover ever single blade of glass and came to life when we were reduced to ten men after Alexis Mac Allister’s harsh dismissal.
“Not to bring Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain into the equation again but someone did mention to me that Liverpool haven’t really had a player like Dominik Szoboszlai since Oxlade-Chamberlain was enjoying his short-lived purple patch prior to his unfortunate injury at Roma,” Jones told Empire of the Kop. “More specifically in terms of when he was driving from midfield, shooting from outside the box and had that real physical power to him. You do, of course, have to remember that Szoboszlai is only two games into the season – it wasn’t that long ago fans were hyping up the signing of Keita after his first couple of games! That said, what stands out for me is the mix of talent and silky on-the-ball work married with a natural desire to work hard, not to mention strength and physicality to go with it. There’s a lot to like about him!
“He does a lot of his work on the right side; if you look at his touches and heatmaps, he is very much in the Jordan Henderson position, if you want to call it that, as a midfielder, but he plays in a completely different way. He’s happy to have the ball with his back to play and play one-touch to link, plus carry the ball. What impressed Jurgen Klopp was how he reacted when Liverpool went down to 10 men and the remaining players on the pitch were required to put in more effort – it felt like he got stronger! It felt like he stepped up and said ‘right, this is me then – I’m going to have to do the work of two people’.
“He really took the fight to Bournemouth, was involved in the third goal and kept getting Liverpool to and around the box and in dangerous positions. It speaks to his character, doesn’t it? He’s the captain of Hungary for a reason. He’s only 22. It does feel that Liverpool have signed a player who ticks a lot of boxes. He feels like a Liverpool player, but also the kind of player the crowd can really relate to and enjoy, because he’s not frightened to get his hands dirty. Szoboszlai isn’t a luxury player who likes to be there when the ball is around him; he actually wants to go and win it back, fight for it and carry possession toward the opposition.”
Our midfield struggled massively last term and there was a real lack of energy and intensity in plenty of our performances.
Szoboszlai brings both of those attributes to our engine room, however, and he showed exactly why Klopp was eager to sign him with his performance against the Cherries.
He won us a penalty with some neat foot work inside the box and he also played a huge role in our third goal as his powerful strike from outside the area was only parried out to Diogo Jota who slammed home from close range.
The former RB Leipzig man is exactly what we needed this season as we aim to compete on all four fronts and we can’t wait to see him shine further.