Neil Jones likened one aspect of Dominik Szoboszlai’s skill set to Kevin De Bruyne when watching the Liverpool players warm up prior to the 3-0 win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday.
The Hungarian went on to set up two of the goals, and as we saw last month, he packs one hell of a shot when he gets a sight of goal from 20-25 yards.
In his latest Empire of the Kop Substack column, the journalist noted how the 23-year-old’s strike of a ball differs from the technique of other Reds players.
Jones wrote: “I was watching Szoboszlai in the warm-up during the shooting drill down the Kop end. He just has this thing about him that when he hits it, the ball moves differently.
“Even brilliant players at Liverpool could strike the ball, Salah obviously can whip it anywhere he wants, Nunez can strike the ball powerfully, Alexis Mac Allister and Gravenberch can hit the ball… but Szoboszlai has this technique that just makes it move a bit quicker, a bit sweeter.
“It’s a little bit like Kevin De Bruyne, when you see him generating more power with less effort, and Szoboszlai has that. It’s a touch of class when going about his business.”
For Szoboszlai to earn comparisons with De Bruyne over one of the most crucial attributes for any elite footballer (i.e. his ball-striking technique) just sums up what an absolute jewel of a player Liverpool have in the Hungarian.
Jones’ comment about the 23-year-old ‘generating more power with less effort’ brings to mind that stunning goal against Leicester in the Carabao Cup when, with almost insulting nonchalance, he hit the ball into the net at the Kop end, and goodness did it stay hit!
Although his scoring return since joining the Reds isn’t earth-shattering (two goals in 13 games), he seems to live by the mantra of ‘if you don’t buy a ticket, you won’t win the lottery’, judging by his 21 shots in the Premier League being surpassed only by Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez at Anfield this season (FBref).
Anyone who’s seen Szoboszlai play regularly since his move to Liverpool will testify that he’s one of those players you’d happily pay to watch live, such is his grace on the ball and his energy out of possession.
If he can add more goals to his game, he’ll indisputably be in the reckoning for the PFA Player of the Year next spring.