5/6 duels won: Liverpool had scouts watching 22y/o destroyer last weekend – report

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Liverpool appear to be concentrating heavily on the Portuguese top flight recently, and not just in the search for a new manager.

Amid the ongoing speculation over Ruben Amorim potentially taking the reins from Jurgen Klopp, the Reds also dispatched scouts to a Primeira Liga fixture over the weekend.

The print edition of Record claimed (via Sport Witness) that a delegation from Merseyside attended the clash between FC Porto and Vitoria Guimaraes on Sunday.

While the report didn’t mention any specific player who was being monitored, it’s been suggested that they may have been checking in on Alan Varela, who’s been a target for Liverpool ever since his time at Boca Juniors in his native Argentina.

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If Varela was indeed the main focus of the Liverpool scouting delegation, they’ll have been reasonably pleased with what they saw from him despite Porto losing 1-2 at home to a direct rival for Europa League qualification.

As per Sofascore, the 22-year-old won three tackles and five of his six duels, completed 91% of his passes (39/43), landed one shot on target and recorded four successful long balls.

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The defensive midfielder was withdrawn just 11 minutes into the second half, but having been replaced by a more attack-minded player in Ivan Jaime, that was most likely a tactical alteration by Sergio Conceicao with his team trailing.

In terms of Varela’s underlying statistics during his first season in Europe, he ranks very highly for pass completion (top 7% of positional peers in the continent) but is generally in the middle sector for most of the main metrics analysed by FBref.

It’s unclear whether he was the focus of the Liverpool scouts’ attention, while the managerial situation still needs to be resolved before we get any real clarity on summer transfer targets, but don’t be surprised if the Argentine’s name crops up again over the coming weeks in relation to potential interest from Anfield.

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