Kop Star: Krisztian Nemeth

26 Jun 2008

What an amazing impact Krisztian Nemeth has made since his arrival from MTK Hungaria last Summer. With an exquisit touch, clinical finishing and intelligence in abundance, the £750,000 spent on him already looks a bargain! In this second issue of KopStar we discuss Krisztian’s impressive first season at Liverpool……..

Krisztian Nemeth signed for Liverpool alongside compatriot Andras Simon in May 2007. Krisztian signed a 3 year contract. On signing, Benitez commented: “We have been watching these players for a long time. There were alot of big clubs interested in them, such as Real Madrid, Ajax and PSV Eindhoven.

Mooki3 wrote: “It’s nigh on sixty-four years since the debut of Hungarian football’s (and at the time, the worlds) greatest ever player, Ferenc Purczeld Biró, or Ferenc Puskás, as he is better known….. Since then, he is yet to be challenged, never mind usurped from his position as the Nations greatest. However, there is excitement growing from within the country, that there is a player finally worthy of challenging the great Puskás, a young man hailing from the picturesque city of GyÅ‘r, Krisztián Németh.

Young Krisztián has more than a little in common with his hero, they both made their professional debuts at the tender age of sixteen. They both have quite unbelievable scoring records; Krisztián has scored in 88.9% of the games he has played as a reserve player, and has an even better record for Country; managing to hit the net seventeen times in just twelve appearances for the under 19s and under 21s. It is in playing style, however, where the two (Puskás being left-footed aside) are strikingly similar, with both players excelling in both of the No. 9 and 10 forward positions.”

Krisztian played 37 games for MTK Hungaria, scoring an impressive return of 14 goals for his age. Nemeth played his final game for MTK on the 28th May 2007, when they beat Ujpest 2-0 in the last game of the Himgary league, where they finished 2nd behind Debrecen. Nemeth scored 12 goals in as many games for MTK Hungaria that season.

In 2005/06, Nemeth starred for Hungary’s U17’s in their quest to reach the 2006 UEFA European U17 Football Finals.
* In their Qualifying round – Nemeth scored 4 goals in 3 games
* In their Elite round – Nemeth scored 5 goals in 3 games

Krisztián also starred for Hungary in the 2006 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship finals in Luxembourg, and recently he scored seven goals in three matches for the U19s in a mini-tournament in Cyprus.

After an early season injury, Nemeth had to wait till the 27th October for his first Liverpool game. Nemeth started his Liverpool career for the U18’s in their 0-0 draw with West Brom. Nemeth then went on to make his debut for the Liverpool Reserves on the 27th November 2007 against Manchester City. Nemeth marked his debut with an eye catching performance with a first half brace against Manchester City and was unlucky not to grab a hat-trik when he saw an effort crash back of the post.

A week later, Nemeth followed up his brace at Manchester City with another brace, this time against Everton. Nemeth had made an impressive start to his Liverpool career grabbing 4 goals in his first two games. After the Everton clash, Gary Ablett told liverpoolfc.tv “Krisztian is in a rich vein of form at the moment and he took his goals very well. He showed fantastic skill for his first goal and he does that all the time in training.”

In the following game against Middlesbrough, Nemeth again scored when he unleashed a great drive from 25 yards to claim his 5th goal in 3 matches.

Kid Viravax wrote: “He’s a player 2 or 3 years ahead of his age in ability, being promoted from the national u-19’s to the U-21’s, and gone on to net more goals than games, with 7 in the past 6! Nemeth has one of the most natural volleys of the ball i have seen for a long time, since Molby! He just knows the height and speed the ball is coming in at, and very rarely misses the target. The way he can connect from a long ball like that makes him a wingers dream, and as shown for his national side, this is how he is played.

Everyone compares him to Fowler, and when it comes to his instinct inside the box, they are not far off. He never lets a ball slip to an opposition defender, and is always on the end of a blocked shot or pass into the penalty area, but in reality he is far from a ‘fox in the box’, showing his ability to get past players, set others up, and make some amazing counter runs many times this season.

He is one of the two or three players i can really see hitting the big time wearing a red shirt, and is a quality spot from Rafa. Simon is a decent player, but nowhere near Nemeth’s standard, and Gulacsi has yet to prove his worth inbetween the sticks, which makes me think Nemeth was such a high target on Rafas youth list, he was willing to bring these players just to make sure Nemeth settles in and adapts to the Liverpool lifestyle very well, as it seems like he’s going to be here for quite some time! Next year will be his chance to prove it, he’s 19, and with even Ablett coming out and saying he has the potential to be as big as Kenny, and Rafa saying Nemeth is something special, the time seems nigh!”

imageIn the middle of February, Nemeth moved Liverpool Reserves 5 points clear at the top of the Barclays Premier Reserve League North table when Liverpool beat Sunderland Reserves 1-0. Nemeth scored a fantastic goal when a brilliant long field ball from goalkeeper David Martin was chased by Nemeth and when the Sunderland defender, Jean Yves M’Voto slipped, Nemeth camly lobbed the ball over the stranded Trevor Carson for his 6th league goal.

>>See also: Kop Star Issue 1: Lauri Dalla Valle

Nemeth continued to impress for the reserves and again scored the only goal of the match against Bolton in March. The Reserves then travelled to America to take part in the Dallas Cup. Liverpool capped their powerful run through the Dallas Cup with a 3-0 victory over Mexican club Tigres in the final. Nemeth made all the headlines scoring two of those goals.

At the beginning of April, Liverpool Reserves were crowned Champions of the Barclays Premier Reserve League North after a 1-0 win over Blackburn Rovers. The Reserves clinched the title with two games to spare courtesy of Krisztian Nemeth’s superb first-half strike. That was Nemeth’s 8 goals in 11 appearances in the League which made him the Reserves leading top scorer.

Shervin wrote: “This is one player who has just got better and better with every single game. I do remember his first (and only game I think) with the under-18s where the ball just wouldn’t go in for him, but that tells you a lot about the character of the lad when you now take a look at what he achieved goalscoring-wise with the reserves.

He doesn’t have the pace of Owen or even the finishing quality of Fowler (at least not yet), but the one thing behind his goalscoring prowess in my opinion, and that’s one attribute he shares with Torres, is that nothing, but really nothing, seems to affect his confidence. He’s certainly not one to dwell on an easy miss, in fact if anything it just makes him more hungry, and when you couple that with the tremendous ability Nemeth has of always being in the right place at the right time, you can be sure you’ve got there someone who is always going to bag them in.

However, to be honest, his goalscoring record has probably overshadowed what I believe to be his main qualities. I’ve rarely seen a 19-year old with the same vision as Krisztian, not only does he has the ability to pick out a teammate’s run, he more often than not gets the timing of the pass spot on as well. All that means that I’m personally not worried about the step up to the premiership and as he showed against the likes of Neville and Pique, he’s got enough self-belief to take on even the most experienced defenders.”

Nemeth’s form hasn’t escaped the attention of Benitez, who expects the Hungarian to knock on the first-team door in seasons to come. Speaking to liverpoolfc.tv, Benitez commented “He is playing well. He is a player with game intelligence, with ability and someone who can score goals. He is a player we are keeping an eye on for the future. It is not easy with the strikers we have and the situation at the moment, but we know he is a good player who has the quality and talent we need. He must keep working. His is learning and working with the staff. I think he will be much better in time because he wants to learn.” Gary Ablett also commented on Nemeth claiming he can see shades of Kenny Dalglish in the way reserve striker Krisztian Nemeth plays football ‘“ but insists the youngster has a lot to learn before people can call him the King.

After been crowned Northern Division Champions, Liverpool reserves then played Aston Villa in an entertaining play-off final at Anfield to see who would be crowned National Champions. This was Nemeth’s first ever game at Anfield and once again, Krisztian shone for the Reserves grabbing a goal. Nemeth showing great composure flashed a shot from just inside the penalty area into the far corner to give Liverpool the perfect start. It was an incredible season for Nemeth, who can now add the national title medal to both the Dallas Cup and the Northern Division championship medals, to complete what was a superb cup treble.

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DanDagger wrote: “He is a very intelligent player considering his age and experience. He knows when to shield the ball, take people on and when to pass or shoot. His decision making is superb. He is a player who can use both of his feet effectively and we can see that when we look at his goals. One thing I do think he could work on his his heading though where I think he could have grabbed one or two more goals which is also the though of Gary Ablett.

He has great technique, awareness, finishing ability, composure and he has a bit of flair as well. He’s not afraid to do some work defensively and he leads the line superbly. Weather he’s coming off the main striker or he is the main striker, he will be effective. He is a handful for any defender and we have seen that he can play with top class players. When he was up against Gerard Pique, who has recently moved to Barca, he skinned him and won a penalty for example. He has super strength as we have seen from the Blackburn goal. He has the confidence to attempt the flash goals for example the lob in the Sunderland game. He can use his left foot, as we’ve seen in the Aston Villa final.”

Nemeth’s season wasn’t finished just yet, at the end of May he scored a crucial goal against Portugal to take Hungary the Hungary U19’s into the European Championships. As a reward for his outstanding season and form, in May 2008, Nemeth was called up to the Hungary Senior squad and was an unused sub during their 1-1 draw with Croatia.

Mooki3 wrote: “Németh has the technical ability and mental awareness to allow him to play the No. 10 role, which he has been thriving in for the reserves this season, along side the less-flexible Jordy Brouwer. It is in the No. 9 position however, where I see Krisztián Németh’s long-term future in a Liverpool shirt. When a player has such a natural ability to get in to poachers positions, along with an innate ability to hit the net upon receiving his chance, it needs to be nurtured, as this is the rarest breed of player.

Németh is an exciting player to watch and he posses a nice assortment of skills and tricks, but it is the quickness of his feet that enable them to be effective. His favoured manoeuvres are the back-healed pass (if you think Ronaldo’s goal against Villa last year was special, trust me, you haven’t seen anything yet!). In addition, when coming deep to collect the ball; Krisztián likes to receive it into feet and turn his man to find space to get his shot or pass off; it is very reminiscent of when Fernando Torres comes deep to receive the ball.

Liverpool’s academy set-up has a proud tradition of nurturing vastly talented players in the No. 9 role (look at Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, super-sub David Fairclough, Bobby Graham et al.), I am a betting man, and my money is firmly on the boy with the orange boots being the next name added to that list.”

Big things are expected of Nemeth who was voted the Liverpool fans Reserve Player of the year. The question is WHEN will Krisztian Nemeth become a KopStar rather than WILL he become a KopStar…


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