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Klopp explains how David Wagner led “future captain” Ozan Kabak to Liverpool

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Liverpool have signed a defender in Ozan Kabak with the personality and leadership skills to be a skipper further down the line, says manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds completed their second senior signing of deadline day with the loan addition of the Turkish international, who joins from Schalke 04.

He joins until at least the end of the current campaign, but reports say the Reds have an option to make the switch permanent for £18 million if he impresses between now and May.

There’s certainly an eye on the future with this deal – and in more ways than one.

It could take some time for the 20-year-old to settle into the new environment after a dreadful campaign with the Bundesliga club, who are bottom of the table, but Jurgen Klopp is confident that the youngster has the character and determination to move on and continue progressing in his career.

He could hardly have had a better character reference either; Klopp’s long-time best friend David Wagner was manager of Kabak at the Gelsenkirchen club and he gave the Reds’ coaching staff a glowing assessment of the defender.

“Dave always said he will be a future captain of a team. He is a proper personality,” said Klopp to the club site.

Ozan Kabak, Tukey (PA Media) (V o l k s b a n k B o c h u m - W i t t e n )

“Dave was already very, very positive about him. He came very young to Germany and everybody was clear he was a massive talent.”

Kabak arrives at a time when the Reds have all three senior centre-backs out injured, as well as stand-in defender Fabinho.

Ben Davies has arrived from Preston on the same day as our new No. 19, giving Klopp two new faces in defence to push Nat Phillips for a spot and perhaps allow Jordan Henderson to move back into midfield.

It’s not likely to be an immediate debut for Kabak, considering the club say he won’t arrive on Merseyside until later in the week, but Klopp has hinted that there is a real eye on both long-term development and upcoming help for the first team with this signing.

“I think it’s a really good moment to make the move because, like each player in the world, you need a stable team around you and that’s what we can deliver.

“We deliver a stable team and you can play your position, you don’t have to be 20 with pretty much everything on the pitch and not allowed to make mistakes anymore.

“He’s really a big, big talent and we are really looking forward to working with him.

“He wants to learn but he can deliver already.”

After Brighton in midweek, the Reds face Man City – surely an improbable game for Kabak to be thrust into. After that the tough games come thick and fast with Leicester, Leipzig and Everton all waiting for the Reds, so he’ll need to hit the ground running in a team with huge expectations of winning every game.

It’s a total change in mindset to that at struggling Schalke, and the captain’s mentality Wagner and Klopp have alluded to will be needed to help the young defender adjust fast.

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