2023. Belgium's Romeo Lavia BELGA PHOTO VIRGINIE LEFOUR Credit: Belga News Agency/Alamy Live News

Why Liverpool could expect slow start from Romeo Lavia

With Liverpool said to be closing in on their third midfield recruit of the summer, fans may be forced to wait to feel the full impact of Romeo Lavia.

The Southampton midfielder has been heavily linked with a move to Anfield throughout the summer, with the Reds having an initial £37 million offer rejected last week.

Jurgen Klopp‘s midfield overhaul was plunged into further uncertainty by the departure of captain Jordan Henderson to Saudi Arabia, with Fabinho the next to follow in the Premier League‘s Middle East exodus.

Aged just 19, Lavia will be asked to shoulder significant responsibility at the base of Liverpool’s midfield should a move be completed, with the Belgian set to be the squad’s only No. 6 specialist.

Despite this, the youngster’s pre-season hasn’t gone how Klopp will have hoped, having amassed just 156 minutes of football across five friendlies for the Saints this summer.

2R0M429 Southampton's Romeo Lavia during the Premier League match at City Ground, Nottingham. Picture date: Monday May 8, 2023.

He has yet to register an appearance of more than 45 minutes, playing 30 minutes against Benfica, 45 minutes against Goztepe, 19 minutes against Reading, 45 minutes against Bournemouth and 17 minutes against AZ Alkmaar.

The teenager was accused of looking “uninterested” in the 3-2 friendly defeat to Bournemouth, which came shortly after Liverpool’s rejected bid.

He is also unlikely to feature in the Championship’s curtain raiser against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday night due to the ongoing negotiations.

David Lynch reported for This Is Anfield last week that personal terms had been agreed to bring the player to Anfield amid hopes that the move could be resolved swiftly, which raises the question about what is still holding the deal up.

Southampton's Romeo Lavia celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the Premier League match at St Mary's Stadium, Southampton. Picture date: Tuesday August 30, 2022 (Steven Paston/PA)

On the same day, The Athletic‘s David Ornstein wrote that a second bid was being prepared and that the noise suggested there was a “high chance” of the transfer being completed.

Reports in the Times on Monday have offered little signs of movement five days on, with the line still being that the Reds are ready to make a second approach following the £37 million proposal that was rejected.

Klopp has made positive strides with the players he does have available to him during the pre-season tours of Germany and Singapore.

He will, however, have preferred to have had longer to work with Lavia given the specific demands of the role he is being pursued for.

KARLSRUHE, GERMANY - Wednesday, July 19, 2023: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during a pre-season friendly match between Karlsruher SC and Liverpool FC at the Wildparkstadion. Liverpool won 4-2. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fabinho‘s exit will leave the 19-year-old needing to hit the ground running at Anfield should he become the next signing of the window.

But as things stand, he is unlikely to arrive in time for the Deepdale fixture against Darmstadt on August 7 and will certainly not be ready in time to face Bayern Munich in Singapore on Wednesday.

Liverpool have operated with a somewhat makeshift midfield thus far in pre-season, with Curtis Jones, Trent Alexander-Arnold and James McConnell among those to have been deployed in the No. 6 position.

With Chelsea on the horizon in less than two weeks’ time, there will be understandable concerns within camp about how the Reds will line up as they kick off their 2023/24 Premier League campaign at Stamford Bridge.