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9 ‘multi-functional’ midfield options for Liverpool

With Liverpool said to be in the market for a “multi-functional midfielder” rather than a No. 6, which players could fit the bill between now and the end of the window?

The Athletic‘s James Pearce reported that the Reds are now out of the market for a defensive midfielder following the arrival of Wataru Endo.

Pearce added that the club are instead focusing their efforts on bringing in “another multi-functional midfielder” with a view to adding more versatility within the options.

Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have already boosted the strength in the more progressive positions, but there is still room for further improvement following the departures of five senior midfielders this summer.

We’re taking a look at some of the players Liverpool could look to add as the summer transfer deadline edges closer.

 

Matheus Nunes

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 7, 2023: Wolverhampton Wanderers' Matheus Nunes during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool looked primed to make their move for Matheus Nunes at the start of the summer, but no formal approach was ever made despite consistent interest.

Reports linking the Reds with the midfielder date back as far as last summer, but the signings of Mac Allister and Szoboszlai saw those stories lessen significantly.

He has played in a variety of roles across the Wolves midfield and his flexibility could be an asset if Liverpool are looking to add one before the window closes.

 

Luka Sucic

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA - Tuesday, August 25, 2020: FC Red Bull Salzburg's Luka Sucic during a preseason friendly match between FC Red Bull Salzburg and Liverpool FC at the Red Bull Arena. (Pic by Propaganda)

Luka Sucic isn’t a name to have been touted in many circles as far as interest from Liverpool is concerned, but the 20-year-old was said to be “one of a number of options” being considered earlier this year.

He is a player who would likely act as an understudy to Szoboszlai in the right-sided No. 8 slot, but Klopp would undoubtedly look to see if he can offer support elsewhere.

Like Lindstrom, Sucic is an attack-minded player and would also be unlikely to command an extortionate fee, so it is somewhat surprising that he hasn’t been linked more firmly this summer.

 

Ryan Gravenberch

2KADBEE Munich, Deutschland. 01st Nov, 2022. Ryan GRAVENBERCH (FC Bayern Munich), gesture, gives instructions, action, single image, cut single motif, half figure, half figure. Soccer Champions League/FC Bayern Munich-Inter Milan 2-0 group stage, 6th matchday on November 1st, 2022, ALLIANZAREN A. Credit: dpa/Alamy Live News

Ryan Gravenberch was the name singled out by Pearce as a genuine option that Liverpool are looking at for their fourth midfield recruit of the summer.

The Dutchman arrived at Bayern Munich from Ajax 12 months ago with a big reputation, but he has failed to make an impact in the Bundesliga so far with only 24 appearances to his name and the majority coming from the bench.

Gravenberch could fit the bill positionally given that he is far from considered a specialist No. 6, with Jurgen Klopp proving on countless occasions his ability to mould players to fit his system.

 

Jesper Lindstrom

2M9MH0R Denmark's Jesper Lindstrom gestures during the World Cup group D soccer match between Australia and Denmark, at the Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

Liverpool were reported to be “highly interested” in Jesper Lindstrom back in April, but there has been very little noise around a potential move since.

The Dane made 38 appearances in all competitions for Frankfurt last season and could be made available for between £30 million and £35 million if those reports are to be believed.

The lack of noise suggests that Lindstrom isn’t currently a name on the Reds’ radar and his relative inexperience in the deep-lying role is likely to perturb them from making a concrete offer.

 

Khephren Thuram

2JP0214 Nice, France, 14th August 2022. Khephren Thuram of OGC Nice stares towards the fans following the final whistle of the Uber Eats Ligue 1 match at Allianz Riviera Stadium, Nice. Picture credit should read: Jonathan Moscrop / Sportimage

A name that somewhat disappeared with the arrival of Szoboszlai, Khephren Thuram could still fall into the profile of player Liverpool are looking for.

The Frenchman typically operates in the No. 8 positions but possesses all of the attributes to fill in as the anchor if needed.

The Reds were said to have ended their interest in the 22-year-old at the start of last month, but if the club are looking for a versatile option he would certainly come under that criteria.

 

Andre

2KE2W44 RJ - Rio de Janeiro - 11/09/2022 - BRAZILIAN A 2022, FLUMINENSE X GOIAS - Fluminense player Andre celebrates victory at the end of the match against Goias at the Maracana stadium for the Brazilian championship A 2022. Photo: Thiago Ribeiro/AGIF/Sipa USA

One player who does appear to still be on Liverpool’s radar is Andre, who was said to still be being ‘monitored‘ by the club earlier this month.

The Brazilian is more likely to become available in January as Fluminense’s Copa Libertadores quarter-final second leg falls less than 24 hours before the English summer transfer deadline.

He profiles as a defensive midfielder but his eye for a pass and ability to carry the ball could easily be utilised further up the pitch too.

 

Ibrahim Sangare

2K9CR45 Eindhoven, Netherlands. 27th Oct, 2022. EINDHOVEN - Ibrahim Sangare of PSV Eindhoven during the UEFA Europa League Group A match between PSV Eindhoven and Arsenal FC at Phillips Stadium on October 27, 2022 in Eindhoven, Netherlands. ANP | Dutch Height | MAURICE VAN STONE Credit: ANP/Alamy Live News

Ibrahim Sanage could be a perfect fit for what is required given the flexibility he has shown in the Netherlands.

The 25-year-old is capable of playing in the No. 6 position but has also shown his attacking prowess by notching eight goals and three assists for PSV in 2022/23.

It is a signing that would be unlikely to break the bank and is a player who could certainly fill a variety of roles in a Klopp system.

 

Cheick Doucoure

Cheick Doucoure of Crystal Palace

A Premier League name that has been talked up in recent weeks is Cheick Doucoure, who was named Crystal Palace‘s Player of the Season in 2022/23.

Failed attempts to land Romeo Lavia and Moises Caicedo prompted the Reds to ‘step up‘ their pursuit of the Mali international, who typically operates as a holding midfielder for the Eagles.

Doucoure has also demonstrated his ability to carry out the No. 8 role, which is a major tick in the box as far as the “multi-functional” element is concerned.

 

Manu Kone

Manu Kone (France U21) (Image: Maurizio Borsari/AFLO/Alamy Live News)

There was concrete interest in Manu Kone earlier on in the transfer window, but that cooled when the Frenchman picked up an injury at the U21 Euros.

The 22-year-old recently made a return to first-team training with Borussia Monchengladbach and that may well have caught the attention of the recruitment staff.

Liverpool are unquestionably admirers of Kone and will already have all of the information they need, but a formal approach feels unlikely given the lack of recent developments.