Liverpool target left in tears after dramatic assist seals Euro last 16 spot

Liverpool target Riccardo Calafiori was left in tears on the pitch after Italy guaranteed a place in the last 16 of the Euros with a late draw against Croatia.

Calafiori is the subject of interest from Anfield following a breakout season with Bologna, with the Reds enquiring over a possible summer transfer.

The 22-year-old has taken his club form into the Euros, impressing as a progressive left-sided centre-back, a role he has made his own after switching from left-back.

After catching the eye against both Albania and Spain – despite defeat to the latter – Calafiori made his third start of the tournament as Italy faced Croatia.

With Croatia needing a win to ensure their place in the last 16 and Italy needing a result to guarantee progress, it was built up as a must-see clash.

What played out in Leipzig was a largely dull affair, with both sides lacking pace and quality in the final third as they struggled to break each other down.

Croatia eventually took the lead through Luke Modric early in the second half, with the midfielder making up for a missed penalty by beating Gianluigi Donnarumma with a chance less than a minute later.

It looked set to be a famous night for Modric and Croatia’s old guard, with the 38-year-old’s goal seemingly enough to book a spot in the last 16.

That was until Calafiori stepped out of defence by playing a one-two with Davide Frattesi in the dying seconds, collecting the ball and striding forward before laying a pass on for Mattia Zaccagni.

Zaccagni curled home and secured a vital draw that meant Italy finished second in Group B and set up a last-16 tie against Switzerland.

Though Italy would likely have progressed as one of the best of the third-placed sides either way, the significance of the result was not lost on the players.

Calafiori was in tears as he lay on the pitch at the final whistle, having only enhanced his reputation further with a decisive moment for the reigning champions.

Whether Liverpool advance their interest in the centre-back remains to be seen, though it should be noted that the Mail‘s Lewis Steele has named Bologna as suitors for Sepp van den Berg.

Steele has explained that the Serie A side are “keen” on the Dutchman “if Calafiori departs as expected.”

Amid interest from clubs in both the Premier League and the Bundesliga, Liverpool are seeking £20 million for Van den Berg – which, if talks continue with Bologna, could be factored into any deal for Calafiori.