That is a confident move by the Reds but it is one that has probably been informed by Manchester City’s decision to go for Kalvin Phillips this summer and Manchester United’s focus on Frenkie De Jong, thanks to the influence of their new manager Erik ten Hag. they could also be threatened by the might of Real Madrid, who are just as interested in the youngster and could move for him in 2023 as well.
Liverpool are also reported to be planning a squad clearout in the coming seasons, one which has already started this summer. Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino, Loris Karius, Sadio Mane have all left the club. Alexander Oxlade-Chamberlain and Roberto Firmino are reportedly the next to leave, but it remains to be seen if they will leave this summer. If they do not leave this summer, they are surely the first names for next summer’s clearout.
Bellingham would come in to balance the team and at 19 years old (which will be his age by next summer), he will surely be signed on a long-term deal if they do pull it off. But will he be an upgrade to their current options in midfield?
Born in 2003 in Stourbridge, England, the Borussia Dortmund man rose to prominence at Birmingham City who signed him for their under-8 team. Eight years later, he was playing first-team football for the side and began to draw attention from all across Europe.
He is now a full international for England after choosing to play for arguably the greatest developmental club in the world, Borussia Dortmund. And within the BVB and England national team setup, he is drawing serious comparisons with a Liverpool great – Steven Gerrard.
He is similar to a lot of midfielders in the way he carries the ball forward and attempts to thwack one in from distance or from the edge of the box. He is also a great tackler and a leader in the middle of the park despite his young age, and it is in this aspect of his gameplay that he is most similar to the current Aston Villa manager.
Bellingham takes risks, is willing to run into spaces to cover for defensive lapses, is willing to provide extra passing lanes and can also strike the ball from distance powerfully.
It is also in this similarity to Steven Gerrard that he trumps the current Liverpool midfielders, both old and young, most of who have been signed with hopes of finding a player similar to their enigmatic former captain.
Jurgen Klopp is already blessed with talent in the middle of the park who can be trusted to deliver on any given day. Pound for pound, he may also not be able to get the better of Klopp’s preferred midfield trio of Fabinho, Thiago Alcantara and Jordan Henderson. But what he can bring to the team is another strong tackler.
The only midfielders in the current Liverpool side that can fulfil this role expertly are Fabinho – his holding role requires him to be able to do this naturally – and Henderson. The others are central midfielders who are more concerned with moving the ball up the field.
Bellingham can provide cover for Fabinho and also provide a lot more options for ball progression as a deep-lying playmaker. This will help to mitigate the creation problem that the squad suffered from towards the end of the 2020/21 season and on occasion in the 2021/22 season.
Liverpool’s focus on the wide areas to create their chances has been found out and the only reason it still yields results is that those in the wide areas are pretty good. Bellingham will offer options from the middle of the park to further compound their opponent’s worries and this is what Klopp is looking forward to.
The squad clearout notwithstanding, Bellingham is not an upgrade on any one player but on the team as a whole. And if you have followed Liverpool’s transfer business in the past, you will understand this fact and come to terms with why he is a target for Klopp.