The Liverpool fans were celebrating in the Transfer Tavern last night after their side secured their place in the final of the Champions League following a 7-6 aggregate win over Roma.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have rarely done things the easy way this season as out-scoring their opponents has tended to be their preferred method of victory. They proved that once again against Roma at the Stadio Olimpico as they lost 4-2 to the Italian giants on the evening to set-up a showpiece tie against Real Madrid in Kiev at the end of the month.
Georginio Wijnaldum did what he has failed to do in his 88 previous appearances for the Reds by scoring away from home to put his side 2-1 up inside the first-half, but despite this, there is reason to suggest that he should be replaced next season. The Dutch international has a brilliant engine and a genuine desire to give everything for the cause, however, he is lacking the technical quality which is needed to take Liverpool to the next level.
Wijnaldum’s shortcomings are often masked alongside the likes of Emre Can, Jordan Henderson and Oxlade-Chamberlain in a three-man midfield, but that cannot continue if Liverpool wish to mount a genuine challenge for the Premier League title next season. According to recent reports, Liverpool could have a perfect opportunity to replace him this summer, as Don Balon believe Mateo Kovacic could be set to leave Los Blancos this summer in search of regular first-team football.
Although Kovacic was injured during the early stages of the season, the fact he has only made 9 starts in La Liga this season speaks volumes about his relative importance to the club, so the path should be clear for Liverpool to make a bid for his services during the upcoming transfer window.
At 23-years-old, Kovacic (valued at £27 million by Transfermarkt) is an immense prospect simply waiting to be unearthed. The Croatian international is a box-to-box midfielder who possesses all of the attributes which are needed to succeed in his position – especially at Liverpool where the midfield trio are so fundamental to the club’s success.
Naturally, Kovacic has widely been dubbed as the heir to his compatriot Luka Modric at Real Madrid, but it would be unfair to both of these Croatian stars to make comparisons between the two. Kovacic certainly has a 50-yard diagonal in his locker, but like Wijnaldum, he is more of an all-rounder who can regularly be seen breaking up play before advancing forward with the ball at his feet.
Quite simply, Kovacic would represent an upgrade on Wijnaldum and, if reports from Spain which claim he would be willing to leave the Bernabeu this summer prove to be true, Liverpool should do everything they can to bring him to Anfield.
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