Liverpool have had an eventful summer transfer window this time. They reinforced their attack by buying Mohamed Salah from AS Roma but the Egyptian has been their sole big money buy so far. The Jürgen Klopp managed side have toiled hard to keep their star player Philippe Coutinho at Anfield.
Their pursuit of Naby Keita is coming to an unfortunate end and their primary target, Virgil van Dijk, has wants to move but Southampton have managed to ward off the interest.
Now, in an interesting turn of events, Liverpool have set their sights on former Schalke captain Benedikt Howedes. The German was a part of Germany’s title winning campaign in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He has plenty of experience of playing at the top-tier football.
Schalke 04 had a rather disappointing campaign last year. They finished 10th in the Bundesliga points table behind the likes of teams like Hertha and Werder. However, Howedes was a constant figure in the Schalke side. He had 42 appearances to his name.
In the Bundesliga itself, he made 31 appearances. He won two tackles per game in the league competition. The German also made 3.5 clearances in every game. Howedes led the back line of the German team very well. They progressed to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. One important statistic is that he made 3.8 interceptions in every match. This is extremely impressive as he constantly helped his team to regain possession through this process.
Howedes is an as a ball-playing centre-half as he made an average 54 passes in every game. He had an 86.3% pass success rate. He also likes to ball long balls. The German made 4.1 long balls per match.
What does he bring to Liverpool?
Benedikt Howedes has eight years of top-flight football experience behind him. His reading of the game is impeccable. The German’s concentration level is very high. He rarely lets the ball get past him. More importantly, his interception skills are very consistent. He gets to the ball before anyone else and plays short passes. Howedes helps his team to retain possession and is calm on the ball.
The Liverpool back line is very shaky. Last season, they conceded 42 goals in the Premier League alone and the problem has been persistent for way too long now. Their defenders look out of ideas against quick and creative teams who break with pace.
Only Joel Matip has looked capable enough to lead the Reds’ defence. Moreover, he will provide them a leader whom they can look up to. Since the departure of Jamie Carragher, Liverpool have lacked a genuine leader, on whom they can rely on difficult situations. At 29 years of age, Howedes can have an excellent opportunity to lift this Liverpool team out of their defensive turmoil.
Worth the money?
Virgil van Dijk’s departure from Southampton looks impossible at this point in time. The Saints are tough on their stance on retaining their player. So, the sensible thing would be to pursue good alternatives. Klopp can have an excellent alternative in Howedes who has played with Joel Matip already. And for £18m, he’s be an absolute steal.