English Wonderkid or Argentine Star: Who Can Resurrect Struggling Liverpool Side?

Liverpool have reportedly set their sights on Jude Bellingham and Enzo Fernandez as possible midfield reinforcements next summer.

Jude Bellingham, 19 and Enzo Fernandez, 21 have been among the breakout stars at the 2022 World Cup. Following their eye-catching displays for their respective nations at the biggest stage of the game, both the youngster’s stocks have seen a sensational rise. And with that has seen a host of top European clubs sit up and take notice.

According to Spanish outlet Mundo Deportivo, Liverpool want to remodel their midfield unit next summer and are closely monitoring both Borussia Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham and Benfica’s Enzo Fernandez.

Bellingham, one of Europe’s most sought-after young talents, was the standout performer for England at the World Cup. His all-action displays helped the Three Lions qualify for the quarter-finals, before Gareth Southgate’s team were beaten 2-1 by eventual runners-up France.

As far as Fernandez is concerned, the 21-year-old started his journey in Qatar as a substitute before forcing his way into Lionel Scaloni’s starting XI. Since starting against Poland in Argentina’s third group-stage fixture, Fernandez has not looked back and helped La Albiceleste to their 3rd World Cup trophy.

With Bellingham and Fernandez now firmly on the radar of Liverpool, who should Jurgen Klopp actually sign?

Jude Bellingham is incredibly only 19, but the Borussia Dortmund midfielder has an old head on young shoulders. The teenage sensation has been brilliant for Borussia Dortmund since arriving from Birmingham City in 2020 and was one of England’s best players at the World Cup as well.

Bellingham can play in a variety of roles across the midfield, but he is at his best as a box-to-box midfielder bursting forward and creating havoc in the final third. He has the composure, calmness and skill-set to blossom as an 8 in a three-man midfield for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

The 19-year-old also has the qualities to play as a creative 10 working close to the striker, exploiting half spaces in and around the box with his movement and vision. Not fazed by any challenges ahead of him, Bellingham is a special talent and it is understandable why he features highly in Klopp’s list of midfield reinforcements.

Enzo Fernandez, on the other hand, has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the last 18 months. After helping River Plate to the Primera Division crown in seven years, Fernandez joined Benfica in July for €10millon plus add-ons.

It was clear Benfica got an absolute bargain in the last transfer window and things have been proved with Fernandez picking up exactly where he left off—starring in Portugal and the Champions League to now at the World Cup in the Middle East.

Benfica’s rising star has been integral to Argentina’s progression to the World Cup final. He has been excellent as the single pivot, facilitating the play for La Albiceleste with his passing range, energy and defensive nous. Fernandez’s entry into the starting XI from the third group-stage game against Poland has given Argentina a semblance of control and balance in midfield, allowing the likes of De Paul and Alexis Mac Allister to be braver on the ball, surge forward and combine more with Lionel Messi.

In terms of style of play, Fernandez is way different from Bellingham. One is a deep-lying playmaker and the other is a hybrid of an 8 and 10. But going by Liverpool’s most pressing need in midfield, Fernandez’s profile matches more than that of Bellingham and the Argentina international’s addition could allow new patterns of play to evolve at Liverpool.

Fernandez is the midfield dynamo the Reds need right now, a player who could become the face of Klopp’s midfield revamp next summer. As both the players’ values have gone through the roof after the World Cup, signing the duo would be impossible. So, as things stand, Fernandez has to be Liverpool’s priority signing in 2023.

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