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Rumour Mongering: Reds Linked with Bundesliga Winger

Those clamouring for width and pace should be salivating at the prospect of Leverkusen's wide man Karim Bellarabi joining the club.

Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Most managers have certain properties associated with them wherever they travel, both regarding their personalities and their playing styles. Jose Mourinho fosters a siege mentality and cynical football that wins. Diego Simeone is a father figure and defensive mastermind. Pep Guardiola is obsessive about the game to the exclusion of most other matters and craves attractive football played by world-class talent. Tony Pulis is a baseball cap with a long-ball fetish. And so on.

In Jürgen Klopp's case, his teams have often been characterised, among other things, by their pacey wide play. Jakub Błaszczykowski, Kevin Großkreutz and Jonas Hofmann consistently provided the Normal One with direct attacking play from the wide areas, perfectly suited to the counter attacks launched from his gegenpressing approach. This particular ingredient has been sorely missing from Liverpool's squad this year, with Jordon Ibe the only natural wide attacker available. With the youngster struggling to put his stamp on matches when given the opportunity, this has tended to leave the Reds with too many players in the central areas when they break forward, making the job much too easy for opposition defenders.

Karim Bellarabi is reportedly touted as a solution to this issue. After producing 12 goals and 6 assists in the Bundesliga last year, while completing more dribbles than any other player in Europe, the German winger has had a harder time this season, with league play yielding a meagre 2 goals and 3 assists. He still skins fullbacks on a regular basis, and, playing in Roger Schmidt's wildly entertaining counterpressing system, covers a ton of ground defensively, pressing, harrying and tackling with much gusto.

No transfer fee has been suggested for the German international, but with Inter Milan supposedly sniffing around, and his contract running until 2020, a sum in the proximity of €15-20m seems realistic. Whether Bellarabi would be worth that much depends on the likelihood of Klopp elevating his game to the levels of last year. If that were to happen, Liverpool would be in possession of an explosive attacking talent at a position of need entering his prime. Which wouldn't be too bad.

Look out! Goals and stuff!

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