Liverpool fans waited 16 days just to see the Reds embarrass themselves against a side two points clear of relegation. A side that today would have been in the bottom three had Liverpool done what everyone expected them to do. It wasn’t a good performance by any measure.
Liverpool fans waited 16 days for their chance to get back into the top four and instead today know that if Manchester United win their game in hand, they will end up in sixth. A return to the Champions League looks less likely today, and missing Europe entirely a little more plausible.
On the plus side, the club took the chance to announce following the match that they had appointed a new CEO to replace the departing Ian Ayre. And that the new CEO is Peter Moore, best known for spending the past decade running Electronic Arts, makers of FIFA.
For years, football fans have taken to looking for an excuse to scout using FIFA. Liverpool fans may have had to suffer through the continuing implosion that is their 2016-17 Premier League season last night, but they wake this morning with an excuse, more than any other fanbase, to now do just that.
So. Who should Liverpool’s targets be now that the man who used to make FIFA is running the show? We went and asked FIFA…
Jonathan Tah and Niklas Süle are clearly top talents and two of the best young defenders in FIFA, but what’s the fun in players everyone agrees are top talents if you’re FIFA scouting when you can pull a 17-year old from OGC Nice with 88 potential? Plus there’s the bit where convincing them to sign with Liverpool if the Reds continue to implode and don’t finish in the top four would be difficult.
Which brings us to Sarr. The France U18 international is a little short for a defender, under six feet in fact, but he’s powerful and has solid technique. At least according to FIFA, who often leave smoking craters for their defenders’ technical skills but have given the young defender here 70+ long and short passing. In fact, Sarr is 70+ already nearly across the board. Agility, reactions, jumping, strength, speed, tackling, interceptions, composure. He just might be the gem of young FIFA defenders. So he’s totally signing for Liverpool in the summer.
Theo Hernandez, an 18-year-old plying his trade with Deportivo Alaves, is the pick of the young left backs in the game. He’s also an Atletico Madrid loanee and in real life they are unlikely to sell. That leaves Benfica’s Alejandro Grimaldo Garcia—or just Grimaldo—as the obvious target. The former Barca youth maxes out at 87, high for a fullback, and already has stats that make him ready to start for Liverpool should James Milner’s form continue to meander between middling and poor the rest of the season.
He’s got 85+ speed and agility, 80+ dribbling and stamina, 75+ crossing and ball control. He’s also got 70+ for all his defensive stats, suggesting he’s not just an attacking marvel. Plus he’s got plenty of room to grow and he’s at a club that would mean even a Liverpool out of Europe would be a step up. Honestly, when you look at it like that, how have Liverpool not signed him already?
He’s 18 years old? Check. Plays for Napoli as a sub and would see England as a step up? Check. Could be Liverpool’s future in the six? Also check. The young Guinean is a rising midfield star according to FIFA, and the youngest holding specialist projected to reach an 86 or higher rating. FIFA don’t think he’s great at long shots, so he wouldn’t be getting many goals from distance, but his aggression and defensive skills are already solid, and he’s got 75+ for almost all his physical skills and is a highly talented passer.
So Liverpool probably aren’t getting Kylian Mbappé, who’s a little like Tah and Süle minus the part where he’s been linked to the club before. Next to Mbappé, three of the other top four teenage talents are already at the Manchester clubs. Who might Liverpool get to aid the attack if they’re buying based on FIFA, then? It just so happens that next on the game’s list of promising youngsters is Ajax rising star Kasper Dolberg, who Jürgen Klopp recently identified as one of the game’s top young players. So. Sounds like a match.
It doesn’t hurt that Dolberg has solid physical and technical skills along with a lot of room to grow. He’s Philippe Coutinho in a more striking package, and both Klopp and FIFA seem to be on the same page, so a custom Liverpool shirt with his name on it would probably be a good investment.