Despite Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endō doing a very good job in the middle of the park this season, Liverpool FC continue to be linked with a long-term solution at the defensive midfielder position.
A new name has entered the fray, Genoa’s Morten Frendrup, by way of Liverpool ECHO’s Paul Gorst. He had this to say:
“The search for a long-term incumbent for the No.6 position at Anfield goes on, despite both Mac Allister and Endo operating there this term.”
“Genoa midfielder Morten Frendrup is one who is being monitored. The young Dane is enjoying a good season in Serie A although a deal is unlikely to be done in January as the scouts continue to assess the development of the 22-year-old defensive-minded midfielder.
“His non-homegrown status is considered a drawback at this stage.”
A quick glance at his highlight reels and numbers suggests why Liverpool might be interested and why he may not be a priority for the Reds. Frendrup appears to possess excellent defensive instincts — he’s not afraid to get stuck in, wins duels and makes plenty of interceptions. He seems to have an excellent gas tank that allows him to fly around in his half to halt attackers. The numbers suggest the same — he registers in the 99th percentile of tacklers in Europe, and could give Liverpool the physicality and ball recovery they need from the position.
However, Frendrup also registers in the 28th and 40th percentiles for passing accuracy and progressive carries this season, which... yikes.
So, if you’re hoping for a guy to come in and take over from Mac and Endō from the start of next season, Frendrup is not that guy. If we’re staying away from the likes of previously rumoured targets like Florentino Luis and João Palhinha because of their inability to contribute to Liverpool’s blend of high-possession and gegenpressing game through their passing, it seems rather unlikely we’ll be pursuing Frendrup hard. However, if Liverpool are open to a younger prospect, and they think Frendrup has flashed enough in passing and dribbling to develop into a two-way player, they could pick him up and stash him behind the incumbent DMs.
Gorst’s last line seems to suggest if they do opt for a younger diamond in the rough player, they would prefer a homegrown prospect. I don’t really see how they’re going to do that, since elite English defensive-midfield prospects don’t exactly grow on trees and will make any potential transfer more expensive. However, it seems that Liverpool is again open to both approaches of recruiting an elite, ready-made player or rolling with a promising player for the long term. Both are fine with me, and seeing how they. the summer willapproach this in.