Dominik Szoboszlai has been a revelation since his transfer from RB Leipzig, however not precisely within the position many anticipated when he arrived at Liverpool.
Dominik Szoboszlai is one of the best midfielder within the Premier League.
That assertion is totally open to query, particularly given his current disappointing efficiency at Kenilworth Highway.
What’s tougher to dispute is his contribution to Liverpool this season: most minutes performed between outfield gamers, most progressive passing, most shot-creating actions and most opponent passes blocked.
With out ‘effectively executed boys, good course of’ Liverpool could be unbeaten and second within the league. The 23-year-old is a giant a part of that.
The position of all-round midfielder was key to the summer season window drama, but few golf equipment had been prepared to solid Szoboszlai.
Gamers resembling Mason Mount, Moises Caicedo and Matheus Nunes, all of whom Liverpool additionally admired, had been way more coveted within the Premier League previous to their respective transfers.
What did Liverpool see in Szoboszlai? Why did so few others see it? And the way did it go so effectively?
Final season, Szoboszlai performed simply six p.c of his Bundesliga minutes in central midfield.
He was normally deployed out vast as a part of a 4-2-2-2 system, a hybrid attacking midfield/winger. He was additionally tried in a deeper midfield position for each membership and nation.
Up to now, a participant with Szoboszlai’s imaginative and prescient and technical high quality was reworked right into a playmaking quantity 10 who drifted out and in of video games however delivered large moments.
Some of these gamers are actually largely extinct as a result of velocity and physicality of the fashionable sport.
Nonetheless, when the Hungarian was put to the attention take a look at, it grew to become clear that he had the bodily instruments and work ethic to play extra of a box-to-box position.
This meant he may doubtlessly exhibit his high quality as a quantity 8 as he would at all times be concerned within the sport.
Once we have a look at Szoboszlai’s FBref figures from final season, which might have been a part of Liverpool’s scouting report, we see help for the proof of our eyes.
Not solely are his attacking numbers glorious, he additionally scores favorably in comparison with different attacking midfielders for defensive actions resembling tackles and blocks.
Clearly, Szoboszlai had all of the instruments at his disposal.
However having spent so little time taking advantage of these instruments, it took some inventive pondering to think about him as a No. 8 within the Premier League.
Whether or not it was Jurgen Klopp, Jorg Schmadtke or Jenny the scouting apprentice, somebody at Liverpool had the creativeness to see that Szoboszlai would slot in.
An excellent tactical match
After switching to the 3-box-3 formation final season, Liverpool grew to become extra compact defensively and Trent Alexander-Arnold had extra freedom to affect the sport from his new central place.
However to make this work, Liverpool’s midfielders took up extra superior positions, whereas the wingers stayed nearer to the touchline.
Curtis Jones supplied a number of targets on the left to compensate, however Mo Salah was remoted on the proper and Jordan Henderson supplied little finish product.
To maximise this technique, Liverpool wanted to recruit a superb attacking midfielder, who was snug in each central house and on the flanks.
He instantly supplied Salah an actual passing choice for him when he went vast.
However when the No. 11 desires to get into his optimum place in the proper half-space, he additionally has an overlapping runner to create house for him.
It is no shock that Salah leads Liverpool in each targets and assists with Szoboszlai alongside him.
Taking part in in a 4-3-3/3-box-3, versus the 4-2-2-2, additionally required Szoboszlai to convey his physicality to get again into the center throughout transitions and counter successfully.
This useful picture exhibits simply how adept he’s at retrieving the ball excessive up the pitch.
Szoboszlai’s adaptation to this place has given him a platform to shine and given Liverpool a significant system improve.
It is virtually simpler to explain what Szoboszlai is cannot do (get a nook kick previous the primary defender, thus far) than what he can do (just about the rest).
The primary glimpse he confirmed within the Premier League was the explosion of tempo at Stamford Bridge.
One blue shirt was left stretched out, the opposite, as Szoboszlai stepped into house on the proper and the touring Kop roared their approval.
Over the following few weeks we noticed candy toes to flee tight areas, crunching tackles, improbable long-range targets, delicate damaged passes and an unimaginable motor that appears to go on and on.
Because of his small toes and unorthodox coaching routine in his youth, Szoboszlai can nimbly get out of crowded areas.
However his highly effective 6-foot-4 body and lengthy strides permit him to cost previous opponents and exploit open house. He opened his account along with his left hand in opposition to Bournemouth earlier than unleashing a rocket along with his proper hand in opposition to Leicester.
Though Szoboszlai has only one purpose and two assists within the league this season, he’s on the high in relation to shot-creating actions. This means that his teammates may do higher along with his serve.
A key instance of this was his glorious run and cross to the again submit at Brighton, with Ryan Gravenberch conspiring to hit the crossbar quite than the gaping web.
In accordance with the info, he is among the finest midfielders within the league by way of passes blocked and passes, notably larger than quite a lot of different Liverpool targets which have moved elsewhere within the Premier League.
We additionally noticed that in opposition to Brighton.
Liverpool deployed some forwards to disrupt Brighton’s elite build-up play, and Szoboszlai stole the ball excessive earlier than successful the penalty that gave his aspect the lead.
After his least efficient efficiency but in opposition to Luton, Klopp highlighted the shortage of counter-pressing as the important thing to a disappointing end result – highlighting simply how vital Szoboszlai has been in opposition to the ball.
Excessive threat, excessive reward
Having proven only some flashes of brilliance within the Bundesliga, assembly Szoboszlai’s £60m launch clause appeared a threat for any membership.
However after figuring out the proper place for his abilities and linking him to a task of their system, Liverpool acted decisively.
The rewards are being reaped on the pitch week in and week out as Liverpool look to proceed their main switch window by topping the league by the tip of Might.