Liverpool have given Southampton a lot of money over recent seasons. However, when looking at the players Liverpool have got from the south coast side, Liverpool have had great success buying Southampton players. The Saints have over performed in the Premier League and are regularly in the top ten sides in the league.
Southampton Players Liverpool Could Poach Next
This season Southampton are struggling, flirting with relegation. It is easy to confuse league position with player quality. If a player is at a team doing poorly, he is obviously a poor player. However, there are so many examples which disprove this maxim that we need to disregard it.
Liverpool themselves have a history of plucking players from struggling teams only for them to become key members of the squad. Stéphane Henchoz, Javier Mascherano, and this season, Andrew Robertson are examples of this. All three came from teams who were relegated or almost relegated.
Therefore, Southampton’s poor season shouldn’t put Liverpool off looking at their side’s players to improve their squad. There are still quality players at St Mary’s. They may not all be good enough to challenge for a starting place but would add to the squad.
Liverpool’s current formation is heavily reliant upon full-backs, with demands placed on them to provide the team width. Having two quality options on each side is a must. Tottenham have shown the benefit of being able to rotate their full-backs. Liverpool need the same flexibility to freshen up the players in these roles.
Ryan Bertrand proved long ago that Brendan Rodgers was right to push to bring him to Anfield ahead of Alberto Moreno in 2014. Until this season, the form of the two left-backs were complete opposites. Bertrand provided a steady and assured presence in defence. In contrast, Moreno was a headless chicken that cost Liverpool games. The improvement in Moreno’s performances this season have made him a valuable member of the squad. Yet, Bertrand would be a great improvement on the Spaniard and would challenge Robertson for the starting role.
Bertrand is a full England international and will be hoping his consistent form will see him start for England at the World Cup. The Englishman has a lot of quality on the ball. He is able to deliver crosses into the box and would provide a good overlapping option from out wide. However, the strongest asset he would bring is his defensive stability. Bertrand is a defender first and foremost. Liverpool are too often caught out by teams taking advantage of the spaces left by the full-backs. Bertrand would help limit this exposure.
The only question over bringing in Bertrand would be cost. Manchester City have driven up the price of buying full-backs. Bertrand’s contract runs out in 2021 meaning that it would take a substantial offer to get Southampton to sell. Yet, if Liverpool want to continue improving the defence, he may well be worth the money.
Southampton signing Lemina came as a surprise to many. Lemina was a player who many other teams had looked at. On the periphery of the Juventus side, he struggled to find the best playing position. Lemina through his career has been played in almost every role, from centre-back to winger. At Southampton, being deployed as the defensive-midfielder, he has finally found his role.
Tall and wiry but with great pace he is able to cover large areas sweeping up opposition attacks. However, in contrast to other defensive-midfielders, he has top quality on the ball. He is able to play fast intricate passes in tight spaces and is confident enough to bring the ball forward. Lemina’s time as a central-defender has led to him being strong in the air, while his time on the wing means he can cross a ball. He has no significant weaknesses and would provide a combative midfield presence which Liverpool lack.
Other defensive midfielders have received more praise this year. Wilfred Ndidi at Leicester and Abdoulaye Doucoure at Watford have drawn a lot of attention. However, neither of them have the all-around game of Lemina. Southampton’s form has hidden the quality of his performances. However, how vital he has been to their season can be seen by the fact that Southampton have only collected four points in the seven games he hasn’t featured while twenty-three points in the twenty games he has. Recently, against Liverpool, he was arguably the best midfielder on the pitch until being forced off after 57 minutes. After his departure, Liverpool ripped Southampton to pieces.
Lemina has a great pedigree. Developed through the French system, he played until U21 for the French national team before selecting Gabon. This pedigree would mean that he wouldn’t come cheap. However, for a 24-year-old midfielder with the ability he has someone will be willing to pay the price. Liverpool should consider beating any other team to bring him in.
There are very few players in the world who could get into the front three of Liverpool. In Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohammed Salah, Liverpool have a potent attack. Yet behind them there is not just a lack of quality but a lack of players. Against West Ham it was Moreno, a left-back, who replaced Mane. Any injury to the front three would show just how weak Liverpool’s squad is in these areas.
Nathan Redmond is a player who could provide backup across three attacking roles. He is a fast direct and creative player. It feels like he has been around forever, yet he is still only 23. He has struggled this season under the demands of manager Mauricio Pellegrino. However, prior to the Argentinean manager taking over, he has proved his ability to score regularly in the Premier League both at Southampton and Norwich.
This would not be a signing to excite the fans. However, if it was in the right context, alongside another more developed attacking talent, he would provide a solid option. Redmond had his infamous moment with Pep Guardiola this season. Redmond had infuriated Guardiola as he could see the potential in the young Englishman. This is the key with Redmond, there is so much ability. Klopp is a manager who has been able to bring the best out of players. If he could unlock the full potential of Redmond, he could provide an excellent option from the bench.