15 July 2024

Done Deal; Liverpool Boss Signing €25M England star tomorrow.

Liverpool has experienced a balance problem in the opening matches of the new Premier League season, but Reds-linked Piero Hincapié would address that issue

Piero Hincapié in action for Bayer Leverkusen.

Piero Hincapié has been linked with a transfer to Liverpool. (Image: Photo by Joris Verwijst/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Liverpool has played three matches in the Premier League so far this season, picking up a relatively healthy total of seven points from a possible nine despite facing both Chelsea and Newcastle United away from home. Jürgen Klopp’s men have experienced a positive start to the new campaign, but his players have showcased one recurring weakness on the field.


Simply put, Liverpool has lacked balance on the pitch so far, with the Anfield outfit perhaps leaning too much towards the attacking side of the game, and tipping the scales in the process. Klopp’s squad is essentially top-heavy and the German coach stated as much in his first conversation with new signing Wataru Endō last week.


“As soon as you are available, we really need you,” he said. “We really need you. Your heart and your legs and your football brain, we need it. We have a really good team. Ready to work, but very offensive.” Endō and his defensive-minded midfield presence will certainly help the concern, but Klopp needs more.


He is still having to field a group of 11 players who are essentially all interested in scoring goals or registering assists, perhaps with the exception of a select two or three names. Trent Alexander-Arnold, for example, has been used like an inverted full-back over the course of the past five months, but rather than doing the basics in the role, he’s essentially evolved into a quarterback of sorts.


New signings Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have performed well in the center of the park so far, but both of those players would have been regarded as creative playmakers around a decade ago. They are number eights for Liverpool, but in comparison to their peers, they are very attack-minded.


Andy Robertson is perhaps the best example of the current dilemma. The Scottish international has been required to play like a wide center-back since Alexander-Arnold started to drift towards the center circle at the beginning of April, even though he is renowned for his ability to get forward and overlap.


Robertson is attempting to change his game for the good of the system, but he is one of the primary reasons behind why Liverpool has lacked balance this term.


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The tactical concern perhaps explains why Klopp is interested in adding a left-footed defender to his ranks this summer, having initially tried and failed to attract Levi Colwill to Merseyside. The English center-back was tipped for a move to Anfield just a few weeks ago (ECHO), but he recently decided to sign a new contract with Chelsea.


It remains to be seen whether the Reds will acquire the services of a left-footed option before the closure of the window this week, but fresh rumors surrounding Piero Hincapié appear interesting. Liverpool is tracking the Ecuadorian at present, with German publication Bild suggesting that Bayer Leverkusen would demand around $76m (£60m/€70m) for his signature.


The Bundesliga starlet is currently playing under Xabi Alonso in Klopp’s homeland, and despite being just 21 years old, he already appears to be a very capable performer, establishing himself as a regular starter and one who is versatile enough to occupy different spaces on the pitch.


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What is perhaps most interesting about Hincapié is his ability to play as a left-back and as a left-sided center-back. Last term, he was deployed as a central defender on 24 occasions, and as a left-back on 12 occasions, showcasing his valuable profile as a hybrid defender who seems almost perfect for Klopp’s new-look system.


Since April, Liverpool has used two different shapes, with 4-3-3 favored on the defensive side of the game compared to 3-2-5 when the Reds are attacking with possession under control. Robertson is less suited to the new approach, but it seems ideal for a player in the mold of Hincapié.


If the South American was to be used for the role in question at Anfield, it is reasonable to suggest that he would aid Liverpool’s ongoing balancing act by almost establishing an equilibrium for Klopp’s men. Time is running out for the Reds to do business in the transfer market, but Hincapié could be the missing piece of the puzzle.

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