‘Three dirty points’ satisfy Klopp as Liverpool beat Atleti
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Liverpool might have made a transfer mistake by not signing Jude Bellingham in the summer – but they can look to rectify it next summer. The Reds have lacked a midfielder able to contribute goals and assists since Philippe Coutinho’s departure, and Bellingham might be the player to finally replace the Brazilian.
Jurgen Klopp lost one of his most reliable midfield players during the summer. Gini Wijnaldum opted to join Paris Saint-Germain after his contract expired at the end of June.
In public, Klopp insisted that he did not need another midfielder. The promotion of Harvey Elliott to his first team was, in his opinion, enough to justify the lack of a new signing.
“If there’s an area we have on the pitch where we have all the different skill sets, dynamic, creativity, defensive-orientated, offensive-orientated, all these kind of things – there is no gap,” the German said a few days before the summer transfer window ended.
“It’s not that we have to bring in another one. We have players here with great skills and last weekend doesn’t mean Harvey (Elliott) is the saviour of our midfield problem because we don’t have one.”
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He added: “There is no need just to buy a midfielder because somebody is on the market. I cannot help the supporters who want us to sign a player just to get somebody in.”
But that was before Elliott devastatingly suffered a dislocated ankle against Leeds United last month.
Liverpool have since looked even lighter in midfield and might regret not prompting a huge transfer bid for Bellingham, who has starred in the Bundesliga this season.
The 18-year-old had an incredible summer, becoming the youngest player to feature at a European Championship – still aged 17 when he played for England against Croatia.
His record was broken just a few days later but he has continued to impress.
A stunning goal for Borussia Dortmund against Arminia Bielefeld was his third goal in 14 appearances this season. The teenager also has six assists.
It is the kind of numbers that Coutinho used to put up for Liverpool and the quick footwork for his solo strike was hardly dissimilar to the diminutive Brazilian.
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Bellingham collected the ball on the left-hand side of the penalty area before feigning to shoot, taking him beyond one defender.
He then dribbled at speed into the penalty area and chopped beyond a further two players. A dinked finish over the onrushing goalkeeper capped a fine goal.
Liverpool have lacked goals from midfield since Coutinho’s departure. The scoring burden has generally been played upon their famous front three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.
Last term, Curtis Jones was the highest scoring midfielder at the club in all competitions. The academy graduate struck just four times.
Wijnaldum registered three goals while Jordan Henderson, Marko Grujic and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored one each.
If he continues his scoring form for Dortmund, Liverpool might wonder why they failed to sign Bellingham.
Perhaps they’ll look to sign the young midfielder in the summer of 2022.
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