Opinion

Jorginho – what you need to know on a midfielder admired at Anfield

By his own admission, Jurgen Klopp is always looking.

Though his side are rooted in a battle for Champions League qualification – not to mention an eye on winning the competition itself come May – talk has already drifted towards potential summer incomings.

This Liverpool side are good. It could be even better. That improvement will not only come on the training pitch – Klopp’s preferred method – but also in the transfer market.

“Our situation is always the same, we really look (for players) all year,” Klopp said in January.

Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match between Liverpool and West Ham United
“So why should I stop now only because January 31 is nearly here?

“We do that all the time. Nothing has changed. The only thing is with one or two players we maybe have to make a decision is it for now or is it for the summer? That’s the only difference.

“But look, we are constantly looking, my iPad is full of players from all over the world. That’s what we do.”

It appears his iPad has fallen upon a number of possible new faces, with the belief Klopp will look to strengthen his midfield once more ahead of the new season.

Naby Keita will arrive from RB Leipzig, but a deeper-lying player – in Klopp-speak, a no.6 – could also arrive.

Reports have linked Liverpool with a move for Napoli man Jorginho, although they would surely face competition for the in-demand midfielder, given his performances in Serie A this season.

But what else do we know about the 26-year-old? Here is a brief run down of what he could bring to Anfield…

Where does he play?

He is a defensive midfielder in a traditional sense, operating at the base of Maurizio Sarri’s three-man midfield in the 4-3-3 set-up. All 26 of his appearances for the Gli Azzurri this season have come sitting in front of the back four.

What sort of player is he?

A defensive midfielder in the traditional sense – but with a touch of creativity about him, as well. He gets across the pitch quickly and shields the back four, averaging two successful tackles per game, but also steps forward and looks to operate in advanced areas against deep defences.

With 32 key passes this season, he is the most creative player outside of the club’s establishing attacking quartet (Lorenzo Insigne, Dries Mertens, Jose Callejon and Marek Hamsik).

Where would he fit in at Liverpool?

Competing with Jordan Henderson at the base of Klopp’s midfield would appear the safest bet. With the uncertainty over Emre Can’s future persisting, Jorginho would offer further options in that position.

Isn’t that what Naby Keita is for?

Naby Keita playing for Leipzig

They are two different players. Indeed, the pair would compliment each other in a new-look midfield at Anfield. With Jorginho sitting and Keita able to move box-to-box, the tandem would provide both defensive stability and attacking thrust from deeper.

Is there anything else we should know?

He takes penalties – scoring four of them so far this season.

What’s his pedigree?

It’s hard to argue with. Beginning with Hellas Verona as a teenager, he has been a regular for the Serie A giants in his five seasons in southern Italy, helping the club to third and second in the past two seasons.

He’s also featured in both the Champions League and Europa League, and has also lifted the Italian Cup.

Would he fit in at Liverpool?

There are no guarantees but Napoli’s style of play possesses similarities to that of Liverpool. They press high and counter with both speed and intricacy, with Jorginho tasked with both supplying the front three with his ranging balls, as well as being one of the last lines of defence when repelling the opposition.

In the past, the Reds have been criticised for being too open and allowing the game to become too stretched.

Though Jorginho would have to adapt to Klopp’s demands, he is used to seeing his full backs moving up the pitch and leaving him exposed, with an emphasis on moving from side-to-side to halt attacks.

That he averages both 1.5 interceptions and 1.5 dribbles per game suggests he would be the sort of player who could thrive in Klopp’s system.

He’s also helping put Napoli on the verge of ending their 28-year wait for a top-flight title.

Would he come to Anfield?

His agent certainly thinks his client could leave the San Paolo, though Liverpool would not be the only interested parties.

Speaking to Italian radio, his advisor Joao Santos was predictably non-committal.

“He has been there for four years now and feels Neapolitan,” he said. “It’s an issue of mentality, it’s a family at Napoli and they all play for each other.

“Right now everyone is concentrated on the Scudetto – an objective they’ve been missing for 30 years.

“I think we’ll discuss a renewal at the end of the season, as it’s not the moment to talk about that, because he still has a long contract.

“He wants to stay, although we’ll have to see if Napoli agree with that.

“If a player like Torreira arrives from Sampdoria, then that will require an important investment and Jorginho could be sacrificed to make way.

“I think they’d rather sell Jorginho than Amadou Diawara, who is younger.”

Time to dust off the Brazilian shirts again, then?

Not quite. Though born in the southern city of Imbituba, Jorginho is now an Italian passport holder – and international, with three caps to his name – because of his grandparents.

Comments
To Top