Liverpool could be set to move for Atletico Madrid’s Marcos Llorente, according to reports from Spain.
The legendary Spanish club are in dire straits after a calamitous Champions League campaign this year that saw them finish rock bottom of their group.
In the report by Fichajes.net, it’s stated that Atletico are under pressure to sell some of their assets to quell the economic pressure that comes with no financial incomings from European Football.
Indeed, it’s an uncharacteristically vulnerable position for Diego Simeone’s club to be in, but one that opens up a host of potential opportunities for the myriad of clubs within Europe’s elite circles – one such club being Liverpool.
Also in the report, it’s claimed that Jurgen Klopp has asked his club to exert an ‘economic effort’ in order to bring in the Spanish midfielder next summer.
Liverpool’s struggles this season have been well documented, and injuries have been a factor in this, midfielders Jordan Henderson and Naby Keita have both suffered varying hamstring issues this season, with the latter having not been seen since the Community Shield match against Manchester City.
This would lead one to suspect that Klopp is keen on bolstering his midfield, an area that has been prone to injury as well as being populated by ageing players, for example, James Milner – who is 36.
Llorente is shades of Milner
Liverpool’s ‘Mr Reliable’ has been at the club since 2015, and since then has made a total of 307 appearances for the Reds.
An experienced head with a glowing injury record, the versatile engine has rarely been out for extended periods – being unavailable for less than 40 games in the span of eight years, which is a testament to his professionalism and dedication to looking after his body.
It could be postulated then that Klopp may see Atletico’s 27-year-old as a sort of regeneration of Milner.
One natural comparison to be made is the fact that both players have been asked to play a host of positions in their careers – including central midfield, on the wings and at full-back.
This quality of being versatile is an endearing one, particularly to Liverpool’s manager, who demands so much from every player both physically and mentally – perhaps not too dissimilar to Diego Simeone’s fiery intensity in Madrid.
Playing a variety of positions this campaign, Llorente has made nine appearances and picked up a goal. Last year this number was 40, and the year before that 45 – highlighting that there is a level of consistency to the availability of the versatile Spaniard.
The former Real Madrid man has a keen defensive instinct, ranking in the top 13% for clearances as opposed to his oppositional peers, and also ranked in the top 30% for progressive passes received (via FBref).
Perhaps most alluring though, is the midfield maestro’s injury record, or lack of one for better words. During his time at Atletico, he’s missed just ten games according to Transfermarkt – a quality akin to Milner and one that would charm Klopp.
The biggest compliment that can be given to the midfielder comes from his manager though:
“He was always training well, without protesting or having a bad attitude after being left out a lot of times. In the end, the people who work are always rewarded.
“He gives us a more important footballer in the team.”
These were quotes from just after the versatile ace managed to score twice against Liverpool in the Champions League – highlighting a level of professionalism that every manager dreams of, and one we’ve seen countless times with Milner over the years.
Overall, this potential transfer could be a match made in heaven for Liverpool and could be great value for money with the midfielder being valued at just £36m on Transfermarkt.
In conclusion, Anfield could potentially be gaining an experienced player with all the right temperaments to oversee what’s likely to be a new-look midfield come next year – and perhaps even a long-term replacement for club legend Milner.