The January transfer window slams shut in just over a week and Liverpool are yet to make a single senior addition to their playing squad at the time of writing.
Jurgen Klopp does not appear to be in desperate need of any signings to bolster his side as the Reds are currently top of the Premier League table after 20 matches – two points ahead of Manchester City in second.
They could extend that lead to five points, albeit with one more match played than their rivals, with a win over Bournemouth later today at the Vitality Stadium.
Klopp was a busy man during the summer transfer window as the midfield underwent an overhaul with the likes of Jordan Henderson, James Milner, Fabinho, and Naby Keita, among others, moving on.
They were replaced by Wataru Endo, Ryan Gravenberch, Dominik Szoboszlai, and Alexis Mac Allister but Liverpool are yet to sign a nailed-on heir to Fabinho’s position as a holding midfielder.
Liverpool’s search for a defensive midfielder
It was recently reported by La Gazzetta dello Sport, as relayed by TEAMtalk, that the Reds are one of the clubs interested in a deal to sign Atalanta ace Ederson.
Fellow Premier League side Newcastle United were also mentioned as the other outfit eyeing up a swoop for the Brazilian enforcer, although there is no mention of whether they are looking to sign the talented gem this month or in the summer transfer window.
However, the outlet also stated that Juventus are ready to go all out to sign Dutch midfielder Teun Koopmeiners at the end of the season and this could affect Liverpool’s pursuit of Ederson.
Atalanta are said to be reluctant to cash in on both of their midfield stars and this means that the Reds could need to rush to secure a deal for their man before the Old Lady are able to snap up the Netherlands international.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Manchester United and Barcelona are also interested in Ederson and that the Italian side would be prepared to part ways with him if they received an offer within the region of £35m.
It now remains to be seen whether or not Liverpool are prepared to pay £35m to sign the impressive youngster this month, or if they will wait and test their luck in the summer.
If FSG do sanction a deal for the 24-year-old battler then they could finally replace Fabinho for Klopp as the right-footed ace is a superb combative midfielder who can win possession back for his side at an impressive rate whilst also being progressive on the ball.
Fabinho’s importance to Liverpool
At his best, the Brazil international was outstanding at the base of Liverpool’s midfield as a ball-winning expert who contributed in and out of possession.
During the 2019/20 title-winning campaign in the Premier League, Fabinho played in 28 of the club’s 38 matches and caught the eye with 3.4 tackles and interceptions per game.
In fact, he ranked within the top 15% of midfielders in the division for tackles (2.68) per 90 that season, which shows that he was one of the best in his position when it came to cutting out opposition attacks by putting his foot in to win the ball.
The former Monaco ace also ranked within the top 31% of his positional peers for progressive passes (5.58) per 90 and this suggests that Fabinho also provided quality in possession to progress his side up the pitch to find the likes of Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane in dangerous positions in the final third.
Last season, the now-Al-Ittihad gem played in 36 of Liverpool’s 38 Premier League games and made 2.8 tackles and interceptions per match.
Liverpool could pay crazy price for “world-class” £100m Fabinho heir
Jurgen Klopp would land the perfect midfielder by completing this audacious swoop.
This shows that he was not as effective as a defender as the towering titan was at the peak of his powers but Fabinho remained a reliable player in possession with a pass success rate of 89% for Klopp in the middle of the park.
FSG could now finally replace the Brazilian battler, who departed last summer, by securing a deal for his compatriot – Ederson – either this month or at the end of the season.
The stats that show why Ederson could replace Fabinho
The Atalanta star has been in sublime form for the Italian club this season and has showcased his abilities in and out of possession as a number six.
He is an outstanding contributor defensively in the Serie A and has the quality on the ball to be a valuable asset for Liverpool at the other end of the pitch.
Ederson has averaged 3.9 tackles and interceptions combined and 5.6 ball recoveries per game across 20 league outings for Atalanta, whilst only being dribbled past 0.5 times per match.
Meanwhile, no Liverpool midfielder has managed more than 3.2 tackles and interceptions per outing in the Premier League so far this season.
The 24-year-old dynamo ranks within the top 12% of Serie A midfielders or higher this season for tackles (2.71) and interceptions (1.46) per 90.
These statistics show that he is one of the most prolific players in the division when it comes to winning possession back for his side, which suggests that the £35m-rated talent could be a terrific defensive midfielder for the Reds due to his ability to cut out opposition attacks on a regular basis.
Ederson also has the quality to make a difference at the top end of the pitch for Atalanta, as you can see by his performance in several key attacking metrics below.
Ederson vs midfielders (via FBref)
23/24 Serie A (per 90)
Non-penalty goals (0.27)
Shot-creating actions (2.54)
Progressive passes (6.71)
Successful take-ons (0.87)
He has been an above average performer when it comes to finding the back of the net and progressing the play from a defensive midfield position.
Ederson, who was hailed as “fun” to watch by U23 scout Antonio Mango, has the ability to mix sublime defensive work with impressive contributions on the ball, which is why he is a complete midfielder.
He also has time and room to improve at the age of 24 and could come in as a long-term addition to Liverpool’s squad to be their starting defensive midfielder for many more years to come – finally replacing Fabinho at the heart of the midfield – if FSG secure his services.