Liverpool have begun the season on a positive note brushing away the oppositions with ease on most occasions and while the talk of a title run is believed to be far-fetched, the side is definitely in contention to qualify for the upcoming season of the UEFA Champions League. However, Jurgen Klopp is not content with the quality at his hand.
If reports from certain sections of the media are to be believed, the German is keen to pry away countryman and Bayer Leverkusen man Julian Brandt in a bid to further bolster his attacking options.
In this segment, we take a look at Brandt’s playing style, his strengths and weaknesses and where he would fit in at Anfield.
Born in Bremen, Germany on 2nd May 1996, Brandt joined his hometown side SC Borgfeld as a kid in 2001 and subsequently moved to FC Oberneuland in 2009. However, it was the move to the youth academy of VfL Wolfsburg, which yielded the desired results as the player soon caught the eye of numerous scouts across Europe and it was not long before Bayer Leverkusen decided to pay a fee believed to be in the region of £350,000 for acquiring the player’s services in 2013 and tied him down to a 6 year contract at the club.
Brandt made his debut on 12th February 2014 against Schalke 04 and has subsequently established himself as one of the mainstays of his club’s attacking unit, courtesy of the departure of Hueng-Min Son departure from the club and Brandt’s impressive performances.
Strength and Style of play
Brandt has been trained to play as a winger and occupies the left-wing on most occasions at the BayArena. However, he can also play as a playmaker and can be equally effective on the right-wing when he is deployed there. A player with quick feet, Brandt is fluid in his movement and is not an easy customer to dispossess off the ball.
The one aspect of his game that has caught the eye of many fans and critics alike is his blistering pace. Brandt, who has a strong physique, uses his pace and strength to a great extent in order to take on the opposition and beat them to get into advantageous positions on the pitch. Predominantly a right footed player, Brandt has shown a tendency to cut into his right from the left and wreck havoc in the opposition box with his pace well complemented by his skill on the ball.
In addition to his skill on the ball, the player has also showcased an ability to find the back of the net at a regular frequency for his club and is also a constant threat to the opposition as he has showcased an ability to create goal scoring opportunities for his teammates.
During his time at the BayArena, the player has scored 17 goals and assisted another 10, which is a healthy statistic for a player his age. However, the true impact of the attacking impetus he brings to the side can be understood if we could consider his role in his side’s goals via what is increasingly being referred to as the second assist or the third assist as the player has been responsible for splitting up the opposition to help his attacking colleagues get into attacking positions to finish off the moves.
In addition, despite being only 20 years the player has already featured in 99 competitive games for Leverkusen across all competitions and the extended game time has helped the player put in improved performances year after year and with him showing no dip in form, we see no reason why he should not continue to be in the side week after week.
We often come across players who have all the ingredients in their attacking department, yet come up short in their defensive contributions and Brandt is one such player. Brandt’s all attacking approach often means that his left-back is often required to mop up for the German and that has not entirely gone down well with the club’s fans as it has led to his side leaking goals from advantageous positions in the past.
He will need to work on his defensive approach to truly establish himself as a regular in the German national team and with time on his side, we believe these issues could be sorted to help the player develop into an all-round player.
Where does he fit in at Liverpool?
While the attacking three at Liverpool, Coutinho, Firmino and Mane have been in blistering form themselves, it would not hurt the club to have the requisite depth in the attacking department. While there have been many successful and remarkable wingers at the club, over the course of the recent times, the club has lacked quality wingers who give their managers an opportunity to tweak up the line-up and Brandt’s addition to the side will open up the required opportunities for Jurgen Klopp.
In addition, his versatility will help his manager cover numerous positions across the pitch, which is always a positive for managers.
Brandt is already acquainted with Klopp’s preferred tactic of gegen pressing as his current manager Roger Schmidt too adopts the same tactic at Leverkusen. His pace and intelligence on off the ball would prove invaluable to the club as Klopp seeks to establish a sustainable Liverpool unit which can eke out positive results, week after week.
A regular with the German youth sides across various age groups, Brandt is expected to be a constant feature in the German national team going forward and should Liverpool succeed in their efforts to pry the player away from Germany, they would be bringing one of the hottest talents in Europe to the English shores.
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