Why Jadon Sancho could fit into Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool system
Jadon Sancho has been one of the best players in the Bundesliga this season. The 18-year-old England international has taken the Bundesliga by storm and is one of the key players for the Dortmund team challenging for both the Champions League and the Bundesliga.
Sancho signed his first senior professional contract with Dortmund in 2017 after the German club lured him from Manchester City for a fee of £8 million. Ever since his move to Germany, he has got the playing time he was craving and has been an inspiration for other English talents looking for moves to the Bundesliga.
Reiss Nelson is enjoying his loan spell at Hoffenheim from Arsenal, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is the latest youngster asking for a move to the Bundesliga.
Style of play
Sancho is a natural winger who possesses flair, skills, and blistering pace. He can play on both sides of the pitch, although he is more suited to the left side where he can cut inside to either shoot or create chances for his teammates.
The 18-year-old plays as a modern winger with an all rounded attacking play. He can run with the ball directly into the opposition box from wide as well as break the lines when he cuts inside to find the runs of his teammates. He has the vision and creativity to find the runs of his teammates with incisive through balls in-between players.
He likes to express himself more on the ball, and this makes him always try to do something with the ball, taking on defenders in 1 v 1 situations, and trying to run with the ball into space.
His style of play is closest to Neymar in the way he is composed and calm when in possession, and the fact that he likes to take on players. He also has a touch and flair uncharacteristic to English players, which makes him very good in tight spaces.
Lucien Favre has mostly used Sancho as one of three wide midfielders in his structured 4-2-3-1 formation. Sancho mostly plays on the right side of the three advanced midfielders in front of the double pivot consisting of Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney, and behind Paco Alcacer, the lone striker.
One of the strengths of the BVB team this season has been creating goalscoring chances from wide areas. This has come mostly as a result of the presence of wide players who are very good at creating chances.
Favre’s tactics have also aided in opening up spaces for wingers and creating overloads in wide areas - Dortmund's style of building from the back and drawing opposition players to their half before exploiting the spaces left behind has helped in the creation of overloads where the attacking players combine and pose a threat to the opposition.
In most cases, the attacking players find themselves in 2 v 1 situations when the opposing fullbacks press the ball high up the pitch. This has enabled them to get the best out of Sancho who can now have a lot of space and time to work on the ball.
Strengths and weaknesses
His end product which has been nothing short of excellent so far this season suggests that he has the potential to be one of the best wingers in the world. He has 16 goal involvements in just 20 games in the Bundesliga this season, scoring 6 and assisting 10. His ability to unlock defences is also shown by the fact that he has provided 1.9 key passes per game in 20 appearances.
Sancho’s decision making is also brilliant for an 18-year-old. He usually knows when to hold onto the ball & when to pass or shoot. His off the ball movement is also impressive, as he has the ability to anticipate the play before it happens.
Moving abroad at such a young age in search of regular game time, it is evident that Sancho has such a strong mentality. At the age of 14, he moved from London to Manchester in order to play for Manchester City, going away from his parents at such a young age.
The fact that he has made crucial decisions for his career and has shown his willingness to make difficult choices shows the maturity and the mentality of the 18-year-old.
Not much has been said about Sancho's return to England, but one team he will surely excel with in the Premier League is Liverpool. He has the set of skills the Liverpool coach demands from his wide players.
With blistering pace, positional awareness, close-footed dribbling, and directness in his attacking game, he would fit Jurgen Klopp’s style of play.