Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Liverpool Could Replace Matip With Exciting Youngster

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Liverpool have been a shadow of their former selves this season and summer alterations are paramount if a return to silverware is to be forthcoming.

Widespread reports have linked the Reds to a plethora of midfield options, with the centre of the park in dire need of repairs and James Milner, Naby Keita, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all out of contract this summer.

Up front, the need for reinforcements is not so great; despite losing revered forward Sadio Mane to Bayern Munich last summer and the news that Roberto Firmino will not be renewing his contract at season’s end, the seasonal acquisitions of Darwin Nunez and more recently Cody Gakpo have eased concerns over the club’s offensive firepower.


However, the defence does need some work, with the 42 league goals shipped this term the joint-highest of any campaign under Klopp’s wing, and with four matches left to play.

To compound the fears that Virgil van Dijk and his defensive confrère have not been at the races, the 5-2 Anfield humiliation against Real Madrid in the Champions League sits fresh in memory, and Klopp would be wise to address his back-line before setting sights on domestic and continental glory once again.

While new signings are paramount, Klopp would be wise to remember the recent success of investing in youth, and as such must provide centre-back Lee Jonas with chances to impress among the seniors next term.

Who is Lee Jonas?

Jonas is an 18-year-old defender and an integral part of Liverpool’s academy set-up, hailed as ‘talented’ and ‘committed’ by Liverpoolfc.com.

Despite his tender age, Jonas is a regular presence with Barry Lewtas’ U21 outfit and penned a new deal with the club in October 2022, with the club heralding him as ‘good on the ball and strong in the air’.

Having captained England U18s, the centre-half – who can also put in a shift at right-back – has been edging closer to prominence and a shot alongside Klopp’s seniors.

A seasoned veteran of the youth game already, Jonas has made 62 appearances for Liverpool’s respective youth sides, scoring five goals and four assists, and has been dubbed “brilliant at the back” by LFC youth reporter Keifer MacDonald for one noteworthy display in the UEFA Youth League earlier this term.

Indeed, it is this season that Jonas has started to exhibit signs that he is a player destined for top-flight football, playing 30 times for the U21s with an assurance that belies his years and collecting two assists, with Andy Jones recognising his “impressive” aura.

Should he continue to make the required improvements to his game, it could spell disaster for 31-year-old centre-back Joel Matip, who has been criticised for his subpar performances this year, branded “awful” by CBS reporter Nico Cantor for displays bearing no semblance to the formerly imperious showings.

Having been shackled to the bench for 11 of the past 16 Premier League outings, the 6 foot 5 colossus looks resigned to a peripheral future at Anfield, and if he is to leave this summer it would only enrich the soil at Jonas’ feet as he seeks clarity over his own future on Merseyside.



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