Liverpool are in desperate need of midfield replacements and have identified Enzo Fernandez and Jude Bellingham as their probable options. Although, getting both (or either) seems unlikely. We take a look at their fit for LFC.
Certainly, Liverpool won’t sign both Enzo and Jude. Either player would be a fantastic signing, but which one is a better fit for Liverpool right now?
Enzo Fernandez: The Next-Gen DM
The Argentinian midfielder’s meteoric rise now continues in the Primeira Liga, where he consistently demonstrates his spectacularly high ceiling. Having spent his entire life in Argentina before joining Benfica in June, you’d think the young midfielder would need some time to adjust to his new surroundings in Europe.
Already, the Argentine is commanding his teammates, demonstrating his excellent communication skills, which are essential in a central-midfield role at the top of the game. He prefers to play centrally, but he can also be seen in the left half-space alongside his midfield teammate, Florentino Luis.
Fernández, who is equally effective in and out of possession, rarely moves too far forward into the attack. His quick thinking makes him a valuable asset in this area, and his 3 tackles + interceptions per game in league play demonstrate a disciplined mindset. This allows the midfielder to become a key destroyer in transitional moments while remaining in front of the back line. Above all, this has manifested itself in the UEFA Champions League, where Enzo has made 4.3 tackles per game in a group that includes PSG and Juventus. Attacking transitions rarely involve the 21-year-old. Despite the fact that he is frequently the one to initiate the move due to his ability to win possession.
But while Fernández holds his own in defensive phases, his key attributes exist in possession of the ball. He can make himself something of a ‘Deep-Lying Playmaker’. This season, the Benfica player has averaged 109.9 touches per game, with 1.8 key passes and a pass success rate of 90%. Enzo has completed more passes and long passes per 90 minutes than any other player in Portugal. He has also made 77% of long passes and nearly 82% of forward thrusts.
Jude Bellingham: The best thing since sliced bread?
Jude Bellingham is a box-to-box midfielder. The 18-year-old is capable of playing anywhere in midfield. Bellingham is free to gallop forward as he pleases in this type of 4-3-3 or 4-1-4-1 system. He can also seek space and take up goal-scoring positions. Bellingham is a visionary, imaginative final-third footballer with the ability to be both a capable goal-scorer and a capable chance-creator. This is evidenced by his 3 goals and 6 assists, for a goal + assists per 90 ratio of 0.5.
Bellingham excels in cramped quarters. Despite his lanky 6’1 frame, the ball sticks to his feet like glue. He doesn’t have the same flashy footwork, but he still draws the attention of multiple defenders at the same time. As a result, no Bundesliga player has drawn more fouls in 2021-22. (59). This season, the Englishman has also ghosted past 35 players in the league, which ranks ninth in the league. Without the ball at his feet, he has exceptional awareness of space, and he frequently adopts stellar positions in the attacking third to receive the ball in between the lines. Bellingham, who can play as a ‘ten,’ ‘eight,’ or even an inverted winger, understands how to rotate with his teammates.
He is one of the best midfielders in the top five leagues in terms of successful duels and percentage of successful duels. He has a 1.86 meters intimidating build both for dribbling and bumping into the opposition. Teams with faster but more direct play are less rigid in their positional play, which would complement Bellingham’s strengths. This ability to win duels, combined with a strong physique, makes him very versatile and a good fit for teams that apply a lot of individual pressure. But also for teams that let rivals play freely but then fill in the gaps left by the opposition.
Should Liverpool buy Enzo or Jude?
LFC should prioritize Jude Bellingham. He is a perfect fit for Klopp’s men as he has excellent qualities for high pressing, quick transition, and versatility. Liverpool is the perfect fit for him too. The Reds have been desperate for a Wijnaldum-type player since he left for PSG. The Reds should also think about how to replace captain Henderson and Milner. Bellingham will bring the same ‘box-to-box’ energetic running and off-the-ball intelligence as Henderson and Wijnaldum and will fit right into Jurgen Klopp’s system of play right away.
In contrast to Jude, Enzo is a better fit for a Real Madrid side. As his qualities are similar to that of Casemiro. Additionally, playing Enzo would necessitate dropping or replacing Fabinho. Additionally, the arrival of Enzo would mean a sudden shift in Liverpool’s balance.