Its that time of the year again. The calendar has turned on another year which means the January transfer window is now open.
One name that has recently reappeared again after being linked in previous windows is RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner and he could be exactly what Liverpool need right now..
Changing formation leaves space for a new face
Last season Liverpool’s front three in a 4-3-3 were unmovable. Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino were the first names on the team sheet. There was no more room for any other attacking players.
But, with Liverpool hitting their stride this season in a 4-2-3-1, that leaves a space open for a new face.
This will only work if Jürgen Klopp fancy’s Salah back on the wing. A front four of Mané and Salah out wide, Firmino roaming in the ten and Werner up front would be outrageously deadly.
For several years now Werner had been one of the best finishers in Europe. Since his move to Leipzig just before their debut Bundesliga campaign he has tortured German defences.
The 2016/17 season saw him net 21 in the league and bag five assists. The next season saw both Werner and the club fail to replicate the success of their debut season. However, with 13 goals and seven assists, the striker still had a great campaign.
And so far this season, after 17 games Werner has already scored 11 goals and created a further two.
He has pace to burn and wouldn’t look out of place running alongside Salah or Mané on a counter attack.
Leipzig, just like Liverpool, like to counter-press and play with high intensity. That makes Werner ready-made for Klopp’s system. He is a pressing striker who doesn’t give defences a moment’s rest on the ball. He never stops working.
Comparing the stats
Werner’s off the ball defensive input isn’t too dissimilar to that of Liverpool’s current front three. The German has dispossessed an opponent 23 so far this season. Compared to Mané’s 24, Firmino’s 34 and Salah’s staggering 60.
He again comes close in interceptions with three compared to Salah’s four, Firmino’s five and Mané’s 11. Timo has 13 blocks, which is more than Salah’s seven, but bettered by Firmino and Mané with 22 and 18 respectively.
The Leipzig forward betters Salah in tackles won with six compared to the Egyptian’s five. He falls short of Firmino’s 13 and Mané’s 18.
Werner also favours admirably on the ball too. His 24% shot accuracy is the second best amongst the four, bettering Firmino’s 20% and Mané’s 21%, but just less than Salah’s 29%.
He has had 60 attempts compared to Mané’s 41, Firmino’s 46 and Salah’s 64. And of those attempts, Werner’s conversion rate is 9%, compared to Mané and Firmino’s 8%, and Salah’s 13%.
Although being the only out-in-out striker of the four players, Werner still fairs well in creating chances. Werner has created 17 chances so far this season, compared to Mané’s 21, Firmino’s 23 and Salah’s 43.
Werner’s total goal contributions of 13 so far this season in the league with 11 goals and two assists tops Mané’s nine, eight goals and one assist and Firmino’s 11, eight goals and three assists, but is surpassed by Salah’s 19, 13 goals and six assists.
And just like Liverpool’s current front three Werner is versatile, playing on the wings for both club and country on a number of occasions.
A move to Liverpool would also allow Wener to link up with former teammate Naby Keïta, whom he formed a great understanding with during their time in Germany.
Their partnership on the pitch was telepathic. They split open defences with Werner running in behind to get on the end of a Keïta pass.
During their two seasons together Keïta assisted six of Werner’s goals. Their wonderful partnership would flourish under Klopp’s style.
It’s clear that Werner would fit at Liverpool but is there a chance the move will actually happen?
Well if you listen to Klopp then a new arrival in January is very unlikely. But Klopp has many times in the past denied a transfer that would eventually end up actually happening so don’t take his word on this topic as gospel.
Currently, in a 4-2-3-1 Liverpool operate Firmino as a ten and Salah as the focal point. That leaves Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi as his understudies, with youngster Rhian Brewster waiting in the wings to break into the first team.
But with Sturridge and Origi’s future’s uncertain, and Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke shipped out in the last few months, then surely a new striker will be on his way. If it’s not this month then Klopp will 100% look to bring in a new frontman in the summer.
— LFC Transfer Room (@LFCTransferRoom) January 4, 2019
Werner’s contract is set to expire in 18 months and if he doesn’t commit his future to Leipzig then the club are keen to sell one of their most prized assets before he is available for free.
Again, if he doesn’t make the leave this month, then expect Werner to be on the move in the summer. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are said to also be interested in the German, but Leipzig might favour selling abroad as opposed to selling to direct rivals.
The possibility to work in one of the best attacks in Europe is surely a mouth-watering prospect for Werner. Liverpool have now reached a point in their development under Klopp were they can challenge Europe’s best clubs for the signature of the best talent in the world.
At just 22 years of age Werner is yet to reach his peak. Being in this Liverpool side will allow him the chance to reach his full potential playing alongside other world-class attackers.
He’s young, full of energy and has a deadly eye for goal, Werner on paper seems like the perfect Liverpool number nine and the club should do everything they can to bringing the striker to Merseyside in the near future.