Liverpool: Milinkovic-Savic could be Klopp’s Gundogan 2.0

Liverpool are eyeing the Serbian conductor for a cut-price fee…

Liverpool have been handed a boost in their pursuit of Lazio phenom Sergej Milinkovic-Savic after his value has been slashed with just one year left on his current contract.

What’s the latest on Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Liverpool?
According to Italian outlet Calciomercato, the Serbian gem could be available for just €26m (£22m) this summer, amid mounting interest from Reds manager Jurgen Klopp.

James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have all played their final game for Liverpool and will depart Anfield, along with forward Roberto Firmino, at the conclusion of their contracts in a few weeks, and the 28-year-old Lazio star could be an astute addition to replenish the ranks.

Lazio will listen to offers and would rather sell him than allow him to depart for nothing in one year, especially given the Eagles have returned to the Champions League and are one match away from securing second place in Serie A.

Should Liverpool sign Sergej Milinkovic-Savic?
Milinkovic-Savic has enjoyed a blistering campaign and ostensibly been the centrepiece of Lazio’s seasonal success in returning to the Champions League after a two-year absence – on course for their highest finish since winning the Scudetto in 1999/00.

Indeed, as per Sofascore, the machine has scored nine goals and supplied eight assists from 35 Serie A matches this term, averaging 1.7 shots and 1.2 key passes per match and making 1.6 tackles and 1.3 clearances per game, earning an average rating of 7.16.

He has donned the captain’s armband on 14 occasions this season too, and could bring both leadership and attacking quality to Liverpool’s centre as Klopp seeks a resurgence to lift his outfit back to the forefront after the summer.

As such, he could be Klopp’s own version of Manchester City phenom Ilkay Gundogan, with the first-rate German midfielder among the creme de la creme on a global scale and imperative to the illustrious success of his team, having notably gleaned five Premier League titles and the FA Cup – also in the final of the latter competition again and the Champions League this season.

The 32-year-old actually used to play for Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, where they won two Bundesliga titles and the DFB Pokal together, which bodes well for Milinkovic-Savic, with the Reds’ German boss perhaps best fit to unlock the full scope of his skill set on Merseyside.

The £99k-per-week Serb, hailed as a “different beast” by journalist Sacha Pisani, ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for rate of non-penalty goals, the top 8% for rate of assists, the top 12% for touches in the attacking box and the top 2% for aerials won, illustrating his devastating box-crashing prowess as a progressive central force.

Gundogan, comparatively, ranks among the top 5% of positional peers for rate of non-penalty goals, the top 20% for rate of assists and the top 3% for touches in the attacking box, and it’s clear to see that both aces are superlative forward-thinking midfielders.

Klopp could unlock a “magic” new dimension – as he was dubbed by teammate Ciro Immobile – with the acquisition of Milinkovic-Savic, and must seek to emulate Pep Guardiola’s success with the Citizens by providing his team with a new midfield general to orchestrate a resurgence.