Liverpool are nowAi??in pole position to sign Greece defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos. The Schalke defender currently on loan at Bayer Leverkusen is ready to move abroad and has been watched by Liverpool scouts for two seasons.

Bayer Leverkusen were actually interested in making the loan deal permanent for the centre back and have already made a A?4.4million offer, but reports say he would prefer to move abroad and with Liverpool’s long term interest and England a glamorous option for many, the Reds are in a favorable spot for his services.

Papadopoulos started his senior career at Olympiacos, where he spent three seasons, but made just 19 appearances in the time. In June 2010, German side Schalke came in for him and secured his services on a four year deal. He had a successful start to life in Germany and slowly established himself as an integral member of the side.Ai??His good performances, especially given he was only 19 at the time, got him interest from other clubs, notably AC Milan. His next two seasons were unfortunate as he missed them largely through injury making only 21 appearances in all in both the seasons.Ai??The new injury caused him to miss the World Cup in Brazil. Ahead of the 2014-15 season, he was loaned out to Bayer Leverkusen. He got off to a good start with the club but his injury problems came back to haunt him and he suffered an injuryAi??in the final training session ahead of his side’s Champions League match at Zenit St Petersburg in November. This made him miss over two months of footballing action, but it could have been worse since many feared he will miss the entire season. He returned to the side in February and has done well since.

Papadopoulos is a good defender who is hugely experienced at both the domestic as well as European stage despite only being 23. If he comes to Liverpool, he will add the much needed experience in a very young side despite being similarly young like the rest. His defending skills are undoubted and the playerAi??has averaged 2.6 tackles and 2.7 interceptions per game, as well as an average of 4.9 clearances. No Liverpool player has done the same. He can both play at the back and as a defensive midfielder, something that must have attracted Brendan Rodgers given his love for “multi functional” players.Ai??He is quick, strong and comfortable with the ball. His biggest weakness is obviously his injury history. Why would Liverpool want a player who has suffered 12 injuries, keeping him out of action for a total of 592 days, missing 90 games and could be out for large chunks of the seasons even now. But if the Reds can manage his injuries and ensure the player stays fit, the investment would make sense. His other weakness is his discipline.Ai??At Schalke the supporters describe him as “verrA?ckt” ai??i?? crazy ai??i?? as the player has some reputation for bust-ups. Do Liverpool want another Mario Balotelli? Brendan Rodgers likes to take projects and make them successful but this might prove to be a big risk.

To sum up, if the Reds can get past these two big drawbacks of his game, they will land a potentially world-class defender for a very small sum. “Papa”, as he is known, will be a very solid addition to the back-line which has been porous on many occasions this season. Moreover, Emre Can is not a defender and is slotting in because he is most effective in that position. The arrival of the Greek international will mean Can will play in his favored midfielder position. This transfer comes with a risk, but if it pays off, it will be one of Liverpool’s most astute signings in recent times.

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