Liverpool continue to be linked with Adama Traore and the Spaniard could give the Reds the x-factor they have needed to take the next step
It has been a quiet summer transfer window at Liverpool, with Ibrahima Konate, the lone first-team addition. With just weeks to go before the window closes, the Reds could be about to make a late punt to add one of the league’s most dynamic players to their squad.
Adama Traore is a player who lacks consistency but is capable of tearing the best defensive setups to shreds on his day. Blessed with pace and athleticism, he will bring a much-needed directness to the Liverpool attack.
At the end of last season, Nuno Espirito Santo’s exit from Wolverhampton Wanderers brought down the curtains to the end of an era at the Molineux. Traore, who enjoyed a rather abject 2020/21 campaign, could be one of the players on his way out as the club seeks a new direction under Bruno Lage.
Wolves began their 2021/22 campaign with a 1-0 loss to Leicester City. Traore started the game on the left of a 4-3-3. He squandered a golden chance for his side and lacked cohesion with the players around him.
A change of scenery could do him good, and in Jurgen Klopp, Traore has a manager who is a fan of his attributes. The German was the man who turned Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah into marauding world-class stars and has also helped Diogo Jota go up a level.
Yet in Traore, he has a player who could be his best creation yet. A confluence of pace and power that when incorporated into the Liverpool system, gives new meaning to the words ‘organized chaos’. We now look at three ways that the German manager could use Traore’s abilities in his Liverpool setup.
The beaten path!
Primarily a right-winger, Traore has put up some of his best performances on the particular flank. While his movement and directness cannot be questioned, his final ball is often a hit or miss. However, playing him alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold could help both players level up, forming an annoying pair marauding down the flank.
Traore is a force of nature that cannot be left ignored. On his day, he can break through opposition backlines, leaving them in disarray. Putting his chaotic personality on the flank could open routes for Trent to overlap and make use of his pace and crossing ability.
Add to it his ability to combat in the air and dribble, and new avenues of attacking patterns could open up for the Reds frontline. Liverpool is adept at winning the second ball but often comes out second best on the first ball. Adama’s presence could now swing the pendulum in the Reds’ favour.
This will be good news for the Liverpool players who often love to spray the ball forward. Traore’s presence will give Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson and even Andrew Robertson a focal point to aim for. The prospect of Traore drawing in players to contest a header hence releasing Trent to race into space with the ball, could become a regular trend on the counter.
The wizard of chaos!
Liverpool’s style of play may seem chaotic at first for a casual watcher. But upon closer introspection, one sees patterns emerge and take shape. Patterns that have been perfected by spending long hours on the training field.
However, it has been figured out to make the frontline look damp and devoid of imagination. This was especially the case last season where both Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane were off their game. Add Traore into the mix, and a new avenue opens.
The Spaniard’s hold up play is atrocious, and his finishing leaves much to be desired. Where he excels is in making driving runs and drawing a foul or two in the process.
Deploying the 25-year-old as a second striker or a free number 10 could be what the Reds need. Not only will it help us carry the ball forward centrally but also draw fouls in good areas. This will give Trent, who is adept at set-pieces to have a crack at goal. More so, Traore has an excellent shot in him and could help pepper the opposition goal from a distance.
Not an easy player to mark, playing Traore centrally could see the opposition defence play a narrow line, opening avenues for Liverpool’s full-backs to exploit. With the Reds masters at interchanging possession on the flanks, it will make the attack more flexible and unpredictable.
Playing Henderson and Fabinho behind him will also free Traore from defensive duties, a well-known weakness in his game. The double-pivot alongside the Reds’ centre-back pairing will free up the remaining six players to overwhelm and overpower the opposition defences.
The battering ram!
Liverpool are not averse to throwing on a battering ram while chasing games. It was an approach that was predominant in Klopp’s first season at the club.
Central defender Steven Caulker was often thrown on as a forward while chasing games that would be akin to a battering ram. His physical prowess and aerial dominance were used to open the door for the more technical players around him to get to the ball in space.
None of this was more apparent than in our 5-4 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road. Adam Lallana pounced on the ball late on to give Liverpool the win deep into stoppage time.
Traore would certainly be an option to use in a similar capacity. Not only can he hold his own physically but also lay off the ball for the likes of Firmino Salah or Mane. The Spanish international is by no means a poor last throw of the dice. In the right environment, he could be a valuable asset while chasing a late goal.
Playing alongside better players at Liverpool could see Traore use his abilities to the maximum and even develop a level or two. While he may not be the most prolific player out there, he could pave the way for others around him to succeed.