Liverpool’s draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday afternoon emphasised this season’s rekindled cohesion and resilience, with Jurgen Klopp manufacturing a budding title bid in the Premier League after missing out on Champions League football last year.
Saturday’s dropped points paved the way for Arsenal to leapfrog both Liverpool and Pep Guardiola’s treble winners into pole position, but at this stage, such frivolous details matter not at this stage.
Liverpool are third-placed and two points off the top, with the overall squad performance levels above last year’s dingy travails, where a malfunctioning engine room required a complete overhaul.
While there is still work to be done, the Reds are in a fantastic place and will now look to sustain this new-look squad’s efforts beyond the new year, but to do so, it’s paramount that moves are made in January.
The winter transfer market is notoriously difficult to conquer, with clubs demanding exorbitant figures for key personnel as everyone battles within the campaign’s din to break free and cement a position of power.
Liverpool transfer news – Lucas Beraldo
While Liverpool will need to work hard to secure the right signature, recent reports suggest that Klopp and co have identified an astute deal just waiting to happen, with São Paulo defender Lucas Beraldo on the radar.
Indeed, according to UOL journalist Rafael Reis, Liverpool are tuned to the 20-year-old’s development and are considering a swoop in January.
Reports from earlier in November also reveal that Liverpool sent scouts to observe the prospect in action, with the winter transfer window viewed as the right time to seal the deal for the £20m-rated ace.
Fabrizio Romano has also previously acknowledged Liverpool’s interest, though the respected journalist did question whether a move would be good for him at this stage of his career when game time might not come regularly at a stadium such as Anfield.
Lucas Beraldo’s style of play
Beraldo has been excellent in the Brasileiro Serie A this season and has now completed 21 matches as the campaign nears its culmination, with his skills very much on show in his homeland.
Indeed, Beraldo has completed 89% of his passes, averaged six ball recoveries and 3.4 clearances per game and succeeded with 58% of his contested duels, leading talent scout Jacek Kulig to release a glowing endorsement of his style via Twitter.
Having won the 2023 Copa do Brasil (the Brazilian equivalent of the FA Cup) this term too, he’s already developed a hunger for silverware that could serve Klopp’s side very well indeed, with the pursuit of prominence very much on.
As per FBref, the talented centre-half ranks among the top 9% of positional peers across divisions similar to the Brasileiro Serie A for pass completion and the top 5% for passes attempted and progressive passes per 90, highlighting his natural ball-playing ability.
Beraldo vs Liverpool centre-backs: Progressing Passing
PrgP per 90
Virgil van Dijk
*Sourced via FBref
His aptitude in distribution is perfect for Liverpool, with the early signs promising for a player making penetrative passes with greater regularity than all of Liverpool’s current central defensive options barring Ibrahima Konate.
This is exactly why the Liverpool bosses will be so eager to get their hands on the Brazil starlet, and while Romano might question whether a transfer to Merseyside would be appropriate at this time, there’s little question regarding the suitability for Klopp’s system.
The player’s scope for development and current ability perhaps not leaving him ready for a regular starting berth in Klopp’s starting lineup should actually be flipped around and viewed positively, increasing the depth as the team competes across multiple different fronts.
Why Liverpool should sign Beraldo over Inacio
Falling back on that earlier point of the winter transfer market proving difficult to secure top targets, Liverpool may well find that Sporting Lisbon centre-back Goncalo Inacio’s signature proves unattainable, given the €60m (£52m) release clause that stands in the way of an agreement.
TEAMtalk reported recently that Liverpool are set to revisit their intrigue in the Portuguese star after failing to make progress in the summer, and while the 22-year-old is a fantastic, modern player, Beraldo might be the better option at this stage.
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Portraying the qualities that would make Inacio such a good fit for the Reds, BBC Sport analyst Raj Chohan said: “Gonçalo Inácio is the perfect counter-weight to Konaté. Inacio-VVD-Konaté: Build-up conductor. Leader/aerial dominator/switches of play. Immense recovery speed & coverage of space.”
It’s certainly accurate praise, with Inacio ranking among the top 5% of centre-backs across divisions similar to the Liga Portugal for assists, the top 4% for shot-creating actions and the top 1% for passes attempted and progressive passes per 90, but he would expect to receive a central role under Klopp’s wing and this might not be feasible.
Couple that with the required outlay and it’s certainly tempting to put the interest back in the folder and move for Beraldo, who can be moulded to Klopp’s own creation while not expecting to oust the likes of Konate straight away.
While Inacio appears to be more established, Beraldo boasts all the skills that are requisite for a prominent position in a squad such as Liverpool’s, and given that he would probably be happier integrating into the first team, it could be a move to enhance, not disrupt, the harmony.
Moreover, Inacio is more expensive and this may prove to be a sticking point at the season’s midpoint, especially with the summer transfer window likely focussing on the acquisition of a new first-class holding midfielder.
With Virgil van Dijk and Konate still expecting to take the starting spots in the centre of the backline, Beraldo feels like the apt man to sign.
He might be young, but the dynamic Brazilian looks the perfect fit and could blossom into something special over the coming years.