Former Benfica coach Joao Tralhao has urged Liverpool to sign Florentino Luis, dubbed the ‘next Enzo Fernandez’.The Portuguese midfielder has been a key player for Benfica this season, having featured in all 38 games across competitions.
Following Fernandez’s British record £107 million transfer to Chelsea on deadline day in January, Luis’ stock has risen further at the Estadio da Luz.Tralhao, who formerly coached the former Portugal under-21 international, has heaped praise on the highly-regarded defensive midfielder. The former Benfica coach has claimed that any manager would love to have Luis his team thanks to his exceptional defensive abilities.He told Goal:
“He is the kind of player every coach would like to have in their squad. He’s an amazing boy, a hard worker, calm, professional, always prepared to listen and he is a proper team player. He doesn’t think only of himself. Technically speaking, it’s not easy to find a midfielder with the defensive qualities he has. I used to joke with him and say that he saw the game two seconds before everyone else.
“It’s amazing the amount of interceptions he makes, the way he can be in the right position all the time. He is always in the right space to regain the ball and he has improved so much in terms of duels, using his body, protecting the ball in contact and so on.”
Tralhao has also compared the Portuguese midfielder to former Real Madrid defensive midfielders Claude Makelele and Casemiro.The former Benfica youth coach has claimed that Luis has what it takes to play for any top team, including Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona. He said:
“He has the talent and quality to play in elite teams. Remember when Real Madrid had the Galacticos? They needed someone to balance the team, and [Claude] Makelele was so important.”
“More recently, Casemiro did that job, allowing [Cristiano] Ronaldo, [Luka] Modric and [Karim] Benzema to attack. Florentino has those capabilities. He’s having an amazing season under Roger Schmidt. He can play anywhere, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Liverpool, anywhere. He would have no problem adapting.”
Luis has made 70 appearances for Benfica, having risen through their youth ranks over the years. The defensive midfielder formerly had two loan spells with AS Monaco and Getafe respectively before making the grade at Benfica.
Luis has been linked with a host of top European clubs in recent months, including Liverpool and Arsenal.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp slammed for using star in unnatural position
Former Netherlands international midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has slammed Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp for using Cody Gakpo as a striker.
Gakpo joined the Reds from PSV Eindhoven for €50 million, including add-ons, in January this year but has struggled to make an immediate impact.The Dutch forward netted his first goal for Liverpool in their 2-0 win against Everton in the Merseyside Derby earlier this week.Van der Vaart has hit out at Klopp for using Gakpo in an unnatural centre-forward role. Speaking on Ladbrokes, he said:
“The biggest surprise for me wasn’t that Liverpool bought Cody Gakpo last month – look, if you have the sort of tournament he did in Qatar, you’re going to attract interest from a lot of top clubs. But, for me, they’ve signed a player who has played his whole career as a left-winger, and in the national team he’s played as a number 10, a second striker… and now he’s playing as a striker? He’s not a striker!”
Van der Vaart insisted that Gakpo’s strengths make him most suited to play on the left flank. He said:
“Cody needs space to play in, he needs to run with the ball, that’s where he’s most dangerous. That’s the biggest issue he has at Liverpool, why are they playing him as a number nine? He’s a left-winger who can cut inside and cause danger there.”
Gakpo had registered 13 goals and 17 assists in 24 games for PSV Eindhoven in the first half of the 2022-23 season