Liverpool.com will select one player from each World Cup group who Jürgen Klopp and Julian Ward should be tracking ahead of a transfer. We continue with Group C.
We use your sign-up to provide content in the ways you’ve consented to and improve our understanding of you. This means that we may include adverts from us and third parties based on our knowledge of you. We also may change the frequency you receive our emails from us in order to keep you up to date and give you the best relevant information possible. As always you can unsubscribe at any time. More info
After a four-year interval, the World Cup has finally returned. Premier League football has been placed on pause for the next month, with a number of Liverpool stars set to compete for the gold in Qatar.
As the group stage begins, Liverpool.com is going to highlight one specific player from each group who could be worth tracking throughout the tournament from a Reds perspective. With several squad voids to address in upcoming transfer windows, Jürgen Klopp and Julian Ward — his sporting director — will surely be keen viewers from afar.
After starting the series with Group A and Group B, we can move to Group C which consists of Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland. There are a number of players who could be selected to assume the spotlight, with Lionel Messi set to continue his pursuit of the one prize that has so far eluded him, but Enzo Fernández is going to be the focus here.
More than one addition will likely be required in Liverpool’s midfield department in 2023, especially considering Naby Keïta, James Milner and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could all leave for free. On top of those departures, Thiago Alcântara is already now aged 31 and Jordan Henderson is 32. Klopp needs a refresh.
Fernández changed clubs earlier this summer, moving from River Plate — who are renowned for producing top starlets in South America — to Benfica for a transfer fee in the region of £12m.
Aged just 21, the technical midfielder should almost be regarded as a prospect but instead, he showcases performances beyond his years. He appears like a true controller for Roger Schmidt’s outfit, governing the ball in the centre while playing forward whenever possible.
No player other than Fernández has completed more than 1,000 passes in the Portuguese top-flight this term, and he is also out on his own for progressive passes. He offers dominance, which is what Liverpool are lacking of late.
Although not particularly tall at around 5″9, he does appear quite well-rounded, and looks to be a natural when it comes to offering a passing option to his teammates and adding authority over the ball.
The Reds agreed an £85m deal for Darwin Núñez with the Portuguese giants just a few months ago, and they could reopen talks regarding Fernández if he continues on his current trajectory.
Indeed, Liverpool have developed a preference for players in Portugal in recent times, acquiring Núñez just six months after Luis Díaz was signed for an initial £39m fee from FC Porto. The theme seems to have coincided with Julian Ward’s appointment as sporting director on Merseyside, replacing Michael Edwards.
He would be expensive considering his recent transfer and his contract until 2027, but Europe’s heavyweights are beginning to take note of his ability and potential, even though he’s been on the continent for less than six months.
Argentina are viewed among the favourites for the World Cup, with a certain Messi in line to benefit from a controlling presence behind him. If the South American side go far, Fernández could easily end up as the next big star to emerge from a major global tournament — it could be the perfect chance for Klopp to assess the apparent transfer target at a high level.