Dominik Szoboszlai caught the eye for Liverpool on his debut and showed why he can be useful to Jürgen Klopp in two ways amid the club’s midfield evolution.
From the moment he arrived at Liverpool, Dominik Szoboszlai seems to have embraced the culture and ethos of the club right away. Even the fans welcomed him warmly and that’s why his debut was long overdue.
Ahead of Liverpool’s opening pre-season match against Karlsruher, one of the most fascinating conversations in the clips to emerge from the club’s training camp concerned Szoboszlai’s positioning.
Given that Szoboszlai played predominantly on the right for RB Leipzig last season and there is a dearth of options in the RCM role for Liverpool, many would have expected him to occupy that territory for Liverpool as well.
However, as Liverpool.com wrote, Szoboszlai has played on the left flank for most of his career, particularly for the Hungarian national team, and is also very capable of playing in the LCM position.
So it’s no surprise that he appeared on the left flank in Liverpool’s training session, and it was even less surprising when he started the match against Karlsruher in that position as well.
Szoboszlai showed a sovereign performance by sovereignly controlling the ball and completing 44 of his 46 pass attempts in a single half. He seemed to be really good at running and playing the pressure, even earning praise from Jurgen Klopp.
“In the first half, the new guys, the kids and Dom were the best in counter-pressing,” Klopp told LFCTV.
Szoboszlai was also characterized by his constant changes. He and Trent Alexander-Arnold distributed play very well, consistently supplying Liverpool wingers from left to right.
But perhaps more than anything, the most intriguing aspect of Szoboszlai’s first 45 minutes in the red shirt was how he changed position and went down the right flank roughly midway through the first half, playing with equal consistency in that position as well.
When Nemzeti Sport asked him about the role change after the match, Szoboszlai revealed he was comfortable in both roles.
“I felt good in both positions, the only important thing for me is to be on the pitch and do my best,” said the Hungarian captain.
“I didn’t receive particularly personal instructions, he told me what the players in my position were to do and what we were to do if we moved [from our positions].”
Given Klopp’s aforementioned post-match words, the Liverpool manager must have been pleased with Szoboszlai’s first appearance.
Even after just 45 minutes, it’s clear that Klopp has a player who can help his midfield evolve in at least two roles. But it’s not just Szoboszlai who gives the midfield a new dynamism and unpredictability.
Being able to switch roles so seamlessly in the middle of a match could be a real weapon for Liverpool next season in what promises to be a truly fluid midfield with Alexander-Arnold and newcomer Alexis Mac Allister also able to drift and shift between different roles.