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The Stolen XI: Raphinha - Leeds United

This weeks The Stolen XI is based on Leeds, Who should Liverpool steal?

This weeks The Stolen XI is based around Liverpool’s next opponent, Leeds. Which of Leeds’ players should Liverpool steal and why? 

Let’s find out! In Liverpool’s first matchup against a newly promoted Leeds last season the match surprisingly turned out to be an entertaining spectacle with the match ending 4-3, Mohamed Salah also managed to bag a hat trick! Leeds’ team is full of talent and many players could add something the Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.

Salah after completing his hattrick against Leeds United

There are three players from Leeds’ team that I would love for Liverpool to steal, these are Raphinha, Kalvin Phillips and Patrick Bamford.

Raphinha had been heavily linked to Liverpool in the summer transfer window but unfortunately the deal didn’t materialise after Liverpool had a relatively quiet summer. 

Raphinha scored his first goal for Leeds against Everton in Leeds first ever win against Everton at Goodison Park and their first league win against them since 1990.

Raphinha from Leeds is a target for Liverpool

The Brazilian was a key part of Marcelo Bielsa’s team for the entirety of last season and managed to contribute to 15 goals in 34 appearances for the team which is a very good return considering Leeds scored 62 goals throughout the entirety of the Premier League campaign.

Raphinha would be an ideal player for Liverpool to steal as they have a considerable lack of depth in attack with only one player who can naturally play as a right winger in their team. 

Raphinha wheels off in celebration

I feel that if Liverpool stole Raphinha he would be rotated with Salah and Sadio Mané and add not only an extra layer of depth to Liverpool’s team but add a bit more creativity to their starting 11.

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Kalvin Phillips is an outstanding holding midfielder that recently won England men’s player of the year award and was one of England’s best performers at Euro 2020. Phillips would be an ideal fit for Liverpool’s high pressing formation as he never stops running and constantly tries to create space and goal scoring opportunities for his team.

Phillips can also however offer a lot in the defensive side of the game as he has a strong tackle and is the ‘anchor’ for Bielsa’s Leeds. Without him in the team their midfield has no control and is often overpowered by their opposition. 

If Liverpool stole Phillips, he would be able to replace Georginio Wijnaldum who played an extremely important role for Liverpool last season.

Kalvin Phillips

However, he may not be able to consistently get a starting role in Liverpool’s midfield as they have a lot of great players covering each position and role such as Jordan Henderson and Thiago.

Finally, Bamford is a clinical finisher and single-handedly kept Leeds in some games and was their top goal scorer last year. Bamford recently made his debut for the England men’s national team and played well.

When Bamford wasn’t in the Leeds team last year, they were much less threatening to the oppositions goal and didn’t have an end product in the final third which is what Bamford gives them. 

Liverpool are also a team that are significantly lacking in height in comparison to other teams which isn’t ideal as there isn’t a ‘poacher’ waiting for a cross in the box. 

Patrick Bamford

If Liverpool stole Bamford, I feel that he would provide the extra height that is needed and be able to positively contribute to the team week in and week out.

In my opinion I feel that if Liverpool could steal a player from Leeds, it should be Raphinha as he would be the answer to Liverpool’s attacking depth issues and he would provide the creativity that Liverpool seems to be lacking in some of their recent matches. I also feel that he would fit the way that Liverpool plays extremely well.