Liverpool were forced into a busy Deadline Day in the January transfer window this year.
The Reds have made a habit out of calculated and long-term signings under Jurgen Klopp, but their injury crisis at centre-back this season forced them to throw their transfer strategy out the window.
Besides, Liverpool were facing the prospect of defending their Premier League title without a single senior centre-half after serious injuries to Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip.
Liverpool’s Deadline Day moves
And with all three of those crocked stars potentially set to see out the 2020/21 campaign watching from the treatment table, Michael Edwards ensured that the Reds procured two new arrivals.
Ben Davies was the first new signing through the door at Melwood, penning a long-term deal from Preston North End, before Ozan Kabak followed him to Merseyside on loan from Schalke.
And it was the arrival of Kabak that caught the eyes of Liverpool fans the most with Edwards securing a fantastic deal that’s essentially an audition with no obligation of a permanent deal.
Who is Ozan Kabak?
However, does Kabak really possess the qualities to shore up Liverpool’s depleted back-line?
Well, it depends how you look at it because Schalke’s position at the foot of the Bundesliga table is certainly a red flag, but he does arrive on the back of a glowing review from David Wagner.
Now, the proof will ultimately be in the pudding when Kabak makes his first Liverpool appearances, but if you look a little deeper into his Schalke spell, there are some themes we can identify.
Tactical analysis of Kabak
And when it comes to tactical analyses, few do it better than YouTuber ‘Nouman’ who has sought to enlighten Liverpool fans on their new signing by putting Kabak’s playing style under the spotlight.
The fascinating eight-minute analysis looks at the strengths and weaknesses that Liverpool are signing up for by introducing the 20-year-old – and you can check it out in its entirety down below:
So, starting on a positive note, Liverpool have themselves a centre-back who isn’t lacking in pace, giving them the security of defending against counterattacks when they’re on the front foot.
While Kabak might not have the technical ability or defensive nous of Van Dijk, Kopites can expect him to track back with the same urgency as the Dutchman against teams like Leicester City and Manchester United.
But aside from his physical prowess, one of Kabak’s defining traits is his aggressive pressing, not being afraid to rush out from the back-line and close down forwards when he considers it necessary.
In many ways, this is both a strength and weakness, sometimes killing attacks by nipping them in the bud, but sometimes leaving gaping holes in the back-line for opposition midfielders to exploit.
That slight worry for Liverpool is painfully apparent in a clip that sees Kabak marking none other than Robert Lewandowski in a game where the scoreline – an 8-0 defeat – speaks for itself.
Otherwise, there are many positives to be appreciated with Kabak sharing Van Dijk’s penchant for long balls, albeit not to the same world-class standards, as well as dominance in the air.
So, sure, we can’t put the cart before the horse and assume that Kabak is going to hit the ground running in the Premier League, but make no mistake that he looks very promising on paper.