Didi Hamann assesses success of Liverpool’s midfield overhaul last summer

Liverpool signed four midfielders last summer.


Former Liverpool midfielder Didi Hamann has evaluated the success of the Reds’ midfield overhaul that took place last summer.

Julian Ward, despite his departure, extended his stay by a week to assist in overseeing the £35m signing of Alexis Mac Allister from Brighton & Hove Albion.

Following this, Jorge Schmadtke leveraged his connections in his native country throughout the remainder of the summer transfer window.

Dominik Szoboszlai was secured from RB Leipzig in a £60m deal, triggered by Liverpool activating his release clause.

Additionally, a long-standing target, Ryan Gravenberch, was finally acquired from Bayern Munich in a deal valued at up to £40m on the transfer deadline day.

Despite facing challenges in securing a new holding midfielder after the unexpected departures of Jordan Henderson and Fabinho to Saudi Arabia, and missing out on targets such as Moises Caicedo, Romeo Lavia, and Andre Trindade, Liverpool eventually settled on Wataru Endo from Stuttgart.

The performances of Szoboszlai, Gravenberch, and Endo have varied throughout their debut season at Merseyside.

While Endo initially struggled, he has gradually impressed and rightfully earned a spot in Klopp’s starting XI as the season progressed.

His progress may have surprised many in England, but not Liverpool legend Hamann, who had faith in his abilities.

Having observed Endo extensively in the Bundesliga prior to his transfer to Liverpool, Hamann has not been taken aback by his accomplishments at Anfield.

He believes that missing out on Caicedo has ultimately turned out to be a stroke of luck.

“No, he hasn’t surprised me,” Hamann told the ECHO.

“When he came, you don’t always need the big names, maybe it was a blessing not to get Caicedo for 100-odd million because I knew what a good player he is.

“He kept a struggling side together. I said all along, I think he will surprise a few people because he’s very disciplined, technically very gifted, two-footed, and an absolute team player.

“I’m not surprised at all. It took a few weeks or a few months to get into the rhythm, maybe to get used to the pace of the Premier League, but no, he hasn’t surprised me at all. He’s a class act.”

On Szoboszlai, the ex-Germany international added: “It was surprising how well he started because, from my own experience, I know that it takes a few weeks and months to get used to the pace of the Premier League.

“I was surprised how well he started.

“I thought it was a lot of money they paid for him. I think he’s a very capable player, but the jury is still out.

“As an offensive player, it’s always harder to get consistency. He’s had a few injuries as well in the second half of the season, and the jury is out regarding how good a buy he actually was.”

Hamann witnessed Gravenberch’s challenges during his time in Bavaria last season before his transition to Anfield.

Despite a somewhat inconsistent beginning on Merseyside, the German remains convinced that there is untapped potential in the Dutch international.

He hopes that Gravenberch will be given the opportunity to showcase his abilities under the management of Arne Slot

“I think he’s probably having a bit more of an impact at Liverpool than he did at Bayern,” he said.

“Then again, the competition for places might be a bit higher at Liverpool.

“Obviously, he’s got to start playing on a regular basis now and obviously start affecting the games.

“He’s been brought in to… he’s a big man, he’s got a bit of pace about him, he can finish.

“He has to set up goals and he has to score goals, because there have been times at Liverpool this season where they have needed a goal from somewhere.

“There have been times when he’s had a chance to make a name for himself but didn’t.

“It’s his first season, I hope he gets another season, but I think next season he has got to do better than he did this one.”

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