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Ozan Kabak scouting report: Liverpool new boy suffers in Reds defensive chaos

Ozan Kabak, welcome to Liverpool.

Or at least welcome to Liverpool 2020/21.

The Reds’ season went from bad to worse as what had looked to be a decent afternoon at Leicester completely imploded in the game’s latter stages.

The young centre-back’s debut had largely been a composed one until his side’s utter collapse following James Maddison’s equaliser which had survived a VAR check.

Before that he was okay though, doing the simple things as he partnered Jordan Henderson at the back.

From the very start it looked as though Kabak knew exactly what his role was, as he quickly moved the ball with short passes and left the longer stuff for others.

Kabak had looked largely okay until late on

One of the less-discussed attributes of Virgil van Dijk that Liverpool have been missing are his long passes from the back, and Henderson has been tasked with replicating that as he lines up on the left of the centre-back pairing.

That leaves the right-sided defender to focus on defending, something that Nat Phillips has displayed impressively when called upon this season, particularly in both matches against West Ham when he combatted the aerial presence of Sebastien Haller and Michail Antonio.

At 20, Kabak’s ceiling is so much higher though, but it was clearly Liverpool’s gameplan to limit his chances to show what he could do here.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, the player who has been inhibited the most by the chopping and changing nature of the Liverpool defence, was clearly the man told to do Kabak’s long passing for him, and the Turkish international was frequently seen shuffling short passes in the Scouser’s direction.

Kabak was clattered into by Alisson before the second goal
Kabak was clattered into by Alisson before the second goal

There were a couple of hairy moments in the first half, but Jamie Vardy – a player Jurgen Klopp greatly admires – could do that to anyone.

It was in the second half when the youngster become embroiled in the malaise that currently engulfs his new side though.

Alisson’s mad decision to rush out and clatter into his new teammate was an utter rush of blood to the head, and the type of thing that a young centre-back needs his experienced teammates to avoid.

Kabak then seemed to be in something of a daze as Harvey Barnes ran through late on to make it 3-1, and although he could have done better there you can’t really pin too much blame on him because of what was going on in front him.

He was simply caught in the crossfire of another remarkably poor afternoon from the champions.




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