Liverpool are monitoring the situation around Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia, with Jurgen Klopp praising the Saints’ “proper football.”
With the Reds expected to sign three midfielders in the upcoming transfer window, Lavia has emerged as a potential signing.
The 19-year-old only joined Southampton from Man City last summer, but is likely to depart St Mary’s following their relegation to the Championship.
GOAL‘s Neil Jones has reported Liverpool as “admirers” of the Belgian, while the Times‘ Paul Hirst has corroborated claims of interested alongside Chelsea and ruled out a return to the Etihad.
It is timely, then, that Klopp’s side head to Southampton for their Premier League closer this Sunday, with Lavia likely to make his 30th start of the season.
Ahead of the final game of the season, the manager described the Saints as a “strange one,” acknowledging their issues and praising their “proper football” in midfield.
“We made the analysis – such a talented squad, football-wise, if you let them play they will play,” Klopp said.
“They have for sure struggled with finishing the situations off and finding a way to defend in a way to deny the other team more often, but in between these two areas, between the boxes, it’s proper football.
“We have to make sure we are ready for that because, how we all know, if you are not ready for that then the pitch is – not only at Southampton but everywhere in the world – too big to get anything because then you will struggle.
“That’s really important, that we find a way to defend them.”
Aside from a hamstring injury which kept him out for two months early in the season, Lavia has been a first-choice starter in his first season at Southampton.
Under Ralph Hasenhuttl, Nathan Jones and now Ruben Selles, he has been relied upon in a key role as the deep-lying midfielder, and it is no surprise he is attracting interest
Whether he would be considered a primary target for Liverpool at this stage remains to be seen, with Klopp likely to target more experience in the market.
With James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita all departing along with Arthur, there will be a distinct lack of midfielders in their prime years.
If he were signed, Lavia would join a youthful group alongside Curtis Jones, 22, Harvey Elliott, 20, Stefan Bajcetic, 18, and possibly Tyler Morton, 20.
However, his first season in senior football has showed he has the ability to thrive in a “proper football” setup.