He joins Brendan Rodgers’ Anfield revolution in a relatively cheap deal from Sporting Lisbon and staring at a situation where he’s going to have to work his socks off to get some first team opportunities.
However, in terms of potential, Liverpool couldn’t have signed themselves a better centre back because the Portuguese star seems to have all of the bases covered for any defender coming into the Premier League.
His height, six feet and three inches, gives him a big frame physically which is important against the Premier League forwards that try to use their power and size to push the boundaries a little bit in terms of what form of physical aggression and holding is acceptable.
He’s a young man which will lead many to point towards inexperience but his size means Rodgers can throw him in at the deep end and he should cope against a variety of aggressive forwards.
He’s also an extremely quick centre back which is important for several reasons with the most obvious being that he can’t be outrun by forwards playing on the shoulder, looking to race in behind.
It’s also very important in terms of the tactics Liverpool use and the way they play with his pace allowing the back four to maintain a much higher line.
It means that if Liverpool are caught on the counter attack, the back four can drop deeper far more quickly which gives them a better chance of soaking up the counter attack and any pressure which follows.
This is also a player coming from one of the more attractive to watch Portuguese teams in Sporting Lisbon.
Rodgers likes Liverpool to play the ball out from the back and for all of his players to be competent in possession. It’s not in Ilori’s nature to hoof the ball forward at the first available opportunity so he’s already used to the sort of decision making and style that his new manager is going to expect.
Ilori has to prove that he’s got what it takes to perform in Liverpool colours but the fact he’s only 20-years-old means that if he can settle in quickly, he could cement a place in the club’s back four over the next few seasons.
Add to that the chance that he could show tremendous loyalty to Liverpool throughout his career and when he does eventually move on or retires in well over a decade, there is every chance he could go out as one of the club’s best central defenders.
However, it’s important he doesn’t look too far ahead because the undoubted quality of Kolo Toure and the way Martin Skrtel played against Manchester United means it will take an enormous effort just for him to get into the first team.
For the time being it’s baby steps but there aren’t too many reasons to be negative with his transfer.
What do you think? Will Rodgers throw Ilori in at the deep end?
image: © neate photos