Konoplyanka's performance v Spurs, did he display why Liverpool wanted to sign him?

England V Ukraine

He was one of the big stories on deadline day, but he went nowhere.

It was one of the most high profile non-transfers of transfer deadline day that Yevhen Konoplyanka didn’t make his move from Dnipro to Liverpool. Instead of haunting Tottenham by trying to help them to Champions League football, he was taking part in Dnipro’s Europa League clash instead, and happened to score the winner in the first leg of the tie from the penalty spot.

It will be unfair to just judge one player if they made an error in their game, so this analysis isn’t just based on the fact Yevhen Konoplyanka put away the penalty, or that he’s got an eye for goal from distance as demonstrated later on in the game.

To be fair to Kyle Naughton, the Spurs right-back up against the sought after Ukrainian, he did a lot of things right. He got tight to him, won a couple of challenges and didn’t allow him to have things all his own way.

He will have certainly given Liverpool options in January, and he is likely to give them another option if he were to arrive at Anfield in the summer. Whilst the club currently has the blistering pace of pacey young wingers in Raheem Sterling and Jordon Ibe, Konoplyanka seems to have a bit of a different side to his game.

That’s not to say Ukrainian isn’t quick, though he doesn’t seem to possess the acceleration the aforementioned youngsters have on the eye. Technically he seems a very sound player, and his bigger frame allows him to hold the ball up in advanced positions so on the counter-attack rather than be the man leading the charge.

Likes to cut in on his right foot but not afraid to take the ball to the byline to force an opportunity for his side, and would be able to play on the other flank given he is right footed but he didn’t seem afraid to occupy the middle at times. He seemed incredibly aware of what was going on around him, knew where the space was but like all wingers he could probably pick up the tag of being a bit ball greedy.

He was composed, had a good first touch and showed he had an eye for goal. Given that Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge have both played wide this season, signing Konoplyanka would have either given Rodgers a terrific option off the bench for the front free, or provided a more natural option from the start.

It’s evident why Liverpool tried to sign him.

image: © tomaszd

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