Should Liverpool try Tiago Ilori as a defensive midfielder?

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A young Liverpool player could be a surprise option to play slightly further forward at times next season.

According to a report from the Daily Mail, Liverpool have opened talks with defender Tiago Ilori over a new contract.

It shows Reds boss Brendan Rodgers clearly rates the player despite the fact that he is yet to make his senior Liverpool debut two years after his arrival.

Since then, Ilori has spent time on loan in France and Spain but next season could be the one when the 22-year-old finally gets a chance to show what he can do at Anfield.

That said, with the presence of four senior centre-backs at the club and the recent arrival of teenager Joe Gomez from Charlton Athletic, what chance an unfamiliar but perhaps revelatory role for Ilori?

After all, the Portuguese player has a fine eye for a pass and could be an effective defensive midfielder, able to hold opponents at bay but also to act as the catalyst for Liverpool's attacks.

One outstanding pass that led to a goal during his time at Granada showed just what he is capable of – to say it was Gerrard-esque would not be hyperbole – and while it would take a brave manager to play him further forward it could also prove to be a master-stroke.

With Martin Skrtel, Dejan Lovren, Kolo Toure and Mamadou Sakho all competing for a starting spot at the club, Ilori is unlikely to get much game-time in his natural position in the short term. But the cup competitions could be the perfect chance to give the youngster the opportunity to play in the holding role and perhaps reinvent him in the process.

There may come a time when he and Gomez form the bedrock of Liverpool’s defence but that is very much in the future. But with Liverpool needing to strengthen in central areas, Ilori could be an unlikely solution.

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