With Adam Lallana looking to be on his way out of Anfield this summer, Norwich City’s Todd Cantwell offers a great replacement for Liverpool Manager Jurgen Klopp.
At 22 years old Cantwell is a young talent that has burst onto the Premier League scene this season with the promoted Norwich City.
His evasive and clever movement, paired with his close control has drawn many comparisons to Lallana this season. Like the Liverpool midfielder, the Norwich City academy graduate boasts a raw tenacity on the field that is infectious.
Both can operate in a ‘number 10’ role but have also shown proficiency out on the left-hand side, drifting inside.
Cantwell has also proved he is a man for the big occasion, scoring against Chelsea and Manchester City this season. Striker and teammate Teemu Pukki stole headlines at the start of the season, scoring six goals in his first five games. But in fact, Cantwell (23.1%) is more clinical in front of goal than the Fin (20.8%).
Lallana on his way out?
It looks most likely that Lallana will not sign a contract extension with the Anfield side, with the 31-year-old being frustrated with his lack of game time.
However, Lallana is competing for places against some of the best midfielders in the league in the likes of Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum.
Either a return to former club Southampton, or reconciliation with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City look to be most likely. But the main objective for the midfielder would be consistent game time who has had to settle for a squad rotation role at Anfield in recent years due to an unfortunate series of injuries and the quality of his teammates.
Why it favours Cantwell
Cantwell will be looking for the next step in his career after an impressive breakout season. With six goals and two assists this season, he will want to develop and improve on that next season. He currently creates 1.34 chances per 90, which while it is respectable, it can be improved. If in recent years Klopp has done anything, it’s improve the efficiency of his players.
Playing on the biggest stages and building on the great foundation he laid this year will put Cantwell closer to an England call up. The Norfolk native has featured for the Three Lions at U17 and U21 level, but is yet to receive his first senior call up.
Being immersed in a squad full of world class talent will undoubtedly help him reach his potential. Going into the delayed Euro 2021 Championship, he could be a key figure in Gareth Southgate’s side, as more senior creative midfielders like Dele Alli and Jesse Lingard have struggled for form.
Why it works for Liverpool
It’s worth noting, that should Norwich fail to stay in the Premier League, that shouldn’t deter Liverpool from signing him over fears he’s not of Liverpool’s calibre.
Gini Wijnaldum was relegated with Newcastle in the 2015/16 season and has gone on to be a vital figure for Klopp in midfield. Who could forget his double against Barcelona in the Champions League semi-final last season?
Andy Robertson was relegated with Hull City in the 2016/17 season, developing into one of the best left backs in the world after moving to Merseyside. Now, he is Scotland’s captain and has a Champions League winners medal, after registering a staggering 13 assists as Liverpool claimed their sixth Champions League title.
Xherdan Shaqiri was relegated with Stoke City in 2017/18, before being scooped up by Klopp for a reported £13.5 million. The Swiss international has been an important squad player for the Reds, coming off the bench to score in a famous win over bitter rivals Manchester United in December 2018.
There is no reason why this transfer policy can’t work again, and Cantwell has shown all the signs that he wouldn’t be out of place…