Who is Dominik Szoboszlai? Liverpool’s New £60 Million Midfielder Revealed

- - Players

Hungary FlagHis name isn’t much fun to type out, but rest assured Dominik Szoboszlai is super-entertaining on the pitch.

The Hungarian is Jurgen Klopp’s second signing of the summer transfer window, joining Alexis Mac Allister on the books at Anfield. Fabio Carvalho will head the other way on loan to RB Leipzig.

A fee of £60 million – the release clause in his contract – will be paid to secure the services for Szoboszlai, a 22-year-old who generally plays as a number ten. Whether Klopp will have to tweak his tactics to get the best out of his new man – or whether he can be turned into a number eight in the boss’ traditional 4-3-3 system – remains to be seen.

With six goals and eight assists in 28 German Bundesliga appearances last season, plus three goal involvements in eight Champions League games, Szoboszlai has the creative output that Liverpool were so greatly lacking last term – he and Mac Allister should help to resolve that issue to some tune.

So can Szoboszlai be a success at Anfield and help Liverpool back into the Champions League places?

Red Bull Gives Szoboszlai Wings

RB Leipzig Flag

Despite being a born and bred Hungarian, Szoboszlai played his formative football in Austria for FC Liefering – a club generally recognised as a feeder club into the Red Bull network, which is headlined by RB Salzburg and Leipzig.

He would play 42 games for Liefering before taking the step up in grade to Red Bull Salzburg, where he would debut in 2018. A maiden Champions League appearance would follow in 2019.

That 2019/20 season was the breakthrough in the young Hungarian’s career. He recorded 23 goal involvements (nine scored, 14 assists) in just 27 Austrian Bundesliga games as Salzburg romped to the title by 12 points – Szoboszlai was named the league’s Player of the Season.

The big cheeses at Red Bull must have been suitably impressed, because Szoboszlai was effectively called up to the parent team of the firm’s network – RB Leipzig – in December 2020, becoming the most expensive Hungarian player in history in the process.

Injury meant he didn’t really get going with his new club until the 2021/22 campaign, and it was in 2022 that Szoboszlai made his breakthrough on a more global stage – and introduced himself to English football fans by scoring the winner in Hungary’s 1-0 triumph over England in the Nations League….before playing his part in his country’s incredible 4-0 win over Gareth Southgate’s men in June 2022.

In 2023 so far, Szoboszlai has notched a brace against Bayern Munich, scored in the German Cup win over Eintracht Frankfurt and secured a dream move to Liverpool….not a bad year, all things considered.

How Will Szoboszlai Fit in at Anfield?

Glowing Number 8 against Red Background

One of the key weapons in Szoboszlai’s game is that he is genuinely two-footed – it’s amazing even today how few players are able to use both their right and left foot to an elite level.

That allows him to play on either side of the pitch with aplomb – it wouldn’t be a shock to see him deployed as the right-sided number eight by Klopp, allowing him to dovetail with Trent Alexander-Arnold while providing width when Mo Salah sets off on his more central runs.

Another interesting component of Szoboszlai’s game is his prowess from set pieces. He was the designated free kick and corner kick taker at RB Leipzig in 2022/23, which helped him accumulate that rather impressive Expected Assists (xA) count of 0.30 per 90 minutes.

And, while he may have a wrestling match for the ball, the 22-year-old has shown tremendous poise from the penalty spot, successfully converting 15 of his last 16 spot kicks.

There’s been plenty of glowing reviews of Szoboszlai as a player in recent times, but few have been as positive as that of Jesse Marsch, the former Leeds United boss who managed the Hungarian at Leipzig and Salzburg.

“As talent goes, there aren’t many better players that can play his position,” the American said.

“Some are strong, some are technical, some are good tactically, and some can defend well or run a lot. However, Dominik is special because he has all of these skills combined. Dominik is just as talented as Erling Haaland.”

Ibrahima Konate and Naby Keita joined Liverpool from RB Leipzig while Sadio Mane was a former RB Salzburg player before later heading to Anfield. Szoboszlai will be hoping he’s the next player for whom Red Bull have provided the wings for him to soar on Merseyside.

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