Thursday, June 27, 2019

Better than Rafa? Camacho cameo leaves Klopp unconvinced by transfer options

SoccerNews in English Premier League 21 Jan 2019

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Liverpool teenager Rafael Camacho is set to persuade Jurgen Klopp he does not need to enter the transfer market for a new right-back.

The position has become a problem for Klopp over recent weeks, with Trent Alexander-Arnold joining Joe Gomez on the injury list after Nathaniel Clyne was allowed to leave for a loan spell at Bournemouth.

James Milner deputised at right-back on Saturday but was sent off during the closing stages of a frantic 4-3 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield.

It meant an unplanned Premier League debut for Camacho and the 18-year-old instantly endeared himself to the Reds faithful with a vital, crunching tackle on Palace dangerman Wilfried Zaha as the clock wound down.

“I told him immediately after the game that he had already made the most important challenge of his life,” Klopp told reporters. “I’m not sure he really got it – he looked at me like, ‘What is he talking about?’ but it was really massive.

“I can imagine what people think about this situation but you have to make decisions in moments when decisions are on the table. That’s why Clyney is not here anymore.

“In that moment, we had plenty of options and now we don’t have them. That’s how it is in our next games. Trent got an injury and it’s serious but not that serious. He will be back early but I don’t know if early enough for the next game.

“Maybe the game after. Everyone gives me the feeling – Trent as well –  that it is absolutely possible but we have to wait and cannot risk anything.

“We have to come through this situation. Tell me a player who can play right-back and other positions as well better than our boys like Rafa can do?”

Camacho was converted from a winger to a full-back by Steven Gerrard during the Liverpool great’s time as academy boss before taking charge of Rangers and Klopp sees parallels in this regard between the youngster and Andy Robertson.

“He’s good in defensive challenges. He’s an offensive player in his mindset and everything but look at our full-backs and where are they most of the time? You need these offensive skills,” Klopp explained.

“On the other side, there will be moments when you are alone on the pitch against a world-class player and they are looking to nutmeg you or whatever.

“It is the learning process Robbo went through. He was a fantastic left-winger but played full-back and now he is a full-back.

“That’s really cool. I was really happy in that moment [of the Zaha tackle] but I have seen similar situations from him before.”

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