Robbie Brady has been relegated from the premier league twice in a row – first with Hull, now with Norwich. Hardly seems like the type of player a team with Liverpool’s ambition should be targeting. But frankly, he is one of the most underrated and unjustly not talked about player around today.
Last season Brady was one of Norwich’s best players – be that at Left Back, left wing, right wing or right back. And at Hull and for the Ireland national team had also played central midfield and number 10 as well. This versatility would undoubtedly be useful.
But frankly, enough about his versatility, what about quality. According to Squakwa he was Norwich’s best player this season bar none, best defence score for any full back and best attack score bar none. Admittedly Norwich’s attack wasn’t great but for a player who played primarily at LB to be the most impactful attacking threat is very impressive. For Hull the story is similar as well.
What about fitting into Klopp’s system? Klopp has always liked (at least) one full back to be a wide playmaker of sorts – not limited to crossing but also linking with central players. Grosskreutz, Durm, Schmelzer and now Moreno have been the primary beneficiaries of this and Brady fits this role perfectly – he ability to play infield has made him very comfortable cutting inside and acting like be a number 10, and it works! Playing quick clever balls to the likes of Jarvis and Hoolahan before dropping back wide and deep to enable an overlap later on.
Drawbacks? He isn’t great at maintaining possession, but with the high pressing, counterattacking style Liverpool currently enjoy that isn’t to much of an issue. The biggest Issue I forsee isn’t actually a footballing one – It’s an image one. Signing a player from a relegated club doesn’t exactly come with prestige, nor scream ambition – regardless of quality (see the criticism of the Wijnaldum and Gueye signings by Liverpool and Everton respectively). But frankly, I don’t care – if a signing improves the squad it shouldn’t matter where they came from. Diafra Sakho came from the French second division and lit up the EPL, Barca singed Marlon for the B team from Fluminense and he’s played so well in pre-season I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a little first team action.
Overall the best thing about Brady will be the price and how achievable it will be – Norwich have been relegated so will have reduce their wage bill and Brady will likely want to return to the top flight quickly. With a deal like this, there will be no transfer saga (cough Hector cough) while he decides which top flight, competitive club he likes more. And Brady wouldn’t preclude signing a new, more defensive LB as well – again using Hector as the example, Hector often played as a DM this season (the position Can needs a partner in) leaving Brady and Moreno to LB – Hector moving over when needed. Likewise Brady could easily cover the attacking midfield three leaving Hector and Moreno LB. The possibilities resulting from having such versatile players are great.
Overall, the signing of Brady has no significant downsides. Even if he doesn’t replace Moreno, competition and cover is just as much an issue. As a good, versatile, risk-free signing for LB, Robbie Brady is surely the perfect choice.