26 Nov 2015

Klopp raves: €27m goal-machine who rejected Liverpool is an 'incredible' player. Try again?

In August, the The Independent claimed that Borussia Dortmund had 'accepted' a £15m Liverpool bid for Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who rejected a move to Anfield back in 2013. At that time, the presence of Jurgen Klopp swung things in Dortmund's favour, and it's clear that Klopp still holds the Armenian in very high regard.

In a new interview that appears in the newly-released ebook 'Reading The Game', Klopp raved:

"There is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the most talented players in the world. He possesses an incredible combination of speed and technique. There’s very, very few you can say that about".

Mkhitaryan - who cost Dortmund €27m - didn't live up to this lofty billing last season, but this year, he's on fire for Dortmund:

* 27 goals/assists in 21 games.

* Goal/assist every 65 minutes.

Absolutely stunning contribution so far, and seeing these figures merely underlines the comparatively abject underperformance of Lallana, Coutinho, Firmino, and Milner.

Klopp may have signed 'unbelievable' Mkhitaryan, but he didn't get the best out of him, and it could be argued that the German's incessant demand for physically draining running/pressing actually *restricted* Mkhitaryan's ability to perform.

Excessive injury problems were a key feature of Klopp's reign at Dortmund, and Mkhitaryan - who had a superb injury record prior to his move - also succumbed to a series of issues that disrupted his momentum.

Coincidence? I think not.

In a recent interview, Mkhitaryan specifically praised current Dortmund boss Thomas Tuchel for unleashing his potential, and seemed to suggest that he'd had more influence on his performance than Klopp:

"[Thomas] Tuchel has influenced me positively and I want to prove to everyone that I am a good player. I want to make the BVB fans happy. I never felt that it was a mistake to come here".

Dortmund recently branded the Liverpool transfer rumours as nonsense, but given Klopp's obvious admiration, the Reds are bound to be linked with Mkhitaryan once again at some point.

27 goals/assists in 21 games? Why can't any of Liverpool's attacking midfielders ever achieve stats like that?

Author: Jaimie K


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