Wycombe Wanderers forward and Liverpool fan Adebayo Akinfenwa has exclusively told Anfield Watch that he thought Kalidou Koulibaly would have been a crazy signing for the club last summer.
Liverpool were reportedly interested in a €60m deal for Koulibaly from Napoli prior to the start of the 2020/21 campaign, although the club seemingly opted against making a concrete move for the centre-back.
Akinfenwa says that Koulibaly and Virgil van Dijk could have had a great partnership, with all the physical attributes they possess. Although, he goes on to add that he thinks Gomez and van Dijk will be the partnership for the foreseeable future and that it would have been impossible to predict the injuries suffered this season.
Speaking exclusively to Anfield Watch about Liverpool’s reported interest in Koulibaly last summer, Akinfenwa gave his thoughts on the link. “Koulibaly, I thought when Liverpool was linked with that I thought that would be a crazy partnership with (Virgil) van Dijk. He has pace, power, experience and I thought that would be crazy.
“Even though I think van Dijk and Gomez are the partnership for the foreseeable future, unfortunately, both of them are injured.
“Koulibaly, when that was coming in, I was like ooh you know what if Liverpool get him that could be real problematic and that just adds on to what Liverpool had done last season. But, boy, who would have foretold what would have happened with the defenders we have injured at the moment.”
ANFIELD WATCH VERDICT
Koulibaly has enjoyed an impressive career with Napoli in Italy and proven himself to be an excellent defender at Serie A level over the years. In all seven of his Serie A campaigns for Napoli to date, Koulibaly has averaged a WhoScored rating of 6.72 or higher and over 7.0 in five of the seven seasons. This shows that he has been a consistently top-class centre-back for the best part of a decade now, which backs up Akinfenwa’s comments about his experience and what he could bring to Liverpool.
On the flip side of that, though, there is the issue Akinfenwa also brings up that no one could have predicted the injury crisis this season. Liverpool have Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all sidelined until the end of the season, with the former two having been out since early in the campaign. If Liverpool had signed Koulibaly and none of those players picked up injuries, Jurgen Klopp could have had a tough time managing his defenders, as he could have stunted Gomez’s development by benching him for van Dijk and Koulibaly.
See more of our interview with Adebayo below.
I’m a 22-year-old football writer from Lowestoft. I produce, edit, and publish articles for Anfield Watch full-time.