The Reds have been watching Austria’s Martin Hinteregger….
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Liverpool sent scouts last week to watch young Austrian centre-half Martin Hinteregger win his second cap during a friendly against Uruguay, reports the Guardian.
The 21-year-old, currently on the books at Red Bull Salzburg, played the full 90 minutes, and would have impressed the Reds’ scouts immensely with a composed performance in which he kept the brilliant Luis Suarez largely quiet.
Hinteregger is tall, and prides himself on his excellent aerial ability. Like most modern centre-halves though, he is comfortable with the ball at his feet. Because of his above average technical ability, he can hold on to the ball at the back, before carrying it into midfield and playing shorter passes into the holding midfielders.
In this respect, he suits Brendan Rodgers’ footballing philosophy perfectly. Rodgers demands his defenders keep possession of the football instead of aimlessly playing it long, and Hinteregger already prefers to play this way.
The Austrian though has already interested Arsenal, who similarly want to strengthen their defence in the summer with club captain Thomas Vermaelen expected to leave, possibly to Manchester United.
With the Reds experiencing defensive difficulties though, Hinteregger could shore up a problem area at Anfield. Kolo Toure has been error prone, and Daniel Agger and Mamadou Sakho have suffered with injuries all season long. Youngster Tiago Ilori wasn’t given a single minute of first-team football before being shipped out on loan to Granada, and while Martin Skrtel has unarguably been Liverpool’s most consistent defender, he’s more than capable of making costly mistakes because of his robust style.
If the Reds can establish a stable defence, with their brilliant attackers, they could be genuine title contenders next term.
This season, Hinteregger’s made 21 starts in the Austrian top flight, and started seven matches in the Europa League as well. He’s picked up ten yellow cards in all, but has averaged 2.4 interceptions per match, and 2,4 tackles every game too.
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