Liverpool warned Anfield-linked star ‘lacks guts’; Klopp admits debutant had ‘absolutely no clue’

Joe Williams
Liverpool target Bakayoko.
Liverpool are being linked with Johan Bakayoko.

It is too early for Premier League side Liverpool to consider a move for PSV Eindhoven’s Johan Bakayoko, according to a Dutch journalist.

A report on Saturday claimed that the Reds have ‘set their sights’ on the Belgium international after he contributed nine goals and six assists in 39 appearances last season for PSV.

It is understood that Liverpool are ‘leading the race for his services’ this summer with the potential for the transfer to be one of the ‘unexpected surprises’ of the final two weeks of the transfer window.

But Dutch journalist Wim Kieft doubts the 20-year-old is ready to step up to the Premier League and not prepared for life at Anfield just yet.

“Why? Because you think you can pick him up now for €20m or €25m, and otherwise pay €60m in two years,” Keift told Voetbalzone.

“Bakayoko has qualities as a right winger, but something different is asked in the Premier League than against FC Utrecht or Sturm Graz. In the encounter with the Austrians in Eindhoven, he continuously overtook his direct opponent.

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“In one match he passed more often than in all his matches for PSV put together. Sturm Graz had not adjusted sufficiently to Bakayoko.

“He plays more safe when teams adapt to him. He often lacks guts, while he possesses the qualities to go inside and out. The latter is ideal for Luuk de Jong. A little more initiative wouldn’t hurt. But Liverpool at this stage of his career…”

Japan international Wataru Endo made his Liverpool debut in their 3-1 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday following his £18m move from Stuttgart – but Jurgen Klopp acknowledged after the match that it was “no surprise” that he flopped on his Premier League debut.

On Endo’s debut, Klopp said: “Horrible [circumstances]. First game, coming in, I think we saw that Harvey [Elliott], who’s in a really good moment, came on in this game as well and was running left and right and the heart rate was 240.

“Pretty much the same for Endo. The two days he had – no surprise! He did absolutely alright, but he came there and had absolutely no clue what to do.

“I spoke this morning with him about how, with 11 players, his position would look. A 4-4-1 was not involved in our conversation. That’s it now.

“I don’t think he slept a lot in the last two nights, so he came on and threw everything he had onto the pitch. That’s it.”