Pitchside Europe

Vibrant, exciting Konoplyanka is just what Liverpool need

Liverpool have been linked with Dnipro winger Yevhen Konoplyanka and are reportedly in talks with the Ukrainian club about bringing him to Merseyside before the transfer window shuts tomorrow night.

But what kind of player is Konoplyanka and how would he fit in at Liverpool?

The Ukrainian is a fantastic winger, first and foremost. He has exceptional ball control and can skip past full-backs with ease, shown perfectly by his performances against Glen Johnson and Kyle Walker when Ukraine played England. He tore them apart and even scored a wonderful goal at Wembley.

Skipping in from the left-hand side, Konoplyanka unleashed a swirling effort that beat Joe Hart and nestled into the top corner of the net. His possible new team-mate, Steven Gerrard, could only watch in awe as his attempted block wasn't enough.

Konoplyanka is capable of turning full-backs inside out all day long. His mesmerising skill and extreme turn of pace is what makes him such a dangerous opponent. It is no surprise that Brendan Rodgers looks to be bringing his summer target forward to help try and secure Champions League qualification.

With Liverpool in fourth place and struggling defensively, it is a surprise that defenders and midfielders are not being targeted. Instead, the two players they have come close to signing this window are wider attacking players.

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Liverpool certainly don't struggle when it comes to scoring as only Manchester City have scored more than the Reds in the Premier League this season. They needed to fill gaps in central midfield and defence, especially the full-back areas, but Rodgers wants another attacking player.

There is a saying that has become more common since Mesut Ozil signed for Arsenal last summer: when a good player becomes available, you sign him. It doesn't always matter if the squad needs that particular player, but you can't turn down the chance to recruit them if they become available - just like Konoplyanka.

The winger was most impressive for Dnipro in the Europa League group stages before Christmas. He played five matches, scoring three times and creating five chances. Those created chances also wielded one assist.

He attempted 38 take-ons in those five matches, averaging 7.6 attempted take-ons per match, which is incredibly high. He completed 19, giving himself a 50% success rate.

This screenshot was taken from the Squawka Football App - Download it here

The 24-year-old took 13 shots and hit the target with a fantastic 77% of them, converting slightly over 23%. Impressive figures for a wide man who loves cutting in on his right foot.

For a right-footed player stationed on the left wing, one would expect Konoplyanka to come infield more often. However, due to his ability to cross, pass and shoot just as well with his left as with his right, Konoplyanka often sprints down the touchline and stretches into the penalty box - something Raheem Sterling is brilliant at on the right-hand side.

Should Konoplyanka sign, it gives Rodgers the opportunity to experiment with his attacking players. So far this season, he's only been able to regularly use Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling.

Rodgers has often used Jordan Henderson in attack but with injuries to key midfielders, he will need to be stationed a little deeper. Konoplyanka's arrival would also give Rodgers the chance to rotate and rest his key attacking players, keeping them fresh for the run-in towards the end of the season.

He's a vibrant, exciting attacking talent who Liverpool fans will love. An attacking trio of Coutinho, Sterling and Konoplyanka possibly supplying the lethal pairing of Suarez and Sturridge is exciting indeed, but it looks set to happen.

Konoplyanka is an extremely talented attacker who will only improve Liverpool's attack should he complete his move to Merseyside.