Paul Merson overlooks Tottenham man after labelling ‘phenomenal’ Liverpool star as Prem’s best summer signing

Paul Merson Sky Sports pundit - pic via Sky Sports

Paul Merson Sky Sports pundit - pic via Sky Sports

Paul Merson has gone against popular opinion by naming a Liverpool star, rather than Tottenham playmaker James Maddison, as his signing of the season.

Dominik Szoboszlai cost the Reds an eye-watering £60m fee when Jurgen Klopp moved to meet the release clause in his deal at RB Leipzig this summer. His signing was quickly wrapped up with the 22-year-old Hungarian playmaker signing a deal at Anfield through to 2028.

Playing in an advanced midfield role, he has already made his impact felt, having scored one  – a magnificent strike last time out against Aston Villa – and making another in his four games so far.

Giving Liverpool a bit of something from midfield that they have arguably not had since Philippe Coutinho’s club-record sale to Barcelona in January 2018, Szoboszlai also has Merson excited too.

Indeed, most pundits have been quick to label Maddison as the Premier League’s best signing, having had a role in four goals (two scored, two assists) since his £40m move from Leicester.

Merson, however, speaking in his Sportskeeda column, is adamant the honour should go to Szoboszlai.

“The Premier League is back after what felt like one of the longest international breaks in history! The 2023-24 campaign may just be four game weeks old, but we’ve already seen a fair share of action and unexpected results, while a handful of new signings have laid down the marker for what’s to come.

“Dominik Szoboszlai has been the pick of the bunch, for me!”

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Merson backs Liverpool to beat Wolves

Merson continued: “I hadn’t seen much of the lad while he was at RB Leipzig but I have to say I’ve been so impressed by him, he hasn’t had a bad game yet!

“He scored a worldie the other day and does a bit of everything, he’s going to be phenomenal for Liverpool in the coming years.”

Looking ahead to Saturday lunchtime’s game against Wolves, Merson reckons Liverpool can claim a narrow win.

“A Saturday morning game after an international break is always a hard one to call as most players – at least from the so-called top six sides – go away to represent their countries. It acts as a bit of a leveler and is a huge advantage, so Liverpool will have to be wary of that.

“It’s particularly hard for South Americans like Alexis Mac Allister and Luis Diaz, but the Reds might be able to get away with rotating a few players. Mac Allister will probably start, but Liverpool can afford to bench Diaz as the likes of Cody Gakpo and Diogo Jota – who both scored for their countries in the international break – are waiting patiently on the wings.

“Jurgen Klopp and co have begun the 2023-24 campaign in good form but will have to carry on if they want to challenge Manchester City for the Premier League title. Wolves, on the other hand, have had a tough start to the season, so I can’t see them getting a result here. They don’t score too many goals, so even if Liverpool concede, they won’t find it difficult to outscore the home side. Prediction: Wolves 1 Liverpool 2.”

Plaudits piling up for Liverpool ‘machine’ Szoboszlai

Klopp, meanwhile, has already made clear he believes more is still to come from Szoboszlai after hailing his performance against Villa.

“He was the only one [after the red card] who really felt like he had power for more, because he was part of the double six and running everywhere. I had to hold him back a little bit. But, the general performance level he shows since he’s here is really, really good, to be honest, and the involvement in the third goal obviously super-important.”

Szoboszlai himself also feels happy at the form he’s shown so far, commenting: “I am feeling really, really great, I am really happy and I hope I can do even more here in front of the fans.

“We are there for each other and if somebody gets sent off then we change some of the things and I go back as a six. I cannot go forward as much, even the manager was screaming at me sometimes because I forget it. We fight for each other and we even scored after the red card.”

If Liverpool are to win at Wolves, they will have to overcome a bleak record from last season in 12.30pm kick-offs when they failed to win any of their six outings at that time during the 2022/23 campaign.

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