Premier League • England

Ruben Amorim: Liverpool manager target’s top five Sporting CP signings amid Klopp replacement rumours

Ruben Amorim has benefited from having Pedro Porro and Viktor Gyokeres at Sporting Lisbon

Ruben Amorim has benefited from having Pedro Porro and Viktor Gyokeres at Sporting Lisbon

Sporting CP boss Ruben Amorim is fast becoming one of the frontrunners to take over from Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager.

A big part of what has made Amorim so successful for Sporting is the smart signings of their excellent recruitment team. Here are five of the best signings under Amorim and which players could play the same role as them in the current Liverpool squad.

Pedro Goncalves

Pedro Goncalves signed from Famalicao in the summer of 2020/21 for €13.5m. At the time Goncalves had played as mainly a winger but his development at Sporting has made him much more versatile.

Goncalves has had a really important role in the Sporting squad since joining, being arguably their most consistent and best player across the past 3-4 years. The skilful intelligent winger has great passing ability and shooting from distance too.

Last season, Amorim moved Goncalves (also known as Pote) into central midfield to play as the more advanced midfielder in a double pivot. Pote transitioned seamlessly. Playing in midfield allowed Pote to drive with the ball through central areas and create for those in attack.

Pote now plays further forward back on the wings but this versatility is invaluable for Sporting. During his time at Sporting Pote has played 169 games, scoring 74 goals and getting 48 assists. A very impressive return.

If Amorim was to join Liverpool, Harvey Elliott is someone who could play a similar role to Pote due to his profile and ability to play centrally or wide.

Pedro Porro

Pedro Porro signed from Manchester City in the summer of 2020/21 on a two-year loan and was signed permanently for €8.77m in the summer of 2022. Porro was essential for how Amorim wanted Sporting to play because he uses attacking wing-backs who provide the width in the team. Therefore, Porro would bomb down the right-hand side whipping in crosses and even entering the box to score goals himself.

Porro’s delivery and directness from wide was a big part of them creating chances in that system. In 98 games for Sporting, Porro got 20 assists and even scored 12 goals too. Since, he’s moved to Tottenham on an initial loan with a €5m fee and an obligation to buy for €40m the following summer (2023). So overall Porro went for a €36.23m profit which funded their other transfers.

At Liverpool the obvious option to play a role like Porro under Amorim would be Trent Alexander-Arnold. Trent’s delivery and directness down the line would be a throwback to how he played when he first broke through under Klopp compared to Trent now inverting into midfield so often. Academy star Conor Bradley would also be a solid rotation/back-up option too.

Manuel Ugarte

Uruguayan defensive midfielder Manuel Ugarte signed for Sporting from Famalicao in the summer of 2021 for €12.5m. At the time Sporting had highly experienced consistent defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha starting in their midfield. Ugarte would come in to be Palhinha’s understudy at first and allow the Portugal international to get rested.

But Ugarte showed the same level of tenacity off the ball to win the ball and impress so much. When Palhinha was sold to Fulham for €21m, Ugarte just stepped up as his replacement.

In 2022/23 Ugarte took massive strides forward being one of the best ball winners in Europe statistically. His impressive performances were key in Sporting’s Europa League cup run and made them a harder team to beat. He’s since become a regular in the Uruguay national team under manager Marcelo Bielsa and even moved to PSG in the summer for a whopping €60m – another big profit for Sporting of €47.5m.

Looking in Liverpool’s current squad they lack a defensive destroyer in the mould of Ugarte so if Amorim came in maybe they’d look to bring one in. However, when Ugarte left Amorim replaced him with Morten Hjulmand. Hjulmand is interestingly a slightly different profile – still good at defending, but he’s much better on the ball and a very progressive player. This, Liverpool do have. All of Stefan Bacjetic, Alexis Mac Allister and Wataru Endo could fulfil this role.

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Marcus Edwards

Former Tottenham academy winger Marcus Edwards signed for Sporting when he was 23 from Vitoria Guimaraes in the 2022 January window. Edwards cost Sporting €7.75m which now looks like an absolute steal.

The Englishman has been a consistent performer for a while now for Sporting and made that right winger spot in the team his own. In 104 games Edwards has scored 21 goals, got 25 assists and did it all being such an important player in their attack.

As a right winger Edwards has super close control, loves to take on players and will cut inside onto his stronger left foot. Obviously, Mo Salah is so similar to Edwards in this regard but just to a much higher level. If Amorim became Liverpool manager, then Salah would be the natural option for the right-wing. But this all depends on whether Salah stays or not. If he leaves, they’ll need another right winger for sure.

Viktor Gyokeres

Swedish striker Viktor Gyokeres is the talk of the town right now. His name is being spoken about as an option for some of the top clubs in the Premier League and top European clubs. It’s easy enough to forget he was only signed in the summer from Coventry City for €21m.

Gyokeres was a really important signing for Amorim’s Sporting side because despite having such a well organised team they lacked a deadly goalscorer up top. Other strikers like Paulinho were good but not exceptional. On the other hand, Gyokeres has been insane for Sporting this season.

Since he’s signed this summer, he’s played 39 games and scored a crazy 36 goals and got 14 assists. That goal return is ridiculous and considering the season isn’t over, yet he could still get several more. Gyokeres could definitely push for 50 goals this season which would be mental in his first year.

Sporting’s main man up top is now being linked with the likes of Arsenal and Chelsea for €90m+, if that happened it would represent another piece of shred business from the Portuguese giants.

At Liverpool the obvious option to fulfil the same role as a hard-working outlet striker who’s physical and runs the channels is Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez. Nunez has his games where he’s struggling to find the back if the next but there’s no doubt about him being a creator of chaos. Darwin works hard for the team and stretches defences so much. With a good coach and time, Nunez can become a pivotal player for Liverpool.

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