Analysis: Timo Werner wants to join Liverpool. Here's how to accomodate him. 
(Photo by Lukas Schulze/Bundesliga/Bundesliga Collection via Getty Images)

There is a growing consensus that RB Leipzig's devastatingly clinical frontman Timo Werner is keen on a move to Liverpool this summer.

Publicly, Werner has certainly invited the Reds' advances. After scoring the winning goal in Leipzig's Champions League victory at Spurs last week, he admitted he was 'very proud' to be linked with the 'best team in the world'.

And privately, he has received offers from Barcelona and Manchester United, but is biding his time in the hope of escalated interest on Merseyside, according to The Athletic

The same article explains that a clause in the German's contract, which can be activated until the beginning of April, allows him to leave the club for £51million. In this market, that fee represents a remarkable bargain.

Werner is enjoying his finest season yet, having netted 27 goals in 33 matches and laid on a further 11. He has established himself as one of the hottest properties in the European game.

The move, then, appears a no-brainer for the Premier League champions-elect. 

But the complicating factor is the incumbent frontline, the envy of the footballing world.

Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann has already warned his prized asset that 'he will not get the status he has here in the first few years'. 

The importance of patience

If a deal was done, it is true that Werner would likely have to be content with an initial watching brief.

The onus would be on the German to prove to Jurgen Klopp that he is not only good enough, but also dedicated enough, to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Roberto Firmino at the centre of the Liverpool attack or, more realistically, to necessitate a change of system.

It could be a quiet start to life at Anfield, just as it was for Fabinho, a £40million summer signing from Monaco who would not start a game until 19 October.

Yet the schedule could open up opportunities, beyond conventional rotation.

It is not yet known whether Mohamed Salah will be on Olympic duty for Egypt this summer. Travelling to Japan could confine him to a fitness-building regime at Melwood for the opening weeks of the season, perhaps opening the door for Werner to stake his claim earlier than anticipated.

Liverpool might persuade Salah to turn down the call, but they can do little about the Africa Cup of Nations, restored to its mid-season berth.

Salah and Sadio Mane could be missing for virtually the whole of January and only return midway through February. 

Not only would that make Werner a starter, it would make him a critical outlet.

It should be noted that he has already expressed a willingness to accept steadily-escalating involvement.

"I know that Liverpool play a lot of good players and I have to improve myself and I need to learn many more things to get to that level and to play there," he conceded in an outrageously blatant come-and-get-me plea. 

Werner must adapt to Liverpool. But how can Liverpool adapt for Werner?

The most simple solution to what would be a scarcely paralleled selection dilemma would be to rotate Werner and Firmino depending on form and fitness. 

There could also be occasional changes out wide. Werner has the passing and dribbling ability to line-up on the flanks, as he has done on 58 occasions during his senior career, according to Transfermarkt.

Often, Firmino will drop deep and Mane and Salah will become de facto inside forwards, so a lack of aptitude when it comes to crossing wouldn't necessarily hurt Werner.

Arguably, though, he's good enough to spark a more lasting reshuffle.

Klopp has played 4-2-3-1 before and could do so again, with Fabinho and Jordan Henderson deployed as heavily-burdened defensive midfielders and Firmino positioned behind Werner as an effective no.10.

There is certainly a case to be made for the 'it ain't broke, so don't fix it' approach here, but Firmino has the creative capacity, and indeed the lung capacity, for a move into Klopp's midfield.

It would be a dynamic system, lending itself to in-game tweaks, but it has ominous potential.

Decision time

After a quiet, almost silent 2019 window and with a recently-announced £42million profit under their belts, Liverpool can spend big this summer.

They are, as Werner himself says, the best team in the world, but though Klopp will not want to alter his winning formula, he certainly can't afford to stand still.

And this is a signing which would signal an intent to remain a dominant force for years to come.

Klopp is set to issue his verdict on the move in the coming weeks, with negotiations likely to start in the middle of March if they are indeed pursued.

He's earned the unwavering trust of Liverpool fans whatever his course of action, but on the face of it at least, the case for signing Werner is overwhelming. 

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