Who is Vilius Piliukaitis? All you need to know about this Blackburn ace
The 17-year-old midfielder has been making all the right noises for the Rovers’ U18 side this season and seems to have attracted serious attention from a number of heavy-hitters across England. In fact, the likes Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur also monitoring him (h/t TEAMtalk).
However, TEAMtalk goes on to claim that Manchester United and Liverpool that are leading the chase for the Lithuanian.
Amidst so much interest surrounding the teenage sensation, let’s take a closer look at what makes Vilius Piliukaitis such a special talent;
Born on March 10, 2001, Piliukaitis began his footballing journey with FK Panezevys back in his homeland of Lithuania. The midfielder was part of the Lithuanian National Football Academy for years before he was snapped up by Blackburn Rovers earlier in the summer.
Before his move to Blackburn, there was interest in him from Spurs as well. In fact, the player was believed to be keen on joining the North Londoners. However, the Lilywhites delayed their move and in the meantime, the midfielder ended up joining the Rovers. (h/t 15min.lt)
Since his move to Blackburn, the 17-year-old has made four appearances and has impressed heavily, scoring three goals and setting up three more. His first goal for the Rovers’ U18 side came in a 1-1 draw against Manchester City on 13th October 2018, where he was adjudged the Man of the Match.
Following that, he grabbed a double and assisted two more as the Rovers’ youth side thrashed West Bromwich Albion U18s 4-1 earlier this month.
Piliukaitis was part of the Lithuanian U17 side that participated in the qualifying phases of the UEFA U17 European Championships. The midfielder scored one goal in his three appearances but failed to lead his team to the main tournament phase. He has trained with the U18s of the national team but hasn’t made his debut at that age group yet.
Style of Play
An attack-minded central midfielder by trade, Piliukaitis relishes the No.10 role but can also be used as a traditional No.8. The midfielder is physically well-developed and strong for someone his age and brings in an aggressive mentality to the field.
Always looking to drive forward from the middle of the park, the 17-year-old possesses the pace and the dribbling skills to get past opponents with ease. The Lithuanian youth international also puts in the hard yards without the ball, impressing with his work rate.
Naturally, for someone his age, Piliukaitis is still a raw talent and needs to fine tune a few aspects of his game – particularly his decision-making in the final third and the ability to retain possession in tight spaces. But judging from what he has shown at Blackburn so far, it is not surprising that big clubs are lining up for his signature.
What does the future hold?
When clubs like Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea etc., come calling, it is extremely hard for a player to say no. However, given how well he is developing at Blackburn, Piliukaitis should be in no hurry to jump ships at the moment.
At this rate, the midfielder could break into the Rovers’ first-team in the near future, which would not be the case at any of the big clubs. Hence, it would be wise for the 17-year-old to stay put with Blackburn for another season or two, before securing his big move.
This German winger with £21.5m release clause has the ideal skill-set to prosper for Liverpool – Agreed?
Liverpool Opinion: Julian Brandt will as a new dimension to the Reds attack
According to a recently published report by British news outlet the Mirror, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side are said to be ready to launch a sly summer move for Bayer Leverkusen’s star winger Julian Brandt, as they look to strengthen their squad in order to maintain the high level of football that’s currently being played at Anfield.
It has been suggested that Julian Brandt has a rather tiny release clause that’s attached to his contract making him easy prey for any of Europe’s high-profile sides. Still only 22, the youngster can be signed up by any team that’s willing to shell out the £21.5m that his contract itself demands.
Considering that Brandt is one of Germany’s brightest young stars and has been touted for massive things in the future, this amount seems quite diminutive but none of the European superpowers will be complaining about the price as they know exactly what they’ll be getting if they do sign their man.
Born in the magnificent German city of Bremen, Brandt began his youth career playing for local clubs Borgfeld and Oberneuland. It was finally in 2011 that he earned his first big break and was signed by a highly-rated Wolfsburg side.
Being a team that were once challenging for various titles across Europe, a move to Wolfsburg was definitely the best move with the player’s best interests in mind. Despite making the switch back in back in 2011 though, it wasn’t until recently that his name was brought under the spotlight.
This happened only he made a permanent switch to Bundesliga rivals Bayer Leverkusen in the winter of 2014. After this transfer, his rise to supremacy happened at an alarming rate and his exploits for club and country certainly haven’t gone unnoticed over the last few seasons.
Since making the move to Bayern Leverkusen all the way back in 2014, the German international left-winger has played in over 200 appearances for the club already while he’s even managed to score 39 goals and picked up a further 48 assists as well.
This season, he has played in 28 Bundesliga games for Leverkusen while he’s managed to score 4 goals and assist 11. His numbers for Germany are quite good too as they read 24 caps and 2 goals since making his debut for Germany back in 2016.
Since then, he has become a fairly regular member of the German National side and isn’t left out of the selection process often. His pace and dribbling skills have been renowned for a while. His excellent ability to pick out passes from large distances will also be a boost to Liverpool.
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With a lot of the pressure generally falling on the shoulders of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, it is essential for Klopp to invest in another bright young player who can help take some of the load off their shoulders. Given his rather laughable release clause, there’s no reason why Liverpool shouldn’t go for him as he could be a top signing for the club.
FPL Tips: Here are our best captain picks for GW35 – including this high-octane Arsenal superstar
Premier League Opinion: Fantasy Premier League Captain Picks – GW35
This gameweek of Premier League football boasts a double gameweek for a few of the clubs who missed out on games over the course of the season.
While there a couple of very interesting ties, this week has the potential to effectively decide the title as Pep Guardiola’s men will face their biggest test of the season yet in the coming weeks.
Still in pole position if they’re able to win all their games, Manchester City have two difficult games lined up for the week.
Arsenal are a club who’s fixtures look good on paper but securing 4th place certainly won’t be a facile job. This week, they are set to host Crystal Palace before travelling to the Molineux to face Wolves later in the week. Chelsea have just one fixture on the week and that’s on Monday night when they will be visited by Sean Dyche’s Burnley side.
United’s other fixture is against Everton on the weekend while Tottenham have to face Brighton in midweek. Liverpool’s fixture list will certainly fill the Reds fans with confidence as in the midst of all these potential season-changing matches, they travel to lowly Cardiff City who are on the verge of relegation.
Watford and Southampton both have two games on the week as well making them potential points scorers for the week as well. Considering that City have their most challenging week ahead of them, depending on City players as most people usually do could teen out to be a grave mistake.
Here are the 3 potential Captain picks for the Fantasy Premier League’s gameweek 35 set of fixtures:
The Gabonese forward has been the Gunners’ best player and there hasn’t been any sign of him slowing down as we head into the last few weeks of the competition.
Consider that Arsenal have two games to play this week as well, betting on Aubameyang to deliver the goods seems like a fairly decent bet.
Probably one the least picked captains of the week, Andre Gray has an amazing opportunity in the coming week and if he does make full use of it, captaining
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Liverpool are set to face off against Cardiff City this weekend and although the Bluebirds are mathematically still in with a chance of maintaining Premier League status. The likelihood of that happening quite low as the challenge set by the Liverpool front-line including Mo Salah could prove to be too much for the minnows to deal with.
2 key passes, 6 tackles – This Liverpool star ran the show for the Reds in their emphatic 4-1 win over Porto
Liverpool Opinion: Sadio Mane starred in the 4-1 demolition of Porto
Liverpool progressed to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Portuguese giants FC Porto at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday night, having won the first leg at Anfield 2-0 last week.
Mo Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane all got their names on the scoresheet as the rampant Reds made easy work of Porto away from home to set up a semi-final showdown with Barcelona.
Jurgen Klopp’s side arguably had the easiest of the draws in the quarterfinals and few would have expected them to have too many problems in overcoming Porto. After a neat 2-0 victory at Anfield, the Reds were already in pole position to make it to the last 4 and they did so in style.
Well known as one of the giant killers in European football, Porto have always given top-quality opposition a tough time on their home turf and Liverpool found themselves under the cosh in the opening 35 minutes or so.
The likes of Jesus Manuel Corona and Yacine Brahimi created a lot of openings but Moussa Marega wasn’t able to capitalise on those chances. Porto had the lion share of possession in the first half and edged Liverpool out both in terms of the number of passes and shots on target, though the Reds did well to weather the early storm.
Liverpool just needed a single goal to put the tie beyond Porto’s reach and it was Sadio Mane who stepped up and delivered the goods, not for the first time in the season.
The Senegalese ace has been in terrific form this season and stretched every inch of his diminutive frame to put the Reds 3-0 up on aggregate midway through the first half.
Although Mane’s opener didn’t dampen Porto’s spirits, Mo Salah’s clinical finish off Trent Alexander-Arnold’s delightful pass in the second half seemed to set the cat amongst the pigeons for the home side. Roberto Firmino headed it in from Henderson’s lobbed pass after Eder Militao had pulled one back for the hosts.
Mane then timed his jump to perfection to flick it on from James Milner’s corner to assist Virgil van Dijk, who scored Liverpool’s fourth of the night to ensure that the scoreline looked flattering despite a pretty average display from last year’s finalists.
Well, Mane, Firmino and Salah all scored in the 4-1 win but it was the Senegalese international who was once again the pick of the front trio, as he has been so often this season. Mane registered a goal and an assist on the night to take his tally to a staggering 22 goals and 5 assists in all competitions.
His goal in the first half might not be the most spectacular of his tally this season but the 27-year-old deserves all the credit for showcasing wonderful predatory instincts inside the box to get into the right position and his stretch to guide the ball into the net spoke volumes of his athleticism, high levels of fitness and hunger to score goals.
Mane has always been praised for his work ethics and he contributed a lot defensively as well, on a night where Liverpool struggled to keep hold of the ball like they usually do. He once again reminded the fans what a perfect team player he is and used every bit of his stamina to track back and cope with Porto’s attacking threat.
The Senegalese ace played a total of 20 passes at an accuracy percentage of 70, including 2 key passes and 1 successful long ball, which is a little below his usual standards but good enough considering that Liverpool didn’t have much of the ball in the first half.
Mane registered 3 shots, 3 dribbles and as many as 6 successful tackles over the course of the 90 minutes, stats which would even make a centre-back proud.
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Mane proved his worth with another useful and gritty performance in Portugal and he will hold the key to Liverpool’s success when they lock horns with Barcelona on the 30th of April.
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