Lloyd Kelly scout report: Should Liverpool sign the youngster?
According to The Sun, Premier League sides Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United are interested in signing Bristol City defender Lloyd Kelly. The Merseysiders are believed to be leading the race to land the youngster’s signature.
The Bristol Post reports that Jurgen Klopp’s side is believed to have sent out scouts to watch the 20-year-old in action during the Robins’ 2-0 defeat away at Leeds United in November.
But who is the highly rated defender and why is he attracting interest from the top-flight clubs?
Who is Lloyd Kelly?
Born in Bristol on October 6th, 1998, the athletic 20-year-old defender came through the Bristol City youth academy. He made his debut in a 5-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle in the Carabao Cup in August 2017.
Kelly succeeded Joe Bryan in the Robins’ starting XI, following his summer switch to Fulham. He has been one of the breakthrough stars of this Championship campaign, having started 16 league games under manager Lee Johnson. He has scored once in City’s 4-2 loss away at West Brom in September and was heavily involved all three goals during their 3-2 win at Ipswich Town.
This highlights the youngster’s attacking intent, a prerequisite to play in Klopp’s gegenpressing system. Kelly also made several appearances for the England U20 side before earning his first cap with the U21s last month. The Bristol-born defender played over an hour in the 5-1 victory over Denmark in November.
He has also trained with the senior England squad and Bristol City will be in a strong negotiating position should they decide to sell Kelly. The Robins recently tied him down to a new contract which runs until 2021 – with the option of a further year.
What is his playing style like?
According to Whoscored, Kelly has averaged 1.4 tackles per game, recording 0.9 interceptions and making 2.4 clearances as well. The youngster is also a threat while surging forward with 1.2 successful dribbles per game, 0.3 key passes per game and 0.6 shots per game.
Kelly can dribble, cross and play long balls over the top to attacking players. He is also strong in the air, standing at 6ft 3in. He is a good and intelligent reader of the game and has impressive concentration levels for his age. His long legs allow him to challenge for the ball and make interceptions by throwing out his left foot while staying balanced.
He has already featured 18 times for the Robins this season which is more than the 11 appearances he made during the whole of the last term.
Should Liverpool sign him?
Having dropped out of Jurgen Klopp’s starting line-up following Andrew Robertson’s emergence, Alberto Moreno will be out of contract in the summer. The Spaniard could leave as a free agent and the Anfield club are in dire need of a new left-back. The highly-rated Championship youngster fits the bill perfectly to succeed the ill-fitting Spaniard in providing cover for Robertson.
The versatile England U21 international can also play as a centre-back. Both Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip have struggled to convince and seem far from being Virgil van Dijk’s long-term partners at the heart of Liverpool’s defence. Joe Gomez has been impressive this season but Kelly could provide cover at centre-back as well, having played there three times already this season.