Only referee could stop Dominik Szoboszlai as Hungary offers Liverpool an Andy Robertson 'fix'


He may look the same, he may run the same and he may hit the ball the same as well. But the Dominik Szoboszlai we see running around in a Hungarian shirt is a little bit different from what Liverpool fans are accustomed to at Anfield.

Naturally, he is the captain of his country, and the quality of the Hungarian national team is incomparable to the level of world-class talent Liverpool possesses. That means Szoboszlai often has to refine his game, cover more ground, and dictate the play even more than he has been doing for Liverpool.

On Saturday night, Liverpool’s number eight faced arguably his biggest challenge yet as captain, facing a strong Serbian side on home soil in front of a sell-out crowd.

Living up to the boisterous atmosphere Szoboszlai naturally thrived in that environment and delivered key contributions that helped Hungary triumph in the end. Liverpool.com was in attendance for the game. Here are three things we spotted.

Szoboszlai has stood out with his energy for Liverpool ever since he arrived at the club. But way before he came to Anfield, he’d been doing that same kind of pressing and covering large swathes of ground for the Hungarian national team.

Saturday night was no exception. The Hungarian ran his socks off, often covering for his teammates and bombing up and down the pitch until the very dying embers of the game.

Serbia struggled to contain him. The only time he was really stopped in his tracks is when he collided with the referee, who sent him sprawling to the ground as Hungary surged forward in the 67th minute.

An irate Szoboszlai thumped the ground in frustration but with Hungary having retained the ball and capable of mustering an attack the referee never blew his whistle. Instead, he offered an apology a few seconds later when the ball had gone out of play.

Taking goal kicks

When we say Szoboszlai was everywhere on the pitch for Hungary we mean it. He didn’t just cover ground in midfield he even diligently took goal kicks on a few occasions with Hungary trying to maximize his extreme kicking power.

It’s not an experiment we are likely to see at Liverpool anytime soon, especially with Alisson’s prowess at distribution and it didn’t really reap Hungary too many benefits either.

When Szoboszlai took the goal kicks, he was missed in the middle of the park or to get on the end of knock-downs to latch onto loose balls and instigate a new attack.

Andy Robertson solution offered

At times this season, Andy Robertson has struggled in defensive transitions to cover his left-back role and make it back in time to his rightful position. With Trent Alexander-Arnold inverting into midfield that’s been exposed even more acutely at times. But Szoboszlai could offer a solution based on his performance for Hungary on Saturday night.

While he covered most of the pitches, the Hungarian often popped up on the left side of midfield where he diligently covered for Hungary’s left wing-back, Milos Kerkez. When he bombed forward to join the attack, Szoboszlai was constantly slotting into the left-back position and making sure Hungary’s left flank was not left exposed.

For Liverpool this season, Szoboszlai has been mostly used in the right-sided midfield role but Jürgen Klopp did deploy him on the left in his first-ever game for Liverpool in pre-season. He switched across there when Curtis Jones was suspended for Brighton too.

Based on his showing against Serbia, playing him there again alongside Robertson could be an interesting experiment and one that could easily provide a solution to a lot of Liverpool’s vulnerabilities with the former Hull City star's natural inclination being to bomb forward. Szoboszlai can do the running to get back in and plug the gap.

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