Liverpool FC: 5 Skills Nuri Sahin Will Bring to the Reds

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistSeptember 9, 2012

Liverpool FC: 5 Skills Nuri Sahin Will Bring to the Reds

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    Brendan Rodgers bolstered his midfield options for Liverpool late in August after a transfer struggle with Arsenal to bring Real Madrid playmaker Nuri Sahin in on loan for the entire season.

    Despite having six central midfielders at his disposal when he arrived, Rodgers clearly identified the middle of the pitch as an area crucial to his plans and soon set about re-shaping it, bringing in Joe Allen as well as Sahin and offloading Charlie Adam and Jay Spearing.

    Sahin was a Bundesliga winner with Borussia Dortmund in 2011 and was one of the best players in the league, showcasing his abilities in a young, attack-minded and successful team.

    The Turkish international will spend 2012-13 at Anfield and has not ruled out making the move permanent if all goes well.

    Here are five key skills that Sahin will bring to Liverpool.

Passing Ability

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    First and foremost at the top of Nuri Sahin's list of attributes is his range and consistency of passing.

    With one of those fabled "cultured left foots," Sahin is equally adept at keeping the tempo of a game going with short, quick passes to a nearby teammate or looking to open the game up more by switching play over distance.

    He is an exemplary passer of the ball, concedes possession very infrequently and will go a long way towards helping Liverpool establish control in games, especially alongside Joe Allen in the centre.

    Sahin is not all left foot, though, as he is perfectly happy to control and move the ball on with his right when the need arises.

Set-Piece Delivery

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    What on earth happened to those "£10 million set pieces" of Charlie Adam's?

    The particular skill-set of the former Blackpool midfielder failed to materialise often enough at Anfield last season, and the Scot lasted just a single season at the club before being sold to Stoke City this summer.

    Though not entirely alone to blame within the squad, Adam was disappointing in particular with his delivery from corners, free kicks and even penalties last season.

    Sahin will help rectify that this season, with his consistency of delivery and left-footedness an alternative to Steven Gerrard or Joe Allen with their right.

Athletic Prowess

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    It might not be the first thing you think of when Nuri Sahin comes to mind, but the midfielder has excellent physical ability and the stamina to get up and down the pitch for the entire 90 minutes with no drop in performance.

    Of course, having not played regularly at the top level for over a year—Sahin made just four league appearances for Real Madrid last season—he will be some way short of his optimum level right now and will take some time to get back to his best, but as he gets more minutes under his belt, Sahin will hope to return to his prime condition within a month.

    Playing in the second midfield role for Liverpool will require an awful lot of energy expenditure as he moves up and down the pitch, supporting both attack and defence, and Sahin along with Steven Gerrard and Jonjo Shelvey have this ability in abundance.

Final Third Creativity and Vision

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    One thing Liverpool were accused of lacking last season was creativity in the final third.

    Luis Suarez was heavily relied upon for scoring goals as well as making chances for his teammates, but beyond him, there was at times scant evidence to suggest the Reds could open up opposition teams at will.

    Sahin is one of those brought in this summer to increase that ability significantly.

    Playing deeper in midfield, Sahin will dictate the rhythm and flow of the game, but at Liverpool—at least initially—he will play slightly further forward, giving him licence to get on the ball in the final third of the pitch.

    He will look to keep passing quickly, moving the opposition defence around and, when the time is right, play the killer through-ball to let one of his teammates have a chance on goal.

    Great vision and bags of ability to actually execute the pass will make Sahin a big asset to Liverpool this season.

Winning Mentality and Experience

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    There was one other key ingredient missing from Liverpool's team too often last year: that winning know-how and never-say-die attitude to dig in and get tough when things go wrong.

    Little by little, the Reds have to address that once more and get the makeup of the squad back to the days of the mental strength provided by genuine winners of the game such as Bolo Zenden, Alvaro Arbeloa, Craig Bellamy and Momo Sissoko.

    Maybe not all of those players were the finest in their position technically or would always start every match week in, week out—but all of them were winners.

    They played to win, and they did not simply roll over and give up. Too often last season, heads dropped in Red shirts at the slightest sign of an opponent being stronger or getting into their stride.

    Nuri Sahin, at just 24 years of age, has already landed major honours in three countries (though, he admittedly did not contribute overly to last season's league success) and has been named as the Bundesliga player of the season (2011) and won the Under-17 European Championships with Turkey in 2005.

    Winning is a habit, and Brendan Rodgers will do well to fill his squad with as many players with experience of this as possible.

    Adding Sahin is a good start.