Liverpool’s right-back position is a spot that looks set for the next decade, with Trent Alexander-Arnold’s sharp rise since his debut back in 2016 against Tottenham Hotspur propelling him to world-class status.
But with a season that can easily exceed 50 games, a backup option is vital. The Reds sent Neco Williams out on loan to Fulham at the end of the January transfer window, leaving Klopp to shuffle between James Milner and Joe Gomez as the two cover solutions.
The problem is that neither can replicate what Alexander-Arnold brings to the Liverpool team. There are no concerns over Gomez’s defensive attributes, nor James Milner’s ability to position himself efficiently and deliver promising quality crosses into the box, but there’s just something missing — that was evident during the Reds recent 3-1 win over Norwich City.
Jürgen Klopp’s side works best when a player offers a genuine threat going forward from the wing-back position. That’s something which Kostas Tsimikas has been able to do this season, and there is now a chance to match that on the right — with Juventus star Juan Cuadrado.
A compatriot of Luis Díaz, the 33-year-old would settle in quickly at Anfield, and he is set to be out of contract with Juventus this summer.
Though the Serie A side are looking to extend its current terms, Liverpool can take advantage with an official approach to persuade him with a pre-contract agreement.
Despite his age, Cuadrado has remained a key player for Juventus this season, making 31 appearances in all competitions; a rate of games that displays a level of fitness more than capable of joining the Reds as a cover option. He could provide ample cover for Alexander-Arnold on a short-term contract, taking the pressure off the 23-year-old’s shoulders to remain fit throughout the season.
FBref reveals that the Colombian international is one of the best full-backs in the world at transitioning the ball forwards through passing and dribbling, with his natural skilful style of play coming from his time playing as a right-winger.
While he may not be as accurate a crosser of the ball as Alexander-Arnold, the system he currently plays in doesn’t allow him to get into the spaces that Klopp’s would. Liverpool’s front three creates acres of space for the wingbacks, and that is where he could thrive.
Where opponent defenders feel at ease when defending a run from Milner or Gomez, figuring out how to deal with Cuadrado would propose a new challenge.
Of course, such a signing would likely have implications on the future of Neco Williams. Many fans questioned why he was sent out on loan to Fulham. The Wales international has also been deployed as a winger this season, which could suggest that Klopp isn’t fully convinced on him as a right-back.
In an era in which the Reds are now competing for every competition that they are in, possessing strong cover in all positions can be the difference in navigating through the congested fixture lists on the way to trophy success.
And with the Colombian international is now in the final stages of his career, from the perspective of wanting to win as many trophies as possible, Liverpool is the perfect destination — it is a move that makes sense for all involved.