At the risk of counting chickens before they hatch, Liverpool and Norwich fans will experience contrasting emotions at the end of the season.
The Reds will surely celebrate their first league title in 30 years while the Canaries are likely to return to the Championship.
Such a contrast wouldn’t usually produce a transfer link but in Emiliano Buendia, Norwich have a player who would thrive at Anfield.
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Teemu Pukki’s goals have given East Anglians reasons to be cheerful this season but it’s their versatile winger who has been their key performer.
The 23-year-old is the only player in the Premier League with 50+ tackles, 50+ chances created, and 50+ take-ons completed.
It’s this dual purpose that may pique Jurgen Klopp’s interest.
Buendia’s chance creation this season is only bettered by Kevin De Bruyne — the Belgian is one of only two players (alongside Trent Alexander-Arnold) with more assists at this stage of the campaign.
His tally of 50 tackles puts him ahead of noted battlers: Scott McTominay, Luka Milivojevic, Oriol Romeu, Addoulaye Doucoure, Leander Dendoncker, Jordan Henderson and Fernandinho.
James Ward-Prowse is the only other remotely attack-minded with more tackles than Buendia this season.
The Argentine is effective with the ball and hard-working without it — he fits Klopp’s favoured profile.
You only have to look at Liverpool’s most recent signing, Takumi Minamino, to see that the German continues to value players capable in both disciplines of the game.
Liverpool’s recent recruitment history suggests they’re a club willing to show faith in relegation-zone talent.
In the summer of 2018, they signed Xherdan Shaqiri after he was relegated with Stoke.
The year prior, they snapped up Andrew Robertson from Hull for just £8million after the Tigers dropped out of the top flight.
And in 2016, Georginio Wijnaldum traded Tyneside for Merseyside after finishing 18th with Newcastle.
Some would argue Shaqiri has been nothing more than a squad player for Liverpool but there can be doubt about the success of the other two examples.
Robertson has established himself as one of the best left-backs in the world (possible the standalone best) while Wijnaldum’s 2018/19 earned him a Ballon d’Or nomination.
Not only is Bunedia exhibiting a style of play that suits the champions elect, the potential transfer follows an established pathway.
No doubt Man City and the chasing pack will seek reinforcements if Liverpool stroll to glory as expected.
Swooping Buendia for a reduced rate while their rivals fork out tens of millions would reaffirm the more organic nature of Klopp’s success.
Don’t buy big, buy smart.
NEXT: The story of the footballing decade in five alternative moments
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