New Liverpool signing Ben Davies has been praised for his quality on the ball by a striker who played against him in the Championship earlier this season.
Davies joined the Reds on deadline day in a surprise switch from Preston North End. He cost them just £500,000, although that fee could rise to £1.6million in add-ons.
Davies was brought in to bolster Jurgen Klopp’s defensive options. That’s with Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all unavailable long-term.
Although he is yet to make his debut, he is understood to be settling in well at Anfield.
Stepping up from a lower division, it is unclear how the centre back will cope at the top level. But one of his former opponents, Adebayo Akinfenwa, has identified one area of his game that could help make him a success in the Premier League.
Akinfenwa most recently played against Davies in Wycombe’s draw with Preston on 5th December. And reflecting on that game, one particular attribute of Davies’ came to mind.
“I think he did alright, we drew that game 2-2,” he told Anfield Watch.
“I think, and I’ve heard his manager say it, he’s very good on the ball. [He’s] comfortable on the ball and he likes striding out with it, which I hate because it means I have to try and chase him so it’s no fun for me.”
Davies’ ability with his feet could see him push for a starting spot at Liverpool. Without van Dijk, they have lacked a natural ball-playing central defender and have struggled at times without him.
However, he will have to push his way past the likes of Jordan Henderson, Fabinho and Ozan Kabak to earn an opportunity.
Liverpool move will improve Davies
Akinfenwa also believes Davies will become a better player as a result of his move to Merseyside.
The 25-year-old has made 250 career appearances in the lower leagues and was considered a solid Championship defender.
He is untried in the top flight though and there are questions over whether he will get chances at Liverpool due to that.
But Akinfenwa believes training alongside top class players every day will drag his level up to standard.
“Listen, you put yourself around better players, and this is no disrespect to anybody at Preston or in the Championship, you play with the world-class players Liverpool have got and you would like to think he will develop and acclimatise himself,” he said.
“So, look. He’s young, or youngish, so fingers crossed he does well for Liverpool!”