It’s not a surprise that Liverpool are constantly looking for defenders. The next name on the long list of young defensive talents is Tiago Llori, a 20 year old centre back playing for Sporting Clube de Portugal, mostly for their B side, and for the younger Portugal national teams, hoping that he can be one of those that will fill the shoes of the departing Jamie Carragher.
Looking at Liverpool’s squad, most of the changes Brendan Rodgers is looking to make are going to be in the back line. As long as he keeps Suarez, his attack should be one of the more potent in the Premier League, with a season, or half of it for some players, of familiarity should help them do much better in terms of consistency next season.
But defending? Daniel Agger was Liverpool’s best centre back this season, and it wasn’t his strongest. Jaime Carragher was no longer forgotten once Martin Skrtel’s form could no longer be ignored and the Slovak was benched for most of the season once Carragher took his place before going off to retirement.
Ilori was born in London to an English father of Nigerian descent and a Portuguese mother. He was a striker when he joined Sporting in 2006, but eventually was moved back to the centre of defense. He made his debut for the senior club last season, on November 6, 2011. Since then he’s mostly played for the B team, but has 11 league matches under his belt this season, including one goal. He has also appeared once, a cameo appearance, in the Europa League.
Ilori is considered quite a big talent in Portugal, playing for the U-19 team over the last couple of years. While he doesn’t have much first-team experience, he’ll probably be costing around £3-4 million to bring around.
Is this the player Liverpool need to become a lot more solid in the back? Hard to say right away. Rodgers isn’t going to bring in expensive names or older players. Liverpool are on a path to become profitable and for the club to finance itself without owners injecting too much money. That path is successful only when the talent spotting is impecable, and Rodgers is hoping that Ilori isn’t someone that needs too long to develop.