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STRAK ATTACK

The 23-year-old is expected to arrive at Anfield in a £30 million deal

Liverpool are reportedly close to signing Lazio goalkeeper Thomas Strakosha in a £30 million deal.

The 23-year-old, who has been at the Serie A side for six years, is seen as a cheaper option for Jurgen Klopp than both Alisson of Roma and Atletico Madrid star Jan Oblak.

The Lazio shot-stopper is ‘close’ to joining Liverpool in a £30 million deal

But just who is the man rumoured to be between the sticks for Liverpool next season?

Here, talkSPORT takes an in-depth look at the current Lazio keeper to determine just how well he will do at Anfield.

Thomas Strakosha – Key Statistics

Date of Birth: 15/3/1995 (23 years old)

Height: 1.93m

Weight: 78kg

Professional Debut: 2012

Nationality: Albanian

International Caps: 5

BACKGROUND

Born in Athens in March 1995, Strakosha grew up idolising his father, Foto, who was playing for Olympiakos at the time.

Like his father, the 23-year-old has opted to represent Albania at international level – he has been part of the set-up since the Under-17s and has five senior caps to his name.

He made his debut in August 2016 against Italy in a World Cup qualifier which was almost called off.

Albanian fans bombarded the pitch in Palermo with flares and smoke bombs – meaning the players had to seek refuge in the tunnel.

Strakosha’s intentional debut is certainly one he will never forget

Strakosha’s intentional debut is certainly one he will never forget

He cites Gianluigi Buffon and Manuel Neuer as his goalkeeping heroes, openly admitting to try and model his game on the latter.

CLUB HISTORY

After being scouted by Lazio as a youngster, Strakosha joined the Serie A side in 2012, helping the primavera (youth team) win their respective league.

In the 2012-13 season, he made the step-up to the senior squad and was named as third choice behind Federico Marchetti and Albano Bizzarri – helping the Romans win the Coppa Italia.

The goalkeeper during his debut for Serie B side Salernitana

The goalkeeper during his debut for Serie B side Salernitana

After extending his contract in 2014, he was sent on loan the following year to Salernitana.

After impressing with the Serie B side and subsequent injuries to their first-choice options, the Albanian was promoted to the Lazio No.1 spot in 2016 and has not looked back since.

PLAYING STYLE

Last season, the goalkeeper had a pass success rate of 71.6% and it is obvious to see where Neuer’s influence has had an effect.

He has the ability to play the ball long and set up attacks for his side.

He kept 17 clean sheets in 53 appearances in all competitions last season and is a great shot-stopper because of his large frame.

Although a fantastic shot-stopper (as exemplified here) the young keeper must work on some aspects of his game

Although a fantastic shot-stopper (as exemplified here) the young keeper must work on some aspects of his game

The one area of his game he needs to work on pushing saves away to safety, more often than not he will spill a ball back into danger – meaning Virgil van Dijk and Dejan Lovren will need to be on their toes.


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