Andre is the answer for Liverpool after trophy-winning display

Fluminense midfielder Andre showed why he's the answer for Liverpool with his display in the Copa Libertadores final.

It's not exactly a secret that Liverpool like Fluminense midfielder Andre. The Reds were linked with him during the summer even before the Brazilian club's president, Mario Bittencourt, outright said that he'd talked with Liverpool.

“The chief executive of Liverpool contacted me directly,” he said, per the Liverpool Echo. “And I replied to him 'My friend, I don't sell a player now and I don't deliver now.

“If you want to buy now to take in January, we can start talking, or if you want to wait until December and we talk in December'.”

“Saying this first hand, we didn't receive a proposal for him, only surveys for Andre. We chose not to sell him because we believed that we would reach the final stages of the Libertadores. It was a decision made with sporting criteria.”

Bittencourt was correct. Fluminense did reach the final stages of the Copa Libertadores - and then actually won the trophy for the first time this weekend.

Andre played in that final, of course, and we beleive his performance is one that will only exacerbate Liverpool's desire to sign him. Globo reports that the Reds had scouts at the final to watch him and this was exactly the kind of display you'd want from a defensive midfielder in a major game.

First and foremost, Andre was near-perfect with the ball at his feet. He completed 69 passes in the final - the third most of any player - and did it at a remarkable 93 per cent success rate. That percentage would have been higher, too, if not for a couple of wayward long balls.

Over 15 yards, Andre only misplaced one of 37. Between 15 and 20 yards, only one of 29. That's the kind of reliability under pressure you dream of at the base of midfield.

The Brazilian completed two take-ons - the second-most of any player in the final - and did so with two attempts. Again, it's reliability, composure and decision-making that you chase when signing anyone to play defensive midfield.

Defensively, Andre was impressive as you'd expect. He won four tackles along with three blocks (match-high), two clearances and an interception.

Those tackles are notable, though, because two were in the attacking third of the pitch. There were only five tackles in the final third by either side across the entire 120 minutes of the final. Andre made two of them.

So here we have a 22-year-old defensive midfielder who can remain compose enough in a final to complete virtually all of his passes, can push high and win tackles, does all the defensive dirty work and is now a continental champion.

The team needs a new defensive midfielder - one who knows the role and can play it with the right mentality. If Liverpool already wanted Andre, you can be sure they're desperate to grab him now.

(All stats from FBref)

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