Dominik Szoboszlai's home debut gives Liverpool glimpse of something not seen in years

Is that the sight of a Liverpool midfielder bursting away from a tackle at pace and steaming towards the opponent's goal?

What is this sorcery?

The Reds’ 3-1 win over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon was a curious game in many ways, not least after a start every bit as bad as some of those on show last season.

The manner in which Liverpool failed to settle into proceedings against the Cherries was alarming, and had it not been for an offside flag, they would have conceded one of their poorest first-minute goals in Anfield's history.

So many players were all at sea in those opening exchanges, from Alisson to Trent Alexander-Arnold to Diogo Jota, but after falling behind, Jurgen Klopp’s side recovered impressively and picked up a vital three points in what felt like a must-win match.

Curiously, Liverpool were arguably at their best with ten men on the pitch, following a disgraceful red card decision against Alexis Mac Allister, and many individuals found their top level in that period, showing real heart and control when things could have unravelled.

If there was one player who was purring and at the races from minute one, though, and the runaway candidate for Man of the Match, it was Dominik Szoboszlai.

Liverpool’s new number eight could have been forgiven for having a few nerves on his home debut for one of Europe’s most prestigious clubs, but he produced what will be remembered as one the best Anfield bows in recent memory.

It’s actually hard to think of many better by a Reds player in the Premier League era.

Szoboszlai was a joy to watch all afternoon, showcasing everything that felt so horribly lacking in midfield throughout last season, when Liverpool were walked through with ease and had a complete lack of guile on show.

This couldn't have been further from having to watch Fabinho and Jordan Henderson sluggishly tracking runners and looking like shadows of the players they used to be.

Szoboszlai covered more ground than any other Liverpool player on the day, pressing the life out of Bournemouth’s players, not to mention using his physical stature to win five out of eight ground duels.

In possession, the silky Hungarian was hugely reliable, completing 93% of his passes, but there was always a sense that he was forward-thinking with the ball at his feet, breaking the lines and causing problems, rather than taking the easy option.

It was, of course, one foray forward that led to him winning Liverpool an admittedly soft penalty in the first half, which ended up being a major contribution in an awkward encounter.

Whenever Szoboszlai was in possession, there was a fizz in the atmosphere as if something special could happen, and when it came to the grittier aspects of his game, he was there working his socks off and biting into tackles.

He topped the pile in successful passes, dribbles completed and progressive carries, giving Liverpool a midfield dimension that simply hasn't existed for the past 12 months or so, and perhaps even longer.

READ MORE: Dominik Szoboszlai leads the Premier League in key attacking statistic

Szoboszlai's aforementioned burst down the right flank during the second half, in which he breezed past a couple of defenders and broke into the penalty area, was breathtaking to watch, and it was a standout moment in a performances oozing class.

This was only one game, and we all know how football can make fools of us all, but the murmurs at Anfield and on social media after the match suggest that Liverpool may have signed a future superstar.

He has the movie star looks and the aesthetically-pleasing style of play, but he backs it up with genuine substance on the pitch, making for the complete package.

This was only Szoboszlai's second competitive appearance for the Reds – just imagine what Klopp could do with him over time, especially when he has a natural defensive midfielder behind him, whether it be Wataru Endo or (hopefully) another new number six addition.

The Reds needed a certain type of midfielder to arrive this summer, and such is the manner in which Szoboszlai has hit the ground running, you could be forgiven for thinking that nobody could be more perfect in the role. He looks like the prototype of what Klopp was asking for.

The former RB Leipzig man has that perfect blend of talent, swagger, team ethic and all-round influence, and Saturday’s showing was a mouthwatering teaser for what is to come.

This was what Liverpool fans hoped they were getting when Naby Keita arrived in 2018, but sadly, he never came remotely close to matching those vast expectations levels, with terrible luck with injuries and inconsistent form too often holding him back.

Granted, the Guinean also started well for Liverpool and tailed off rapidly in the end, which should act as a warning sign with Szoboszlai, but the latter looks more physically equipped to star in the Premier League than his predecessor.

While Mac Allister has made a more low-key start to life at Anfield, mainly because of playing as a number six and being sent-off in rotten circumstances, his fellow new signing has made quite the impression.

On early evidence, Liverpool have got themselves an absolute gem of a footballer – one who could produce Steven Gerrard-like performances in the shirt that the Reds legend so famously wore for many years.

That may sound like needless pressure to heap on Szoboszlai's young 22-year-old shoulders, but he has all the tools to absolutely excel at Anfield, dovetailing with Mac Allister and heralding an exciting new era in the middle of the park.

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