Morten Frendrup: Would the Genoa midfielder be a good fit for Liverpool?

The transfer window is now open, and the rumour mill is in full flight.

From the laughable (Curtis Jones to Arsenal anyone…? I don’t think so) to the more realistic (like former Liverpool target Jadon Sancho returning to Borussia Dortmund), there is so much to sieve through.

One player that is being linked is Danish midfielder Morten Frendrup. Anfield Watch were the first to report on Liverpool's interest back in November, which is now being picked up by outlets such as Tuttosport and the Liverpool Echo.

So, who is the young Dane?

Frendrup began his professional career at one of Denmark’s biggest clubs – Brøndby IF – joining the club at the age of 14.

It took him just two years to make his first-team debut, and a further two years to really break into the set-up, making 19 starts in 2018/19 and then starring in Brøndby’s first title win in 16 years at the age of 19.

He spent a further half a season in Denmark before moving to Serie A in January 2022.

Frendrup’s first six months in Italy weren’t exactly ideal. He had to wait over a month before making his debut, and when he did, he had to fill in as a right-back – a position he had rarely played before. He then got injured, and barely played as Genoa were relegated down to the second division. Relegation was a blessing in disguise for both him and his club. Serie B allowed Frendrup to establish himself as a starter for the Rossoblù as they finished in the automatic promotion spots (playing in 85% of the sides total league minutes).

Now, back in Serie A, the 22-year-old has stepped it up again. He has played every single minute of the league season so far under (and here’s a name for the noughties football connoisseurs) Alberto Gilardino’s management. Genoa are thriving back in the top flight too, sitting mid-table and have already taken points off of this season’s top two – Inter and Juventus.

Frendrup has been a key part of it and is now being linked with moves to clubs like Liverpool and to recent opponents Juve. I’ve taken a closer look at his game to see why.


Frendrup is one of those players that resembles the age-old cliché of “every squad needs those players”, an extremely versatile individual that is comfortable in several roles. Despite not turning 23 until early April this year, he has already made appearances as a central midfielder, defensive midfielder, left-back, left-midfielder, right-back and right-midfielder. Shades of James Milner, anyone?

Like Liverpool’s former No. 7, the young Dane is also predominantly a central midfielder. Here is his heat-map (via SofaScore) for the Serie A season so far…

He is, quite frankly, everywhere.

Genoa almost exclusively play a 3-5-2 (or some form of variation of this) under Gilardino, with Frendrup on the right-hand side of a three-man midfield. He’s usually accompanied by the much more experienced duo of Kevin Strootman (33) and Milan Badelj (34) who are more than happy to sit in and let him be the energetic legs of the midfield, giving him more of a licence to be the aggressor and go and press his opponents (which he does to great effect).

Style of Play & Suitability to Klopp’s Liverpool

Frendrup has had to work hard to go from a village with a population of just over a thousand to one of the best leagues in world football, and that comes through on the pitch. It wouldn’t be right to start looking at Frendrup’s game and that not be his energetic nature and defensive prowess.

‘Workhorse’ is a phrase that’s often surrounded by negative connotations and while some of those ring true with the Genoa midfielder, there’s no doubt that’s what he is in an off-the-ball sense. His defensive know-how is his best asset, he reads the game extremely well – as shown by his 1.22 interceptions per 90, ranking him in the 69th percentile amongst midfielders in Europe’s top five leagues.

Genoa are extremely effective in setting up a defensive block, and, as previously mentioned, Frendrup is asked to be the aggressor of the three central midfielders. That means he can jump out effectively of the set shape if he feels there is an opportunity to win the ball back or put pressure on an opponent.

Morten Frendrup - Pro Shots

Morten Frendrup - Pro Shots

That’s where his acceleration comes in. The Dane is quicker than your average midfielder, especially across the first few metres. He doesn’t strike you as an elite athlete on first glance, but this one bit of physical advantage he has makes a huge difference to his game. It allows him to pounce on any poor touch or delay of thought from an opponent, and his almost scurry like movement means he’s on them in an instant.

His four tackles per 90 ranks him in the 99th percentile in his position, which is just a small insight into how he defends – on the front foot. His 1.67 blocks per 90 (ranking him highly again, this time in the 88th percentile) show a combination of his positional sense, speed, and aggressive nature.

Frendrup is anything but passive. This can be to his detriment, though, as he does foul 1.5 times per 90 on average and has picked up 24 yellows and two reds in his young career.

On the ball is where there would be concern if he is able to take the leap to the elite level of club. While he is, at the time of writing, Genoa’s top assister so far this season with four, he has only ever recorded four in total throughout his career before that, and with an expected assist average of just 0.05, it indicates that he’s not providing consistently great chances for his teammates.

Which is fine, midfielders, and especially ones who are defensive specialists, don’t have to be creators. Yet, to make the jump from Genoa to a club like Liverpool, you need to display some level of comfort with the ball at your feet, and ability to move it forward.

Frendrup’s low volume of passes (34.33 per 90 ranks him in the 12th percentile) combined with his low success rate (78.3% ranking him in the 28th percentile) suggests that he’s not overly comfortable. This is backed up when watching him. His club don’t dominate possession, but they are for the most part good with the ball – yet Frendrup looks more rushed than his teammates, he doesn’t have the composure of his two midfield companions. This may come with experience and more games, but he does look to have a ceiling on his in-possession game that limits him.

This is shown in his progressive numbers, which is a combination of team tactics (Genoa look to wide areas and long-balls to move the ball up the pitch) and it not really being something he’s able to do.

In terms of progressive passes, he ranks in just the 20th percentile amongst midfielders with 3.61 per 90, with progressive carries he ranks slightly higher in the 40th percentile at 1.05 per 90. His 4.66 progressive actions per 90 is extremely low for a midfielder, and you’d expect someone who plays in the middle for a top club to either specialise in being able to do both or at least one of these effectively, especially those that aren’t sitting defensive midfielders.

So, while Frendrup might meet the elite levels and style that you’d expect from a Liverpool midfielder in terms of his out of possession game, his lack of technicality on the ball raises serious question marks on whether he could make the step up.

His Wikipedia page likens him to his compatriot and Brentford midfielder Christian Nørgaard, and that level of club is probably where I’d say his level will get to, possibly even as far on a side that will challenge for Europa Leagues.

He may have even fit “Liverpool 1.0”, which relied on high intensity defensive work in the midfield and left a lot to be desired when it came to in possession. But Jürgen Klopp’s side have moved on, and every single midfielder targeted in the summer rebuild is extremely good on both sides of the ball.

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