Soccer

Kabak’s spitting controversy, record-breaking goals and Sergio Ramos comparisons

They left it late, but Liverpool finally bolstered their defence on deadline day with the signings of Ben Davies and Ozan Kabak.

With Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Joel Matip all out with long-term injuries, the Reds were left with little choice but to act, and completed deals to sign Davies permanently and Kabak on loan until the end of the season with an option to buy in the summer.

The latter joins from German side Schalke, and despite being only 20 years old, he has already had his fair share of ups and downs.

Here is a look at the player that Liverpool fans hope will be Anfield's latest hero…

Breaking records at 18

Despite starting his career at Turkish side Galatasaray, at the age of only 18 Kabak made the move to Germany to join Stuttgart in January 2019.

And it certainly didn't take him long to make an impression in the Bundesliga.

Kabak immediately slotted into the first-team, putting in a number of assured performances.

And in March he made history when he showed his impressive aerial ability by scoring two headers from corners in the first-half of a 5-1 win over Hannover.

Those goals saw him become the youngest Turkish and youngest centre-back to ever score a brace in a Bundesliga game, and certainly sent out a statement that he was ready for first-team action at the highest level despite his tender age.

Sergio Ramos comparisons

It didn't take long for Kabak's performances to turn heads, and after a successful 2019-20 campaign he was snapped up by Schalke last summer.

In a profile of him on the official Bundesliga website, he was compared to Real Madrid legend Sergio Ramos – high praise indeed.

A description of him read: "Kabak has a sound in-game radar and a deceptively quick turn of pace.

"Powerful in the air and with a great sense of timing, four of his six Bundesliga goals have been headers.

"He also comes complete with the same bite for which Real captain Ramos has become so well known."

Despite this, Kabak made it clear who he most looks up to – his new Liverpool teammate Virgil van Dijk.

"My personal aim is to become a top defender in maybe two or three years, like Virgil van Dijk," he said last year.

"He's my idol, I really like him. I like his style and how he plays, so I can say he's my football idol."

Spitting ban

But it hasn't all been plain sailing so far in Kabak's career.

In a game against Werder Bremen earlier this season he was sent off for receiving two yellow cards.

However, things got worse as footage emerged of him appearing to spit at Ludwig Augustinsson in the 26th minute.

After reviewing the incident, the German football association banned the player for five matches for unsporting behaviour and fined him €15,000.

Kabak pleaded his innocence immediately while apologising to Augustinsson, tweeting after the game: "I wish to sincerely apologize to Ludwig Augustinsson. It was not my intention, it was an accident.

"I did not aim at him, the TV angle gives a deceptive view of the incident.

"I never did that before and won’t do it IN THE FUTURE, as it’s unsporting. This was very unlucky."

Whether or not it was on purpose is up for debate, but Liverpool fans will be hoping there are no further such incidents as he prepares to make his Premier League bow in the near future.

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