Who is Waldemar Anton? Liverpool 'tracking' Euro 2024 star amid $24m clause

Germany's defender #16 Waldemar Anton is pictured prior to the International friendly football match between Germany and Greece in Moenchengladbach, western Germany, on June 7, 2024.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by UWE KRAFT/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool is going to be linked with a lot of center-backs this summer. It is the position within the squad which needs addressing most urgently.

It could be argued the Reds only have three senior options, with Joël Matip having left the club and Joe Gomez having been mostly used as a full-back (and even in defensive midfield) this season. New head coach Arne Slot may revert the England international to the heart of the Liverpool defense, but that remain to be seen.

There has been plenty of talk that Leny Yoro is on the Reds’ wish list. However, as he is only 18 years old, it is unlikely Liverpool could rely on the French defender throughout 2024/25 even if he does join the club. A veteran acquisition would make a lot of sense, particularly with Jarell Quansah still learning his trade, and it is rumored that Waldemar Anton could be the man required.

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According to Bild, the Reds are interested in signing the player. It is said that an offer of $24.1m (£19m/€22.6m) will be enough to activate a release clause in the contract which was only signed earlier this year.

The 27-year-old helped Stuttgart to finish second in the Bundesliga this season, and was rewarded for his form with a call-up to Germany’s squad for Euro 2024. Anton was an unused substitute on Friday evening as the hosts mercilessly put Andy Robertson’s Scotland to the sword.

If the brains trust at Liverpool need a character reference for the German defender – and they put a lot of faith in such things – they simply need to speak to Wataru Endō. He is the second most frequent teammate of Anton’s career, with them having shared the pitch on 102 occasions.

In terms of his playing style, there are clear parallel’s to be drawn with Matip, as he is adept at moving the ball up field, be that via passing or carrying it. Per FBRef, Anton was ranked second in the 2023/24 Bundesliga for progressive carrying distance (dribbling towards goal, in other words) and 10th for progressive passes, with figures of 5,711 and 172 respectively.

In Europe’s big five leagues across the last seven seasons, there have only been 42 instances of a defender reaching these benchmarks. Bear in mind this includes full-backs, whose position makes them far likelier to carry the ball towards the opposition goal; Robertson has achieved this feat twice, with Matip Liverpool’s only other representative in the list.

While it’s natural to focus on a center-back's defensive ability, the Reds have so much possession in the majority of their games that having defenders who are good on the ball is essential. Anton looks up to that task. says: Matip became a cult hero with Liverpool supporters thanks to his gambols up field. Runs such as his are excellent at breaking defensive lines and giving opponents new problems to solve. Signing Anton could ensure the Reds don't lose this skill from their back line.