With the likes of Alisson and Jan Oblak supposedly proving out of reach for Liverpool, Thomas Strakosha is a name that seems to be increasingly linked with a transfer to the Reds as Jurgen Klopp searches for a new goalkeeper but just who is he?

Strakosha plays alongside former Anfield favourite Lucas for Lazio.

At 23 he’s less than a year younger than Loris Karius and he has made 77 appearances for the club in the Italian capital, including 37 of their 38 Serie A matches last season.

He declared on Instagram over the weekend that he was “missing the pitch” and as an international for Albania, who have never qualified for the World Cup finals, the action in Russia must be a tough watch for him.

Born in Athens, Greece, in March 1995, where his 73-cap Albanian goalkeeper father Foto was playing at the time for Olympiakos, Strakosha junior has so far turned out five times having been part of their international set-up since U17s level.

He was first called up in August 2016 – just after Albania had participated in the European Championship finals in France (their only major tournament to date) – and made his debut in a 2-0 defeat to Italy in a World Cup qualifier in Palermo.

It was a baptism of fire for the rookie as both sets of players were forced to seek refuge in the dressing rooms due to smoke bombs from the away fans and the match, which was Strakosha’s idol Gianluigi Buffon’s 1,000th career appearance, was almost abandoned.

Strakosha admits that he has been honoured to share the pitch with the 176-cap Italian goalkeeping legend and 2006 World Cup winner Buffon for both club and country and he tries to imitate his style along with that of his other hero, Germany’s Manuel Neuer who also lifted the trophy in 2014.

Having made his senior breakthrough on loan at Salernitana in 2015-16, Strakosha, who stands at 6ft 4in, last signed a contract extension at Lazio on October 21 last year which ties him down for another four years until the summer of 2022.

Source: Liverpool Echo

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