Not Accident and Emergency…Adam and Enrique!
It was certainly a tale of two halves for Liverpool against Sunderland on Saturday, however in this blog I thought it would be interesting to look at two of the new signings who we hope will add some quality to Liverpool’s previously problematic left side.
In my view Charlie Adam will prove to be a good signing by Dalglish; although I do have concerns about his lack of pace, which I believe results in him getting caught out of position on occasions (on a few occasions in this game he was unable to track his man running off him into the penalty area). There is no doubt that he will add creativity to Liverpool’s midfield and he will certainly prove a potent threat from set plays, as was the case in the Sunderland game.
Adam Stats Summary V Lucas
The stats demonstrate that Adam’s performance compares relatively favourably to that of his central midfield partner Lucas. Defensively, where we would expect Lucas to be stronger, Adam successfully completed the same number of tackles as Lucas, and made virtually the same amount of interceptions. The fact that Adam only won 47% of his possession duels is a concern and should be an area that he addresses in future games. Adam also had 2 losses of possession in the game; I have to say that I believed this would be higher due to my initial concerns regarding his lack of pace. I think we can expect some losses of possession by Adam, as he is likely to be in possession of the ball higher up the pitch. The fact that it only happened twice in this game should be seen as a positive in my opinion.
From an in-possession/attacking perspective Adam outperforms Lucas. As we know, Adam provided the assist for Suarez’s goal from a set play; one of the reasons behind his signing no doubt, and also created two other chances. Once the team plays together more, and he beings to forge an understanding with his teammates (perhaps specifically Suarez), I think we can expect to see even more chances created by him.
Adam managed to attempt two shots at goal, both from outside of the penalty area, with 1 on target. Again, I would like to see him attempt to improve the amount of attempts he has on goal due to the quality of his ball striking. It was noticeable that both of his attempts were from outside the box, hopefully in future games Adam will make some late runs into the box to try and get on the end of some pull-backs by Downing. In actual fact Adam had less attacking third entries than Lucas, which is surprising, as we would expect Lucas to be the more ‘holding’ of the two midfielders.
Adam’s passing stats demonstrate that he attempted more attacking half and final third passes than Lucas. Again this would point to the conclusion that it is Adam who was more probing of the two midfielders and attempted passes that would create opportunities for Liverpool. It may also explain why his passing completion percentage is slightly lower than that of Lucas. The other reason for this is that his corners are also counted in his passing accuracy score.
Overall I believe Adam can be happy with his level of performance against Sunderland. Once his fitness improves, and he develops a greater understanding with his teammates, I believe that we can expect to see some of these stats improve further. There is no doubt that he will add an extra dimension to Liverpool’s play via his quality at set-plays, however I also feel that his all-round game will add an additional threat that Liverpool have been missing in the last few seasons. I certainly do not feel that it will be Adam who will make way for Gerrard.
Many people may have been surprised to see Enrique start after only participating in one training session with his new teammates. Indeed Kenny Dalglish has alluded to the fact that he would have started with Aurelio, should the Brazilian have not succumbed to another injury.
Travelling to the match myself, I was pretty confident that Enrique would, and should, start. If he is as good as everyone hopes he will be then I saw no reason why he could not come in at left-back and perform to a satisfactory level, after all the roles/duties of a left-back don’t change dramatically from one team to the next. The training session on Friday would probably have focused on shape, perhaps targeting specific ways of exploiting Sunderland’s weaknesses and dealing with their threats, this should have been plenty to allow a player of Enrique’s quality to deliver a good performance.
Enrique Stats Summary
As you can see from Enrique’s stats summary, there can be no doubt that Dalglish will be happy with his performance. Defensively Enrique looked very solid and this is demonstrated by the fact that he won all his duels and was not dribbled past. He was up against Sessegnon for the most part of the game, who is a tricky customer, and therefore I believe his stats are even more credible.
Away from his defensive duties, Enrique’s stats once again demonstrated the positive contribution that he made during the game. Indeed sitting in the stand, watching the game, it was clear as day that most of Liverpool’s attacking play (in the first half especially) was focused down the left-hand side. Enrique looked comfortable in possession, and whilst his overall passing accuracy (76%) was lower than fellow full-back Flanagan’s (80%), Enrique was far more progressive making 46 forwards passes compared to Flanagan’s 21 (more than double). Enrique also completed more final third passes than Flanagan (21 V 12), and also made more final third entries (14 V 10). Enrique also delivered a couple of excellent crosses that, more often than not, will create goalscoring opportunities for Liverpool. On a side note Flanagan’s stats will add fuel to the arguments of those who believe Kelly should have been selected.
In my view this is only a sign of things to come this season under Dalglish’s management. Whilst Enrique did make more forward passes and entries to the attacking third than Flanagan, I don’t think that Dalglish will believe that Liverpool threatened as much as they should from full-back areas. It was more likely to happen on the left than the right in this game, however I believe Dalglish will want to see Enrique, and all of the other full-backs, delivering more crosses, and overlapping the wing players more frequently in the future. One telling stat may be the fact that Liverpool did not manage one cross from the byline in the whole game.
Overall, Enrique has made a positive start to his Liverpool career. Performing to the level he did, after only one full training session, proves to me that he is of the quality we all hope he will be. Once he settles in, I think Liverpool fans can expect to see him having a significant influence on many of Liverpool’s performances.
I think Liverpool fans can look forward to seeing much more of Adam and Enrique. Many people are wondering if Adam can offer some of the creativity previously offered by Xabi Alonso; whilst this is a huge ask I believe that Adam can certainly create more goalscoring opportunities for Liverpool. There is also no doubt that he provides some much needed (left sided) balance to the centre of midfield, which may be even more vital when Dalglish plays 4-3-3.
In my opinion Enrique will prove to be one of the best left-backs Liverpool have had in several years (some will say that this is not too hard). Enrique looks physically strong and solid defensively. Many observers were commenting on how Insua had increased his size physically in the off-season, this may have been so but unfortunately Insua is still very suspect defensively. Enrique will also offer quality going forward. His physical conditioning will allow him to maraud up and down the left side, and he produced two excellent crosses on Saturday that were begging for one of the strikers to get on the end of.
Once Adam and Enrique form more of an understanding with their fellow teammates, and spend more time working with Dalglish and Clarke, on the training pitch, it is safe to say that their performances may send the opposition to A&E.