HomeZ OLD CATEGORIESEPLOld Vs New: Meireles v Adam

Old Vs New: Meireles v Adam

Liverpool’s plethora of midfielders has certainly grabbed the headlines this summer.

An already overstocked central department was bolstered by Alberto Aquilani’s return in addition to the rise to prominence of Jay Spearing and latterly Jonjo Shelvey last season.

Add to this Kenny Dalglish’s decision to draft in another two players to his roster and the competition for free rein at the heart of the Anfield pitch is far too close for comfort.

One of those signings has seen an ‘old v new’ debate rage during the close season with Charlie Adam’s arrival expected to signal the end for Raul Meireles’s short-lived Reds career.

Meireles Vs Adam

A deal has yet to be struck for Meireles’s departure but, on the eve of the new Premier League campaign, direct comparisons between the Portugal international and Adam can be drawn.

Both players made just one substitute appearance in their debut seasons in the top flight but Adam was helped by playing two matches more and an additional 507 minutes of game time.

Although Adam ventured into more ground 50-50’s than his new team mate, Meireles fared better in the success stakes, beating the former Blackpool man with a rate of 55% to 51%, but Adam excelled in aerial duels with a 56% success rate compared to the Portuguese’s 50%.

Liverpool fans regularly accused Meireles for shirking tackles and a successful execution rate of 69.62% against Adam’s 82.67% would suggest that there was some validity to this theory, particularly when taking into account that he made four more tackles than his counterpart.

But one thing standing in Meireles’s favour on this front was that he made a tackle every 32 minutes on average to Adam’s margin of 41 and edged out the Scot on interceptions per game with an average of 2.44 from 69 to Adam’s 2.15 from 73.

Defensive errors were at a minimum where the ex-Porto man was concerned, with one conceded every 1,272 minutes – two all season – to Adam’s 476 minutes from seven.

Meireles conceded possession 88 times last season, at an average time of one very 29 minutes, to Adam’s one every 31 minutes out of 100 concessions.

Blackpool may have perished on ‘Survival Sunday’ but Adam’s passing was synonymous with the attacking football they demonstrated in their first and only season in the top flight.

His defence-splitting balls have already seen him likened to Xabi Alonso – who left Anfield in 2009 – as he recorded a pass completion rate of 67.34% from 2091 overall passes.

Meireles also excelled in this department and, surprisingly, delivered a better success rate by registering a 73.47% accuracy reading from 1519 passes.

He also emerged triumphant from Open Play Passes, where he enjoyed a 78% completion to his opposite number’s 72%, and delivered a better crossing accuracy at 30% to Adam’s 23%.

Adam, however, provided more assists for his Tangerine team mates last season and surpassed Meireles in chances created with 80.

On the goal trail, it is clear that Adam is the outstanding candidate with 12 from midfield last season, including one during his side’s win at Anfield, to Meireles’s five.

He averaged a goal every 254 minutes unlike Meireles at an average of 509, despite all his strikes occurring across five consecutive league games within the space of a month.

Meireles may have enjoyed a better shooting accuracy with 55% to Adam’s 44% but the latter’s chance conversion was marginally better, with 15% to 11%.

Meireles may be last year’s model, but in overall comparisons he shades Adam with eight victories to seven.

Overall, however, the balance is tipped firmly in the new boy’s favour.

Meireles’s goals proved a catalyst for Liverpool’s resurgence under Dalglish last season.

However, his manager’s decision to enlist the services of the attack-minded Adam looks set, statistically at least. to pay dividends as he looks to take the club to the next step domestically.

Richard Buxton
Richard Buxton
Currently a familiar face in press boxes up and down the country as Liverpool FC reporter for Click Liverpool and Manchester City's European reporter for Click Manchester. Previously written pieces for various local and national newspapers including the Daily Mirror, Sunday Telegraph and Daily Record, as well as columns for several well-known football websites. Self-confessed Twitter addict. If you are that way inclined, give me a follow (@Richard__Buxton).
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