Nathaniel Clyne continued with his impressive start to the Liverpool career with another solid display at right-back. If he had any nerves at all ahead of his Anfield debut, there were none on display in what was an assured performance.
He provides boundless energy and movement on the right flank which is a massive improvement over the shadow of the player Glen Johnson had become in the past couple of years deprived of any confidence whatsoever.
41% of Liverpool’s attacks came down their right flank compared to 31% on the left and 29% through the middle. Clyne was essential in bringing the ball out from the back with his ability to receive the ball under pressure and control and pass it again swiftly. He was only one of the four starters, apart from Skrtel, Loren and Henderson in the Liverpool side to not have a single incident of bad control during the entire match.
The corner which led to Benteke’s winner was fizzed into his feet and had he brought it under control and passed it back to Henderson in a very smooth manner. The work on ingenious set pieces by the home side was evident throughout the game, and quite refreshing to see.
Nathaniel Clyne Heatmap vs Bournemouth
Last season, Clyne completed the most take-ons (27) and more tackles (74) than any other defender at Southampton. If he keeps on continuing like this, he may well top those charts at Liverpool too this season.
One of the best features of his game is his ability to spot danger very early and therefore deal with it effectively. His pace off the blocks is certainly an advantage and it also helps him burst forward to support play.
Up against the pacey Gradel, Clyne tracked back superbly and made one standout brilliant tackle to earn the crowd’s applause.
He suffered two fouls in Liverpool’s half while the only foul he committed was near the opponent’s goal. He made the most interceptions with 3 and only Adam Lallana (5) made more tackles in the Liverpool side than Clyne (4). These point to the right-back having a good positioning sense and a clever reading of the game.
Somewhat bizzarely, the only offside in the entire game for either side was attributed to Clyne when he went slightly ahead after a Joe Gomez pass.
Towards the end of the game, he set up Benteke for a tap in but the Belgian contrived to scuff the ball into the net allowing Artur Boruc to get the slightest of touches and parry it onto the bar.
It has been another summer of a host of new players coming in at Liverpool. But Clyne’s addition can solve the right-back issue of the last few seasons for a number of years to come. Liverpool moved in quickly for the former Southampton man at the end of last season and at £12m, he could prove to be their most important signing of the season.