Before we begin, please bear this in mind: I devised the following theory in idle moments at work today. There are no doubt holes to be found in it, but I thought I’d share my idea to see what people think.
I read two interesting articles today which started the thought process: firstly this piece by Ray Wilson, which looked at how reliant Liverpool have been on an individual player for goals in recent times (in which it says “Over the course of last season El Pistolero (Suárez) scored 30 times; he contributed 30.61% of Liverpool’s goals in all competitions, a figure bettered by nobody from 98-99 to the present day.”).
The aspect of the article which resonated with me was the fact that Liverpool amassed eighty-two points in 2005/06, despite only scoring fifty-seven times; fourteen fewer goals netted than this season, but with twenty-one more points won at the same time.
It really opened my eyes to the fact that even if Luis Suárez takes his twenty-three goal contribution elsewhere next season, it doesn’t have to mean that the Reds can not achieve their primary aim of a top four finish.
Obviously these players were representing different teams in different leagues, but as a guide, Aspas was dispossessed fewer times per game (1.5) than Suárez (2.8), Sterling (2.7), Sturridge (2.1), Coutinho and Enrique (both 1.9). This comment also piqued my interest:
“He works for the team and will fight to regain the ball if he is dispossessed.”
Regular readers will probably know I’m a fan of final third regains (or winning possession in the attacking third of the pitch, in other words) and it sounds like Aspas has this ability in his locker.
This is where the combination of Aspas’ two attributes mentioned in the above piece, and the notion that perhaps Liverpool could still prosper with fewer goals than this season started to intrigue me.
I realised that Aspas could almost be viewed as an alternate to Suárez who may actually be better for the balance of the team; the Spaniard won’t score as many as goals as his Uruguayan counterpart, or create as many chances (Aspas averaged 2.0 per game in 2012/13 whilst Suárez set up 2.7) but at the same time, he won’t give the ball away as often either, and he might regain at a similar level with the same fiersome will-to-win that the current number seven displays.
In short, he can help the possession side of Liverpool’s game (which should hopefully ensure they concede fewer goals), and whilst not contributing quite as many goals as Suárez would, Aspas can chip in with enough to keep the Reds competitive.
Anyway, as I said, just an idea I had whilst I should’ve been working. Wonder if Brendan Rodgers has had the same thought?
Related posts you might like:
Iago Aspas: Shots and Creativity – The Reds’ new boy’s stats from La Liga compare well with the Premier League’s elite.