I recently wrote that Gareth Bale is not worth £100m (read more here), and so it seems only fair to run the rule over Liverpool’s Luis Suárez.
John W Henry has made it clear that the Uruguayan will not be allowed to leave easily, but in my opinion if a team were to offer £50m, then Liverpool should probably rip their arms clean off and bid Suárez adieu.
I noted in the aforementioned Bale piece that thirteen players scored twenty-or-more goals in Europe’s big five leagues last season. Luis Suárez had the worst shot conversion rate of all of them.
Closer to home, twenty-six players scored ten-or-more goals in the 2012/13 Premier League; Suárez was a lowly twenty-first for conversion. You also have to bear in mind that this was his BEST season with Liverpool for shot conversion too! In my opinion, he only managed to score twenty-three league goals last year as he spent half a season as the Reds’ only fit senior striker.
If you look at his figures before and after Sturridge’s debut, he drops from 6.2 shots per game to 5.0, and a goal every 120 minutes to one every 145.
Granted, that’s perhaps not a huge drop, but as his conversion rate was virtually unchanged (though it had a very slight positive shift from 12.2% before Sturridge’s league debut to 12.5% thereafter), the fact that he will have fewer shots with Sturridge in the team suggests to me that he would do very well to score twenty-three league goals for Liverpool again.
As noted here previously, Suárez is not very good at retaining possession. On a per game basis, he was ranked seventh in the Premier League last season for offsides, and second for both number of times dispossessed and also for turning the ball over to the opposition via a mistake or poor ball control.
Suárez is perceived to be an excellent dribbler, as he completed ninety-five last season, which was more than any other player in England’s top flight. That sounds impressive, but it omits the fact he also attempted the most (255) and was unsuccessful with the most too (160). On average, Suárez attempts 4.8 dribbles a game where he loses the ball to the opposition.
It’s virtually impossible to quantify the following figures and compare against peers, even in simplistic terms due to how time-consuming it would be, but take a look at how many of Liverpool’s moves ended unsuccessfully with Suárez last season:
160 failed dribbles
115 off target or blocked shots
94 times dispossessed
Not all of these will have been during attacks (hence why this is impossible to assess accurately), though I suspect the majority will have been, so it could perhaps be said that Suárez ended an attack 535 times in 2012/13.
You could also throw in 49 on target shots that weren’t scored, but for testing the keeper I’ll give him benefit of the doubt.
How many are in the plus column?
111 possession regains
95 chances created
72 shots on target
61 fouls against
339 positive contributions, vs 535 negative. I assume this would be the same for a lot of attacking players, but the fact is that roughly six out of every ten attacks that Suárez attempts result in lost possession, and ‘only’ twenty-eight resulted in a goal.
Now if I can find all of this out from publicly available data in no time, then you can bet your bottom dollar that every hot-shot analyst at every top club around Europe knows it (and no doubt plenty more besides) too.
If you’re the buying club, as well as the question-raising stats you have to consider bans for racism (which whether he was truly guilty or not, he was punished), giving the middle finger to fans, and biting an opponent (twice; once in Holland, once for Liverpool).
Luis Suárez is a fantastically talented footballer, but the above shows that he’s not a very efficient one. In many ways, I’m amazed Arsenal have bid £40m, extra £1 or not…
Stats taken from WhoScored. Related posts you might like:
Luis Suárez: With Or Without You – Liverpool may have won more matches when Suárez has been absent than when he has played, but this in-depth look at the stats shows things are not quite so clear-cut.
Blame Suárez - Liverpool’s striker is more harshly treated by refs than most entire teams are.
Selling Suárez Would Be Senseless – With rumours of an approach from Manchester City, the stats show that Liverpool can not afford to lose the Uruguayan striker.
Luis Suarez: Pantomime Villain – Football fans around the UK boo Suarez because he is considered to be a cheat. How does he fare compare to his contemporaries in the ‘dark arts’?
Evra-gate: The Impact on Suárez Performance – How did an accusation of racial abuse affect Luis Suárez’ productivity on the pitch?