Liverpool scored 59 league goals last season, which was their lowest total since 2006-07. Some of this will have been down to the tactics of Roy Hodgson, the dis-interest that was largely shown by Fernando Torres during this season, and the injuries to key personnel such as Steven Gerrard.
But whatever the reasons were, it was 19 goals less than the champions mustered. It therefore stands to reason that Liverpool will try and buy some creative talent in order to supply chances for the two high profile strikers they picked up in the January window.
Take a look at the following table, which shows the top 15 players for chances created in the Premier League this season, and what do you notice?
I would say you can safely discount the chances of Malouda, Silva, Modric or Nani being allowed to leave their current clubs for Anfield, and I haven’t seen either Davies or Etherington being touted in the direction of L4, hence how I arrived at nine.
Let’s focus on those nine then. How many of the chances that they created were converted, and so became assists?
The leader, both in terms of number of assists and percentage success rate, is Everton’s Leighton Baines. Even with one less assist, he’d have still topped this table for conversion rate.
Interestingly, he is the only defender in this table. He is also (by all accounts) a boyhood Red, and a left back, which is arguably the position that Liverpool need to fill more than any other.
Of course, there is far more to a player than how many of the chances that they create result in goals.
In the league last season, Baines mustered a 72.80% passing success rate, and a 73.81% tackle success rate (solid if not spectacular figures). He also scored seven goals in all competitions, including impressive free-kicks against Tottenham and Chelsea.
It certainly won’t be easy or cheap to get him from across Stanley Park, especially as he is under contract until 2015.
But he would probably still be cheaper than the majority of the other players on the above list, and at 26, Liverpool would likely get the best years of his career. It’s also fair to say that they possess better strikers for him to aim for than he currently has to work with at Goodison Park, so his assist figures may even improve.
The combination of an impressive chance creation and success rate, the way he would fill a problem position, and being boyhood fan of the team makes him my outstanding candidate for a transfer from within the Premiership to Anfield.
Do Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli feel the same? Only time will tell. . .
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.