When it became clear that Loïc Remy was likely to be signing for Liverpool, I took a quick look at his headline stats from 2013/14 and noticed how similar they were to Daniel Sturridge’s. Surely a look at a few other attacking metrics would reveal a major difference between the pair?
Oh, okay. So you’re telling me that Liverpool will have secured Sturridge and a very similar alternate option for around £21m in total? You are? Marvellous! I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t dig a little deeper though….
Let’s start with completed dribbles, as Sturridge had the edge for frequency. But does Remy have the advantage in terms of location?
He does not, but his record isn’t bad here, and it’s important to remember (as per the below images from WhoScored) that Remy didn’t play as many games as a central forward as Sturridge, which will have affected the location data to some extent.
As a minor aside from the main focus of the article, Sturridge is a demon for dribbling in the box, with a couple of his goals (away at Aston Villa and home to Crystal Palace) involving him going past a defender in their penalty area. In the post-Suárez world, this ability will be a massive asset for Liverpool.
Loïc Remy created chances more frequently than Sturridge, so let’s see how they compared in terms of the location of these chances, and the average percentage chance that their opportunities would be scored. I’ve included a few other attacking Liverpool players here too.
The Magpies had 6.5% less possession than the Reds, 1.9 fewer shots per game, and no side in the division took a higher proportion of their shots from outside the box than Newcastle did last season (54%). Indeed, Remy had a higher proportion of his shots outside the box than Sturridge did, but we’ll cover that shortly.
Even so, the Frenchman nearly matched Liverpool’s England international for expected assists whilst playing for a team that scored fewer than half as many goals as the club that he is on the brink of joining, so I would be confident that he will post better figures next season.
A striker’s bread and butter is their ability to put the ball in the back of the net though, so we’ll move on to a look at the stats for shooting and scoring. We saw at the start of the piece that Remy and Sturridge shot and scored at very similar rates in 2013/14, so I’ve broken down the shots and big chances by area to see what differences there were.
Firstly, a look at big chances, which lest we forget are ‘A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range’.
Notice how all of Remy’s big chances were in the centre of the box, whereas Liverpool’s expert counter attacking enabled Sturridge to have one in each of the other three zones, all of which were scored. For the record, these were against Everton, Arsenal and Swansea, all at Anfield.
The two players’ figures are very similar overall though, and whilst I expect Liverpool to have fewer big chances without Suárez (as I explored in-depth here), at the same time the Reds had 119 such chances in 2013/14 compared to just sixty-seven for Newcastle. Remy will inevitably get more big chances at Liverpool and he looks very capable of frequently putting them away when they arise. Here’s a look at all of their shots.
Once again, Daniel Sturridge was the better of the two, though if we remember that the league average for shot conversion is 10%, we can see that Remy was still comfortably above that; there’s no shame in being behind the league’s second top scorer after all. To finish, a look at their league shot conversion rates for the last five seasons.
If we exclude 2013/14, when Daniel Sturridge was part of one of English football’s all-time top attacking sides, then Remy had the edge across the previous four seasons, by 13.7% to 12.1%. He’s the older of the two players, so you’d probably expect that, but even so, he’s been very consistent, and whilst playing for not particularly good teams a lot of the time too.
Loïc Remy may not be quite as good as Daniel Sturridge, but assuming reports of an £8m deal are correct, then this looks an absolutely superb piece of business by Liverpool.