Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/WBA FC via Getty Images

Lloyd Kelly stats suggest drop-off to Robertson - can still be a top asset

Liverpool’s Andy Robertson has been a hallmark of consistency for Jurgen Klopp’s Premier League champions since his move from Hull City in 2018.

The 26-year-old has established himself as arguably the finest left-back currently in world football and his influence on the club’s success over the previous 36 months have been nothing shy of incredible.

Renowned for his eye-watering number of assists from defence, Robertson’s greatest asset for Liverpool has unquestionably been his consistency and durability.

Of Liverpool’s previous 76 PL matches, Robertson has missed just four. Even more remarkable is the number of appearances the Scotsman has clocked up in just two years. He has managed to remain fit and feature for the Reds 97 times since the beginning of the 2018/19 season.

These numbers are nothing shy of ridiculous and could even be argued as unsustainable. It is a testament to the work both Robertson and the club’s physio and medical staff put in on a daily basis to ensure the player is primed to remain at the peak of physical conditioning.

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Robertson’s game has evolved so quickly over the past three seasons that it is difficult to look for too many improvements from a player that other than Virgil van Dijk has arguably been Liverpool’s most consistent player.

Instead, the major issue will be whether Liverpool can keep Robertson injury-free for another season? While it is extremely possible the former Dundee star could clock up sub-50 appearances again next season, the real question is why risk it?

Liverpool have reached the top of Europe’s pinnacle and if they want to stay there should look to ease the workload on the current crop who have been critical in getting the Reds back on their perch.

One player who has been mentioned as a potential suitor and understudy to Robertson is Bournemouth defender Lloyd Kelly.

According to The Mirror, Liverpool have reignited their interest in the 21-year-old who enjoyed a positive end to the 2019/20 campaign despite his club side being relegated.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – JULY 09: Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is challenged by Lloyd Kelly of AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur at Vitality Stadium on July 09, 2020 in Bournemouth, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

Stats suggest a drop-off

Lloyd Kelly has been persistently linked with a move to Anfield since Project Restart took place back in June after it seemed that Bournemouth’s survival hopes looked worryingly bleak.

Now that Eddie Howe’s team destiny has been confirmed, the inevitable Lloyd Kelly departure now seems a matter of when rather than if.

Considering Liverpool’s reported interest, we have looked at Lloyd Kelly’s stats to see how they stack up next to the best left-back on the continent.

Unsurprisingly, Lloyd Kelly numbers don’t quite stack up to Robertson’s but this shouldn’t in any way warrant off a move but instead showcase that it is unrealistic to assume it is possible to find a replacement close to Robertson’s level.

Defensively, Kelly averages 0.9 tackles in the seven matches he featured post lockdown. Robertson featured 29 times for this season than the young Englishman while averaging 1.5 tackles a game according to WhoScored.

Kelly also loses out to Robertson in terms of interceptions (0.8 to Robertson’s 1.1) and has a tendency to commit more fouls (0.9 to Robertson’s 0.5).

Offensively there isn’t a left-back in the PL that comes close to Robertson. He has 12 assists this season and averages 1.7 key passes a game.

Kelly meanwhile is yet to register an assist in the English top-flight and he averages 0.3 key passes compared to Robertson which is a huge drop-off.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 17: Lloyd Kelly of Bournemouth during a training session at Vitality Stadium on October 17, 2019 in Bournemouth, England. (Photo by Robin Jones – AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

Worth the gamble?

Another factor that should be considered when weighing up a move is the fact that Lloyd Kelly has played in a much poorer side whereas Robertson is utilised in a system that is built to benefit the full-backs and his forward partner is Sadio Mane who is currently the best left-sided winger in Europe.

Robertson – who signed for a bargain £1om (BBC) was nowhere near the quality of player he is today when he walked through the Melwood doors three years ago.

Every player has to be given a chance if they are to make it to the top. The early signs of Kelly’s credentials are positive and following Bournemouth’s relegation, Liverpool could orchestrate a deal at a cut-price.

A long-discussed move may take some time to sort out when it comes to agreeing on a fee with the Cherries. But it could be well worth it.

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