Here are the top five tacklers at Liverpool this season. The Reds might be in a defensive crisis but they have players they can rely on.
Liverpool do have an abundance of tacklers in their squad. That’s a very good thing, too, as injuries at the back risk leaving them weak in defence.
Fortunately, none of the top five tacklers are out injured. It’s a fairly diverse bunch, too. (All stats per Whoscored)
5. Gini Wijnaldum
Gini Wijnaldum squeezes above one tackle per game at 1.1. He’s Liverpool’s jack of all trades, playing box-to-box and is wonderful security with the ball as well as without.
With his contract expiring in June, Liverpool will need to decide if they can afford to lose that.
4. Joel Matip
You expect to see centre-halves on a list like this but in reality, you really shouldn’t. High lines and runs in behind mean the role is far more about positioning, interceptions, and covering space than it is closing down and tackling.
So Joel Matip being high on the list, averaging 1.3 tackles per game, is a surprise. For perspective, Virgil van Dijk is 13th with 0.6 and Joe Gomez 16th with 0.4.
Matip is something of a unique player, then. That might be what Liverpool need this season.
=2. Jordan Henderson
The captain, like Wijnaldum is another jack of all trades. That’s how Liverpool like their midfield, after all.
But whereas the Dutchman is a little more attacking, Jordan Henderson is a little more defensive. And this reflects that.
Henderson averages 1.7 tackles per game in the heart of midfield.
=2. Sadio Mane
We knew Sadio Mane was a pressing force but this is something else. He matches Henderson’s 1.7, despite being an all-out forward.
It goes to show just how valuable the pressing is at Liverpool and how effective it can be. Mane is clearly the standout in attack, though.
His 1.7 exactly matches the combined figures of Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, with 0.9 and 0.8 respectively.
You probably guessed this before you opened the article, to be honest. Fabinho is far and away the best tackler at Liverpool.
The Brazilian averages a massive 2.8 per game – 14th best in the Premier League. But we don’t think that’s a fair reflection.
As we mentioned when discussing Matip, centre-halves don’t tackle as often as midfielders. Fabinho, who has dropped back into defence this season, will have fewer than he probably would have otherwise, then.
The top performers in the Premier League are typically holding players. Allan, Oriol Romeu and Kalvin Phillips take up three of the top four. We imagine Fabinho would match – or perhaps better them – in a normal season.