Liverpool reported target Manuel Akanji comes out on top against Dayot Upamecano
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Liverpool reported target Manuel Akanji comes out on top against Dayot Upamecano

Liverpool have been touted with an interest in signing Borussia Dortmund defender Manuel Akanji, as per The Mail.

The 25-year-old centre back has been identified as a potential alternative to RB Leipzig’s Dayot Upamecano.

Upamecano, 22, was considered as Liverpool’s primary central defensive target. However, reports from The Athletic indicate that Bayern Munich are the favourites to land the French-born powerhouse.

As Upamecano gears towards a move to the Allianz Arena, we’ve taken a look at how Akanji stacks up in comparison to see if a move is worth pursuing.

Of course, stats do not tell the full story, but in the modern market, they are the best indication of determining on who will and will not be a proven success.

That may well be of interest to Liverpool fans if the Mail’s report turns out to be accurate in regards to a future bid.

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Defensive numbers

WhoScored’s comparison is split into defensive, offensive and passing numbers.

For centre-backs, the only place to start is with defensive stats, and they’re fairly evenly matched 12 games into the Bundesliga season.

Akanji has made more tackles per game (1.9 to 1.3), interceptions (1.7 to 1), clearances (2.8 to 2.3) and marginally fewer fouls (0.8 to 0.9).

Upamecano does come out top in terms of blocks (0.8 to 0.2) which paints the picture that he is better positionally placed, whereas Akanji is a more proactive, front-foot defender.

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Towering attacking threats

Going forward, both players are a threat from set pieces and have a league goal each to their name this season.

They are both deadlocked in terms of key passes (0.3 to 0.3), however, Akanji marginally gets the win with dribbles (0.4 to 0.3) which demonstrates both players enjoy striding out from the back making passes.

Akanji is slightly less secure in possession, with more dispossessions (0.4 to 0.3) although Upamecano has significantly more unsuccessful touches (0.8 to 0.1).

This could be because he’s taking more risks on the ball than Akanji, or simply the fluctuations you might expect from a defender younger than the Dortmund star.

Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

Akanji comes out on top again

As of far, Akanji has marginally got the edge statistically to Upamecano, but there is a stark contrast in their passing statistics – where the former outshines the latter substantially.

Upamecano is making an average 81 passes a game, dwarfed by Akanje, who has over 90 in match.

Upamecano’s pass success is an impressive 90 per cent, but Akanje’s is just under 92.

He does better the Switzerland international in terms of long passes (6.3 to 4.7). Some of these variations may be attributed to the tactical demands of their managers, but it indicates that Akanji is more effective in possession.

While Upamecano remains the preferred choice when you consider supporters will get a first-hand look when Liverpool face Leipzig next year, the stats should convince fans that Akanji is an option that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

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