Ozan Kabak could make his Liverpool debut later today against Manchester City. Here’s how the defender fared against elite opposition for Schalke this season.
Liverpool host Manchester City later today and Ozan Kabak might just make his debut. The player is available for the game and it just comes down to whether Jurgen Klopp takes an early chance on him.
City, though, are tough first opponents. They’ll put the Reds under more pressure than anyone this season, which to be fair, is why we think Kabak might start.
He’s used to defending his own box far more than both Jordan Henderson and Fabinho are. The 20-year-old has also played against elite opponents this season in Bayern Munich.
So how did he fare in those games? It’s a mixed bag to say the least.
We’ll start with the obvious negatives, here. Schalke 04 lost 8-0 away to Bayern and 4-0 at home. Kabak played the full 90 minutes in each.
Both appearances came in a back four and both look quite bad.
The underlying stats for Kabak are a little better, though. In that 8-0, for instance, the defender won the one aerial challenge he had and both tackles he attempted.
He also wasn’t dribbled past once and contributed four clearances.
Perfect performance, then? No. Kabak didn’t make any interceptions and was tackled once. He also failed to make any blocks, which is quite strange in an 8-0 defeat.
We also have to point out that Bayern’s third was a penalty after Kabak fouled Roberto Lewandowski. It was not a good tackle.
One bizarre stat, though, is that Kabak completed four dribbles. That was twice as many as any other player. Bayern only completed six as a team.
The 4-0 was a much better result – though, still a heavy defeat – but Kabak didn’t play as well.
He only completed one dribble out of two and was dribbled past himself once. Kabak also completed just 50 per cent of his tackles (1 of 2) and made just one interception.
Kabak did win the most headers in the game, however, with five.
What does it say?
The main takeaway is that Kabak is not going to hold City back on his own. But then, he is only 20.
The chances is there, however, of things to fall apart a bit and he’ll need better help than he got at Schalke. That should be quite easy to provide, though.
One positive is that Kabak is confident against top sides. He’ll bring the ball out from the back successfully, while he can win headers.
He’ll need to up his interceptions, though. One in two games when you’re under that much pressure is quite bad.
So a lot of work to do but Kabak’s stats really aren’t that bad, here. If Liverpool do provide him with the help he needs, the £1.5m loanee could end up with a good game.