Dayot Upamecano to Bayern Munich has proven to be one of the worst kept secrets in football after the France international agreed to join the reigning European champions for the 2021/22 season this week.
For Liverpool, this was a tough one to take, especially given the number of reports that had identified the 22-year-old as a prime central defensive target to Jurgen Klopp.
Upamecano chooses Bayern over Liverpool
In many aspects, Upamecano seemed like the perfect candidate. He is young, has European experience and most of all, was available for a moderate price.
Still, this wasn’t enough as Upamecano opted to remain in the Bundesliga, with Bayern, once again, poaching the best player from their nearest and fiercest rivals in the German top-flight.
Unsurprisingly, then, there was a lot of anticipation from Liverpool supporters’ behalf to see if Upamecano lived up to the billing during Tuesday night’s Champions League last-16 first-leg.
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How did he perform?
Put bluntly, he underwhelmed spectacularly. Indeed, it is overly critical to judge Upamecano solely from one performance. But, it was difficult to overlook the number of glaring errors the Frenchman made at the heart of the Leipzig defence.
Perhaps what was most noticeable, was his inability to maintain possession for his team. On countless occasions, Upamecano was at fault for losing the ball.
His passing accuracy, after all, was a strikingly moderate 71 per cent – which was fundamentally lower than any Liverpool player on the pitch.
To put his total into perspective, his central defensive counterpart, Jordan Henderson, clocked up a pass success rate of 88 per cent. Meanwhile, Ozan Kabak boasted a total of 84 per cent, per WhoScored.
It’s clear, then, that Upamecano doesn’t look to take the safe option when in possession. This could be viewed in a positive light as it demonstrates his boldness in taking risks.
However, in such a high-stakes game, you cannot afford to gift possession back to the opposition every three in 10 passes.
So, it seems that the wait to witness Upamecano in action didn’t quite live up to billing on this particular occasion.
Still, it would be premature and foolish to write off such a talented player after one bad performance. But, Liverpool should have enough to see put this tie to bed and progress through the quarter-finals at Upamecano’s expense next month.
Let’s see what the Anfield faithful had to say on the performance of Upamecano last night…