Allan Saint-Maximin will be a name that the majority of Liverpool players will be hoping to forget after last Saturday’s game against Newcastle United.
The French attacker gave the Reds midfield and defence a torrid time. His electric pace and silky ball control caused problems for the full 90 minutes in the disappointing 1-1 draw.
This was obvious from simply watching the game, but the stats back it up.
Saint-Maximin attempted 12 dribbles, completing eight, which was more than twice the player with the next most.
He won the most duels in the game, with 12, but also lost the most, with 13. This goes to show how involved he was in the game with the ball at his feet.
There were moments where Liverpool’s players’ only way to stop him was by fouling him. He won three freekicks, the joint-most of all 27 players that played.
Clearly won over by the sheer excitement level of Saint-Maximin’s playing style, one Liverpool fan replied to a Tweet asking for the 24-year-old to sign for the Reds to replace Sadio Mane, who endured yet another tough afternoon.
The respectful Saint-Maximin replied with grace, saying that he had a long way to go to reach Mane’s level.
It was an incredibly nice gesture as Saint-Maximin attempted to remind the Liverpool fans of how much the Senegalese has done for their club.
Mane has had a tough few months on the pitch. He looks a shell of the player that was one of the best in the world just 12 months ago.
Some are worried that, at 29, he is past his best.
Saint-Maximin clearly thinks differently but, if Liverpool do look to replace Mane soon, would the Toon man be a good replacement?
Saint-Maximin and Mane have similarities
When at his best, Saint-Maximin is simply unplayable. Much like Mane in fact.
Pace, quick feet, close control: there are many similarities between the pair.
In fact, at 24, Mane himself was at a lower-end Premier League side waiting for the chance to explode but he joined at Liverpool, much like Saint-Maximin is right now.
The issue with Saint-Maximin is trying to use his obvious talent to contribute to more goals.
He has three goals and four assists in his last two seasons, albeit with a few games still to play this campaign.
What may be a slight worry is that he is actually overperforming on his xG and xA, meaning that he is actually lucky to get as many goals and assists as he does.
It’s possible that this changes in a more attacking system, but not certain either.
What he is is an elite dribbler, who excites fans and troubles opposition players without actually contributing much to winning football games.
However, a player like Allan Saint-Maximin is always worth having.
He would be an invaluable weapon off the bench for Liverpool but, unfortunately, he looks unlikely to be able to make the step up to Mane’s peak level.
If Liverpool could get him for relatively cheap, they should.
This may only be possible if Newcastle get relegated, as he has five years left on his contract according to Transfermarkt. They would probably look for double the £16m they paid for him if they stay up.
So yes, Allan Saint-Maximin would be a good addition to the Liverpool squad.
But perhaps to replace Xherdan Shaqiri, not Mane.