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Data tells us these 3 Liverpool players are about to explode into life

Data suggests three Liverpool players will explode into life after the international break. Things just haven’t clicked as they should yet.

We’ve gone over Statstbomb data on Fbref to see which Liverpool players just aren’t having the rub of the green right now. Three stand out to us as stars who should hit new heights after the international break.

Thiago

Of all players at Liverpool, the data looks best for Thiago to push on at hit new levels. Though, this shouldn’t surprise many.

Injuries have held the Spaniard back thus far, limiting him to the equivalent of just 2.2 90s in the Premier League this season. But he’s been mightily impressive over those minutes.

Thiago tops Liverpool for passes into the final third per 90 and by some way. He also leads the Reds for progressive passes per 90 – a particularly key stat.

A progressive pass is one that moves the team forwards at least 10 yards further than they have been in any of the previous six passes. It’s a great indicator of who can play the difficult pass that gets things going.

Thiago plays 13 per game – a monstrous number.

He’s also averaging 5.4 shot-creating actions per game. That’s an action – like a dribble, pass or shot – that leads to a teammate having a chance within two actions. For example, the pass to someone who then sets up a teammate or a dribble that creates a shot. Or, of course, setting up a chance yourself.

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Only Trent Alexander-Arnold can top Thiago in that stat. He also tops Liverpool for progressive carries and 4th for carries into the final third.

Thiago has a very small sample size but his numbers are ridiculous. This is all stuff he showed last season, too, and if he gets more minutes, the Spaniard will dominate.

Naby Keita

Unlike Thiago, Keita doesn’t shine with his passing. Instead, he’s a dribbler and a brilliant one at that.

For instance, only Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane have carried the ball into the penalty area more on average. That’s a wonderful thing and a real strength of Keita.

But that’s only half of the reason we think he’s going to improve. The other half is that he’s not actually dribbling very much.

Keita has attempted to take players on twice in the Premier League this season over the equivalent of four 90s. That’s not twice per 90, it’s twice total. That’s a bizarrely low amount for the Guinean – he averaged over 2.5 per 90 last season and over 2.8 the season before that.

His progressive carries are the lowest of his career, too, as are his carries into the final third. We’re not sure why but Keita just isn’t running with the ball all that much.

Because Keita is world-class with his dribbling. As we say, he tried to take players on a lot last season and did it with an 80% success rate – that’s insane. Salah and Mane average under 50% and they’re elite at it.

It’s not even an unusual percentage for Keita as he averaged 76% success the year before.

So while Keita is doing well this season, we still think there’s a lot more to come. He’s going to look fantastic once he finally leans into his strength.

Diogo Jota

Jota is already playing well this season. He has four goals and an assist, with more to come.

But we want to focus on assists. Jota is showing incredible improvement with creating chances and his expected assists are at 2.4. So he’s underperforming in that stat by 1.4, the largest amount at Liverpool.

Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images

It’s a weird stat, though, as it’s not Jota’s fault that he’s underperforming. Teammates just aren’t finishing the chances he’s creating.

And he’s creating a lot of them – 2.1 per 90, to be exact. That’s the third-highest at Liverpool, with 16 total over his Premier League games. The 24-year-old is creating more per 90 than Mohamed Salah, yet the Egyptian has seven assists to Jota’s one.

This is far more than Jota showed last season. In fact, he’s already created more than he did in his debut campaign (12).

So while his stats sheet only reads ‘one’ for assists, it should be far more. Stats like this usually sort themselves out, too, and we expect Jota to start getting far more assists over the course of the campaign.

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