Liverpool's five best passers of the 2021/22 season - 'magic' player is the best in Europe's top 5 leagues


Liverpool's five best passers of the 2021/22 season - 'magic' player is the best in Europe's top 5 leagues

We have a look at the five best passers at Liverpool in the 2021/22 season. The Reds boast some of Europe’s best.

Liverpool’s passing can perhaps fly a little under the radar – they’re known for their pace, pressing, and high-energy football over possession skill. But Jurgen Klopp has built a team now capable of passing teams off the pitch.

Here we have a look at the best passers at Liverpool across the season just finished. We’re using Statsbomb’s Premier League data on Fbref on this – you can find it here.

Liverpool’s best passers

5. Mohamed Salah

Salah’s not exactly known for his passing but it’s difficult to look beyond him on a list like this. While he may not control a pass as well as others, his creativity in the season just passed was outstanding at times.

His ‘expected assists’ per 90 minutes were 0.35 – so around an assist every three games. That’s the fourth-best in the Premier League and the second-best at Liverpool. Salah also found a teammate in the penalty area 1.99 times per 90 – that’s the 16th best in the league.

The standout stat? No one in the Premier League helped create more goals through a pass than Salah (17).

While he may not pass as well as others, few can doubt how dangerous the Egyptian is when doing so.

4. Virgil van Dijk

No Liverpool player boasted a better pass completion than Van Dijk – 90.8%. Now, you could put that down to safe passing but that’s not the case with the Dutchman. He’s far down the list on short passes for Liverpool and sits at the very top for medium (15 – 30 yards) and third for long-distance passes.

Liverpool trust Van Dijk to move the ball forward however he wants and he does it with fantastic consistency. A valuable asset to have at the back.

3. Joel Matip

As we say, a passing centre-back is a valuable asset to have and Liverpool have two of them. Matip actually outdoes Van Dijk when it comes to passing, though.

For instance, Matip attempts the fourth-most long passes per game (14.7) and only one player completes a higher percentage. That’s a fantastic sign that you’ve got a fantastic passer in the team.

But where Matip really differs from Van Dijk is in how often he moves the ball into vital areas. He finds a Liverpool player in the final third 6.32 times per 90 minutes – only three others can top that.

2. Trent Alexander-Arnold

It’s probably a little controversial to put Alexander-Arnold as no.2 here – he’s got a fantastic case to be no.1. He unsurprisingly leads the way in key passes (2.81 per 90), expected assists (0.35) and completed passes into the penalty area (2.81).

Unsurprisingly, those numbers also stack up well in the Premier League. Only Kevin De Bruyne (3.59) and Christian Eriksen (3.08) complete more key passes, only the Belgian has more expected assists (0.39), and no one completes more passes into the penalty area.

Photo by Jonathan Moscrop/Getty Images

Honestly, the only thing holding the Liverpool man back is his pass completion – 74%. Alexander-Arnold gets there by seeing and trying incredibly difficult things, rather than consistently competing his attempts. A world-class player with world-class vision and one of the absolute best around.

1. Thiago

It’s outrageous how good Thiago is at passing. He may well be the best on the planet, quite honestly, and he does things that no one else can. Sadio Mané called his passing ‘magic’ earlier this season and it’s easy to see why.

One thing we haven’t really touched on here is a ‘progressive pass’. It’s any completed pass that moves the team at least 10 yards further up the pitch than they had been in the last six passes. The stat allows you to judge who can truly break down defensive lines and get the team forward.

Thiago does that 10.3 times per 90 minutes – an unbelievable rate. That is the best at Liverpool, the best in the Premier League and the best across Europe’s top five leagues. Next is Lionel Messi with 10.2, then Joshua Kimmich at 9.7, Toni Kroos at 8.89 and Alexander-Arnold with 8.77.

And that’s not even the only stat Thiago leads the way in. No one completes a pass into the final third more often across those leagues (11.7) – Kroos is second with 11.5.

On top of it all, Thiago maintains a pass completion of over 90%. It’s unbelievable quality and for us, he might be the best in the world right now.

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