Data on £34m man shows one shockingly poor statistic that could put Liverpool entirely off a deal - RTK View
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Data on £34m man shows one shockingly poor statistic that could put Liverpool entirely off a deal - RTK View

Data on Marco Asensio shows one shockingly poor statistic that could put Liverpool off a deal. The Reds reportedly want the player.

Reports out of Spain this month claim that Liverpool like Marco Asensio. The most recent of those is from Cope, who say the Reds – along with AC Milan – have put an offer to the Spaniard.

AS made the first claim in June, saying that Liverpool had let Asensio know that they wanted him. What wasn’t clear, however, was whether that meant trying to buy him now or when his contract expires next year.

Real Madrid appear to want £34m in order to sell right now and that’s a very high price. We do think Liverpool can justify signing Asensio but at that price, it’s a big ask. Especially when you look at his data.

Data on Marco Asensio

When you think about a Liverpool player, or what Jurgen Klopp wants from them, one thing stands out – pressing. That intensity is the hallmark of this team. It’s one that pushes very high up the pitch, squeezes the space in which opponents can play and tries to win the ball back quickly.

All three of Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are excellent pressers. Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz quickly showed they’re elite at it, too, helping them fit into this Liverpool side perfectly.

But that’s one area where Asensio really falls flat. Like, really falls flat. His pressing stats are actually quite shocking, in fact, and it makes you wonder if a Liverpool move is even possible.

FBref uses Statsbomb data to show how often a player applies pressure over 90 minutes of football. The site also compares players by position, putting their data into percentiles compared to similar players across Europe’s Top 5 leagues.

Asensio, who is compared to other wingers and attacking midfielders, sits in the 7th percentile for pressures per 90. He only does it 10.67 times per 90. For comparison, Jota presses 23 times per 90, which puts him in the 93rd percentile. To go further, no attacking midfielder or winger presses more often than Liverpool’s no.20 in the final third. That’s the standard at Anfield.

Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images

But that’s not even the shocking stat here. A ‘successful pressure’ is one where the player’s team wins the ball back within six seconds of the press. The player himself doesn’t need to win the ball back, just contributes to it.

Asensio is successful with roughly 2.32 pressures per 90 – that is literally in the bottom percentile across Europe. Liverpool’s Portuguese pressing star is successful 6.42 times per 90 – again, the 93rd percentile.

We’re not saying that Liverpool won’t sign Asensio but we are saying that they won’t pay £34m for him. There’s a chance that they can team him to press at an elite level, of course, though the risk is such that you wouldn’t pay that kind of fee. On a free or a cut-price deal? Sure – you can take a chance on your abilities to teach.

But as things stand, we’re not sure Liverpool can actually justify paying that price.

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