Liverpool believe the hype around Antony, according to reports. So what has the Reds looking at a £55m transfer?
Yahoo sports claim that Liverpool like the look of Antony. That’s the Ajax winger that Manchester United are supposedly very, very high on themselves.
It’s an interesting one, given Liverpool don’t obviously need a big-money right-winger. Mohamed Salah just renewed his contract, after all, and Antony would cost around £55m. So why, exactly, would the Reds consider this move?
The obvious reason is simply that Antony is a fantastic player.
The hype around Antony
Stats show just how good Antony is – even the basic ones. This is a player who scored eight times and assisted another four in the Eredivisie last season, despite his total minutes sitting at 1724. That’s the equivalent of 19.2 full games.
That came after a season in which Antony scored nine and assisted eight in a similar number of minutes. He’s a player who can deliver the goods consistently.
But what about the underlying stats? We can turn to FBref for those, who used Statsbomb data in the Champions League to show how well a player stacks up. The website puts players’ averages into percentiles – and Antony comes out very well.
For instance, Antony sits in the 98th percentile or above amongst wingers and attacking midfielders for shots, assists, progressive carries, progressive passes received and – surprisingly – interceptions. All are key attributes that Liverpool love in a winger.
The progressive carries stat is an interesting one. It’s the number of times a player dribbles the ball at least five yards towards the opposition goal – not counting the 40 yards closest to his own goal. It’s a way of showing how often a player can move the team forward.
Progressive passes received is something the likes of Mohamed Salah thrive on. It’s an ability to get in good positions and receive the ball at least 10 yards further up the pitch than the team has been in their last six passes. Yes, it sounds a little complex but good players do it consistently – they find a way to get themselves open close to goal.
Interceptions are an obvious stat for Liverpool to like, too. While Antony’s pressing stats aren’t great, the fact he knows how to win the ball back suggests there’s huge potential there.
Liverpool could move
As we say, there’s no great need for Antony right now as Liverpool boast so many great forwards. But this could be a case of the Reds not wanting to miss out on a player they think is ideal.
Perhaps they want their Salah successor in early, perhaps Jurgen Klopp simply wants more depth. Regardless, it’s hard to see how such a deal could go wrong if Liverpool pursued it.
While we’d still fancy United to get this one done, Antony is certainly a player Liverpool should consider.