This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Although Aston Villa’s defeat to Liverpool on Saturday was extremely disappointing for the club given they had taken the lead against Jurgen Klopp’s side, the West Midlands’ outfit would be unwise to take no collective or individual positives from the fixture against the champions of Europe.
A first-half goal from Trezeguet was not enough for Dean Smith’s men, with late strikes from Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane propelling the Reds on to extend their unbeaten run in 2019/20.
But one of Villa’s star performers in the fixture is steadily going about his business in underlining his indispensability to the club.
Signed from Club Brugge in an £11m deal, Marvelous Nakamba has slowly grown into his role as an enforcer at the heart of Smith’s midfield, and the fact it took Liverpool until the 87th minute to break their duck against the newly-promoted side points to the outstanding job that the Zimbabwean international is doing at Villa Park.
Having not started in his side’s first four league games, Nakamba has been a mainstay in the starting XI for Villa’s last seven league fixtures, during which time they have picked up points in every game excluding away trips to Arsenal and Manchester City alongside Saturday’s defeat to Liverpool.
Impressively, Nakamba’s tackle success rate of 83.3% was the second-highest of any player last weekend who attempted more than five tackles; only behind Manchester United’s Scott McTominay.
This profile of player, whose duties are primarily defensive, is proving crucial to Smith – despite his side’s porous backline who are letting their guard down late in games, as shown against Liverpool.
Nakamba displayed his industrious work rate yet again on Saturday, and the midfielder remaining fit will be crucial for Villa if they are to get their season back on track and regain some momentum in an attempt to remain a Premier League side for 2020/21 and beyond.