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…
According to Don Balon, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is keen for the club to explore the possibility of bringing Marco Reus to Anfield.
The German coach worked alongside the Borussia Dortmund attacker for three years at the Signal Iduna Park, where Reus played a key role in helping Klopp reach the Champions League final as well as two DFL-Supercup successes.
If the Dortmund No.11 did arrive on Merseyside, where would he even play?
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The Champions League winners have what is arguably one of Europe’s best attacking trios, so he wouldn’t get into the side in any forward positions where he played sporadically last term.
Instead, the 30-year-old would probably be used as an attacking midfielder, where he featured 22 times last season.
In Klopp’s preferred 4-3-3 system, he opts to play with Fabinho as a deep-lying defensive midfielder, and Jordan Henderson is used as the more forward thinking No.8 – Wijnaldum can also feature in this role, as we saw by his two-goal haul against Barcelona.
So, assuming that Reus would be vying with Henderson and Wijnaldum for that role, it can be argued that the 41-cap Germany international would give Liverpool a new dimension in midfield.
Firstly, Reus’ goal tally from last year is vastly superior to any of the Reds’ other midfielders. He managed to notch 17 Bundesliga goals last term, whilst Henderson and Wijnaldum scored four between them with one and three respectively.
Unexpectedly, however, it is the German attacker’s work going backwards that would offer a new dimension along with the added bonus of goals.
When you think of Reus you probably don’t associate him with defending, yet he averaged 1.2 tackles and 1.2 clearances per game last term, as per WhoScoerd, compared to Henderson’s 1.4 and 0.4 in the same departments – Wijnaldum is the weakest defensive performer with 1.2 and 0.7.
Those defensive stats aren’t too dissimilar to two of Klopp’s most regular starters, but Reus offers a shed-load of goals whereas Henderson and Wijnaldum do not.
If he were to be signed and thrown into the side in that No.8/No.10 role that Henderson and Wijnaldum occupy between themselves, it would hand Klopp a new dimension that he doesn’t already have at his disposal in midfield.