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 SPORT, Liverpool are vying with Barcelona for the signature of €20m-rated (£18m) Augsburg left-back Philipp Max, as the Reds look to find back-up for Andy Robertson.
The Champions League winners are fairly thin on the ground in the left-back department after Alberto Moreno’s contract expired – behind Robertson, only academy prospects Adam Lewis and Yasser Larouci would be able to provide first-team cover.
So, the interest in Max makes sense. But what type of player is he and what could he offer Liverpool?
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Well, for a start, we know that Jurgen Klopp likes his full-backs to get forward and attack – it could even be argued that they are the most important part of the German’s side as they provide width whilst the wingers act as inverted forwards instead (Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane didn’t both win the Golden Boot by hugging the touchline).
Would Max fit the bill in that respect? Judging by this statistical comparison with the Scotland international, the 25-year-old may even be a more attack-minded left-back than Robertson.
Let’s not discount Robertson here, because he proved last term that he is one of the best in Europe.
However, if Klopp was looking for a full-back who threatens the goal a bit more directly than the former Hull man, the German does seem to be more keen to venture forward rather than defending.
This is shown by the fact that Max scored four goals compared to none for Robertson, and whilst he has nine less assists, the fact that the Augsburg man made 0.6 more key passes per game suggests that may be down to poor finishing from his teammates – their top scorer was Alfred Finnbogason with 10 goals.
Additionally, the fact that Max averages a whole tackle less than Robertson does prove that he may turn a blind eye to his defensive work in the hope of getting a goal.
Klopp has no need to replace Robertson as of now, but in terms of finding a similar option to play as back-up and fill in for cup games, Max does seem like a good alternative and one who can provide a more direct style.