Liverpool can avoid transfer battle for Kylian Mbappe by targeting these alternatives

Liverpool can avoid transfer battle for Kylian Mbappe by targeting these alternatives

If you were to ask Liverpool fans which strikers in world football are better than their club’s top three, that would probably be a pretty small list.
Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah are among the Reds’ top 20 scorers of all time, with the latter only 12 fewer to climb into the top 10.

As a trio, they are only four off the 300-goal mark, which is a remarkable comeback.

Still, while Kopites wouldn’t be able to list too many attackers they prefer, there would surely be unanimous agreement on just one name – Kylian Mbappe.

Fans had a lot of fun using the # Mbappe2020 hashtag on social media a few years ago, and their interest hasn’t waned since either.

But they and Liverpool obviously have to be realistic.

If the Reds do not qualify for the Champions League, it’s impossible to see the 22-year-old World Cup winner join, even before considering the colossal finances required to strike a deal.

Michael Edwards and his team of experts are renowned for unearthing high performing players, and they could perhaps get a more realistic target than Mbappe if Jurgen Klopp was looking to broaden his attacking options this summer.

After going through a range of stats, here is a quartet of players who could do the trick for Liverpool.

Moussa Diaby

If we rule out Lionel Messi, Raheem Sterling and Timo Werner as transfer targets for the Reds, then according to Statsbomb data on FBRef, Diaby is the player who is statistically most similar to Mbappe.

It may seem odd in light of the 21-year-old’s career tally of just 10 league goals. But with the eighth-highest number of shots on target in Germany so far this season, there could be more to come as the youngster develops further.

He was in any case more competent as a creator, having scored 19 goals, including two for Mbappe when they were together at Paris Saint-Germain in 2018/19.

Diaby is also an excellent dribbler, as evidenced by the fact that he is second only to Jadon Sancho in the Bundesliga for carrying the ball into the final third or into the penalty area this season.

The wide forward could get the Main and Sir Kenny Dalglish pits back on their feet at Anfield when fans return, should the opportunity arise.

Joaquin Correa

Another player who could leave fans scratching their heads in the comparison is Lazio’s Joaquin Correa, who has yet to score more than nine league goals in a single season.

But the Argentine – who scored at Anfield for Sevilla in 2017 – is generally more of a creative player, like Diaby.

Among forwards from the Big Five European Leagues, Correa is in the 96th percentile for shot creation actions over the past 365 days (by FBRef).

He is also among the top six percent to have carried the ball towards the opposing goal and received assists in dangerous areas during the same period.

Liverpool were said to have been interested in the player 12 months ago, and whether that story is true or not, it’s at least clear why they could have been excited.

Inaki Williams

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Athletic Bilbao’s Inaki Williams is another talented striker who has been linked to the Reds in the past, but maybe the real lesson here is that almost all good players have been if you read enough gossip about them. transfers.

Nonetheless, Williams is another player who statistically matches Mbappe (according to smarterscout) and is said to be in the realm of realistic potential signings.

His versatility makes him quite difficult to gauge through the numbers, as he splits his time between (mostly) being a center forward while playing on the right wing at times.

Either way, he’s excellent both at receiving the ball in dangerous areas and at dribbling it himself.

Only one La Liga player has received more progressive passes than Williams this season, and it’s a very familiar name. No, not Lionel Messi, but Iago Aspas.

The 26-year-old is also seventh for carrying the ball into the penalty area, and he has been among Spain’s top 10 players for those two stats in each of the past three seasons.

Tabac Zapata

It probably seems unlikely that Liverpool will complete their aging third front with a player soon to be 30, but these are unusual times.

If they were willing to consider a veteran, Atalanta’s Duvan Zapata (who, you guessed, they’ve been linked with before) might be an option.

And unlike the other players on the list, the Colombian has no problem with the score, as his 72 Serie A goals over the past five seasons will attest.

He’s more awkward in the box than some of his rivals here too.

Romelu Lukaku is the only Serie A player to have had more hits in the opposition penalty areas this season, and the former Evertonian is only ahead of one.

This helps explain why Zapata is among the top 10 Italian players for shots, attempts on target and goals expected every 90 minutes in 2020/21.


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