31 Oct 2015

Arsenal legend raves: 'Outstanding' £12m Liverpool star was 'Man-of-the-Match' against Chelsea. Agree?

His his first press conference as Liverpool's manager, Jurgen Klopp insisted that a 'stable defence' is one of his top priorities, and with three goals conceded in his first five games, it's clear that the German is having the desired defensive impact. The Reds put in another good defensive display against Chelsea today, and according to Arsenal legend Lee Dixon, Martin Skrtel led by example, and delivered a Man-of-the-Match performance.

Commentating on Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Chelsea, Dixon raved:

"Skrtel has been immense today. He's been absolutely outstanding, and marshalled the defence brilliantly. He’s been the man-of-the-match".

Rather unsurprisingly, I totally agree with this. As I've repeatedly shown with factual stats, Skrtel is Liverpool's most consistently effective defender over the last three years.

The £12m-rated Slovakian showed that again today with an another imperious performance, and the primary stats illustrate his effectiveness.

* 9 interceptions/clearances (four more than Sakho over the 90 minutes.

* Won 80% of ground duels, and 75% of aerial duels (more than any of the other defenders).

* 85% passing accuracy (third best in the team behind Sakho and Firmino).

Interestingly, neither Skrtel or Sakho made a single tackle during the game, which seems strange for central defenders, but perhaps suggests that positioning and anticipation are improving, thus removing the need to make last-ditch challenges.

Sakho also had another excellent game, although what sets Skrtel apart is that he didn't make mistakes in possession. On at least two occasions, Sakho dawdled on the ball and got dispossessed in a dangerous area, and the second time, it could've led to a goal.

For some inexplicable reason, Moreno lost concentration for the goal, and his ball-watching proved to be fatal. It's a recurring issue with the Spaniard, and it needs to improve (as does his passing accuracy, which was the lowest in the team).

Defensively, though, both Moreno and Clyne played their part, and completed ten tackles between them, though it seems like the only goal-producing defensive mistakes these days are coming from the full-backs.

The strange thing is, Chelsea were superior defensively across the board. Collectively, Jose Mourinho's team completed more tackles, clearances, interceptions, and won more ground/aerial duels, yet Liverpool still scored three goals and won the game.

As Jimmy Greaves once said: 'Football - it's a funny old game'.

Author: Jaimie K



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