24 Mar 2015

Redknapp raves: 'Sensational' £37m attacker can 'cut open any team'. Liverpool transfer fail?

On transfer deadline day 2013, Liverpool tried to broker a surprise deal to bring Spain international Juan Mata to Anfield. The deal fell through, and Manchester United ended up signing him for £37m. For whatever reason, Mata has struggled to establish himself at Old Trafford, but he put Liverpool to the sword on Sunday with two glorious goals, prompting ex-Red Jamie Redkapp to shower the Spaniard with praise.

In his Monday column for the Daily Mail, Redknapp hailed 'magic' Mata's 'fantastic football brain' and 'devastating' finishing ability, and raved about his match-winning performance at Anfield. He enthused:

"He [Mata] was sensational at Anfield. All game his touch was like velvet and he showed fantastic technical quality. When he gets in the right place at the right time, he can cut open any team"

In 2011, Kenny Dalglish inexplicably chose to sign Stewart Downing instead of Mata (!), and since then, the Reds have been linked several times with a move for the exciting playmaker.

During the recent January transfer window, the Daily Mail claimed that Van Gaal was willing to sell Mata for £20m, and in response, I conducted a poll on the site asking fans if Rodgers should try and sign the Spaniard:

* 21350 (approx) people participated in the poll.
* 65% of fans selected YES to LFC signing Mata.

Wherever he goes, Mata seems to have to constantly fight to be a first-team regular, and it's hard to understand given his prodigious create return prior over the last few years:

* 2011-12: 12 goals/20 assists in 54 apps.
* 2012-13: 19 goals/37 assists in 64 apps
* 2013-14: 7 goals/8 assists in 32 apps.
* 2014-15: 8 goals/3 assists in 27 apps.
* TOTAL: 46 goals/68 assists (114) in 173 apps.
* Goal/Assist every 1.5 games

Fantastic stats, which categorically prove that if you play Mata consistently, he will score and create a shedload of goals. His output has dropped a little over the last 18 months, but that's mainly because he's been messed around by Moyes and Van Gaal.

I just can't get my head around why a player with this kind of creative capability is constantly under-utilised. 114 goals/assists in 173 appearances! Am I missing something here? These are figures that the likes of Coutinho, Henderson, Markovic et al can only dream of.

If Mata becomes available again at some point, I'd love to see him at Anfield.



  1. Lallana has the same amount of assists, 4 fewer goals in 5 fewer appearances has created nearly as many chances, has won 20 more tackles (usually in the opposition half) has made 11 more clearances (so is obviously doing more defensive work) won 40 odd more duels but is considered near enough a flop by some for around £10m less in transfer fee and god knows how much in wages. Lallana is a harder worker than Mata. Mata has a lot of skill and ability but one thing he is criticised for is his workrate. United and Chelsea fans will tell you that. He had his best game for United on Sunday and now the 20/20 hindsight pundits like Redknapp are sucking him off again. I wonder if Moreno wasn't so poor on the day would there be any talk of Mata?

  2. Yes, just focus on one small part of the season. Look at Mata's history compared to Lallana: he is clearly massively superior when it comes to creative output. Plus, he rarely gets injured. Who cares if Lallana is a 'harder worker' than Mata - goals and assists are what define attacking players, not how many miles run every game, or how many tackles.

    Where did Lallana's hard work and tackles get Liverpool on Sunday when it mattered most? Nowhere.

    Ability to score/create goals is what makes the difference, and Mata is in a different league to Lallana, and always has been.

  3. Redboondocksaint7:54 pm, March 24, 2015

    I rate if Liverpool are looking for a total classy player which is super underrated and ironically a free agent in the summer is Konoplyanka. Lots of people are saying he is not playing in a tough league but if you look at his YouTube clips and watched him against Everton , he is a very skilled player and can score against any keeper in the world. From us nearly purchasing him for 20m to getting him on the free...... Reckon would be a great addition to the premier league.

  4. I am just using this season to make a point. Mata is a better player. That's why he cost more and why is is undoubtedly on much more money. More money than what Sterling wants if the rumors are correct.

    As for who cares who is the harder worker? Me for one. Especially for us. Lallana was in most (managers, sports writers etc) team of the year last year. Part of why he was there was his workrate and pressing from the front. Something very important for how we play. It is a team sport and the team need to work hard and work together.

    Mata has been a great player but doing it in the past means nothing. Doing it now is what matters and he was moved on from Chelsea for a reason. He has had to fight for his place for a reason. That reason? Not performing nearly well enough recently, as shown by his comparable creative outlay with such players like Lallana in the last two seasons.

  5. No on likes a slow player (apart from Alonso) . Mata is slow as the nails that grow on your finger ,
    Mourinho binned him because he also does not have the disciplined required that Oscar,Willian etc have , not very good at tackling.

  6. Mata is not the guy liverpool need.
    Every player LFC ever think about signing should do a sprint and agility test .
    It is simple as if you are not as fast as Coutinho/Saurez then you are not needed.
    All slow players have let us down . Downing,Lallana,Adam,Carroll,Lambert,Balotelli .

  7. Why would we even want them?
    Liverpool we create players . Man united just are a checkbook team.

  8. Redboondocksaint8:38 pm, March 24, 2015

    Exactly I don't want Liverpool to sign a Man U player, very old school in the sense that if they played for a rival club eg Eveton or Man united then no longer interested. I know Konoplyanka plays in a lower league but he is pacey and very skilled player. Sometimes risks are needed to be taken to reap the rewards. Man United said Gerrard was not good enough at age 10 we took the chance and he turned out to be a kop hero. Plus I would love to see Konoplyanka dominate Everton year in year out like he done the other night. We were willing to pay close to 20m for him and now can get him for free.

  9. I almost bit my nails out when KD opted for Downing over Mata. In fact, we had a 2nd bite when on last day he left CFC to MU. Wonderful player - would been the best fit in LFC style (& would have saved 26mn we wasted for Lallana).

  10. Mmm... I'm not quite sure that's how things work...

  11. Redboondocksaint10:53 pm, March 24, 2015

    Please tell me what you rate Jamie K ,Jay Jay and Phil ? I know lfc fans won't like to hear what I have to say but lfc need to have a 3 year plan (in 3rd year winning the PL)..... We achieve this by investing in young players and grooming them while they get pl experience. Players to buy are Keita Diao (20m), Vietto(21m), Max Meyler (12m), Veratti(30m), Konoplyanka (free), Will Hughes(15m) , kovacic (20m) total spent 118m. Players out to fund transfers Bolatelli(15m) , Borini (15m), Lucas (12m), Allen (13m), Aspas(5m), Coates (5m), lllori (5m), Enrique (5m), Alberto(5m), lambert (2m), kolo Toure (release), glen Johnson (Release). Total in 72 m FSG funds Rodgers 46m. We also give Henderson and Sterling their wage demand( hate it but needed). We also keep all our young players and In the 3rd year Lfc will shape up as follows..... Mignolet age 28 / 4yrs pl exp, Flanagan 23 age /5yrs pl exp, Wisdom age 23 / 3yrs pl experience , Sakho age 26 / 4yrs PL exp , Skrtle age 32 / 7 yrs exp, Can 22 age / 3yrs pl exp, Moreno 24 age / 3yrs pl exp , Lovren age 27 / 4 yrs pl exp, Sterling age 23 / 5yrs pl exp, Markovic age 22 / 3yrs pl exp , Lallana 28 age. / 4yrs pl exp, Henderson age 26 / 6 yrs pl exp , Verrati age 24 / 2 yrs pl exp , Kovacic age 22 / 2yrs pl exp , Jordan Ibe age 20 / 3yrs pl exp , Coutinho 24 age / 4yrs pl exp , Max Meyler age 19/ 2yrs pl exp , Sturridge age 27 / yrs pl exp , Teixeira age 24 / 2 yrs pl exp, Konoplyanka age 25 / 2yrs pl exp, Will Huges age 21 / 2yrs pl exp , Vietto age 23 / 2yrs pl exp, Keita Diao age 23 / 2yrs pl exp, Origi age 21 / 2yrs pl exp

  12. Redboondocksaint11:40 pm, March 24, 2015

    Sorry for messing you guys around, just done a little more market value of players and Diao Keita can be pick up for as little as 10m, Kovacic is a future inter player so won't be sold but I reckon instead spending that 20 m on Ward Prowse (Southampton)

  13. I've been a Mata fan since he hit the PL. The only knock I have heard about him is he doesn't track back to defend often enough...to which I say...so what? He makes things happen in the final third and I'd love to see him a LFC.

  14. And if we signed Costa the year before Suarez left. If only......

  15. Liverpool transfer fail?