20 Sept 2015

81% Smackdown: Liverpool fans insist 'brilliant' £75k-a-week star must start today instead of Dejan Lovren (site poll)

After his effective performance against Bordeaux on Thursday, it seems likely that Mamadou Sakho will retain his place for today's vital Premier League game with Norwich. Who should make, though: Lovren, or Sakho? On Friday, Liverpool legend Mark Lawrenson urged Brendan Rodgers to drop Skrtel, but it appears that Reds fans resoundingly disagree with the Dane on this particular issue.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo, Molby explained:

"In terms of who he might replace, I'd like to see Lovren alongside Sakho for a couple of games.

"It's time for Martin Skrtel to have a rest. I don't know if he has been affected by the change in formation and defensive team-mates, but he's definitely off form".

On Friday, I conducted a poll on the site asking fans who should make way for Sakho, and the result are emphatic:

For me, it's a no-brainer. Overall, in terms of of positive defensive contributions per minute, Skrtel - described by Jordan Henderson as 'brilliant' - is more effective than Lovren (and Sakho).

Skrtel is, as a matter of irrefutable fact, Liverpool's most consistent defender over the last two years, and irrespective of spurious exaggerations about his form, this is proven by OPTA stats. For example, last two completely league seasons combined:

Skrtel vs. Lovren/Sakho: 2013-2015

Minutes Played:

* MS: 6191 | DL: 4824 | MSA: 2895

Passing Accuracy:

* MS: 90% | DL: 83% | MSA: 90%

Duels Won:

* MS: 604 (1 every 10 mins) | DL 359 (1 every 13 mins) | MSA: 272 (1 every 11 mins)


* MS: 1211 (1 every 5 mins) | DL: 722 (1 every 6.6 mins) | MSA: 527 (1 every 5.5 mins)

Tackles Won:

* MS: 82% | DL: 76% | MSA: 81%

Bad Control/Dispossessed

* MS: 26 (1 every 238 mins) | DL: 29 (1 every 166 mins) | MSA: 37 (1 every 78 mins)

Stats: OPTA

As you can see, when it comes to positive defensive contributions per minute, Skrtel - who reportedly earns £75k-a-week - is the most consistently effective defender over the last two years, and in comparison with Lovren, he exceeds the Croatian on every level.

Skrtel is also more effective than Sakho in every defensive area, and is streets ahead of the Frenchman when it comes retaining possession. For all Sakho's much vaunted passing ability, he gives the ball away and/or miscontrols (which can lead to confusion/instability in defence) once every 78 minutes, compared to once every 238 minutes for Skrtel.

Drop Skrtel? You're having a laugh.

Author: Jaimie K


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