4 May 2016

Anfield Surprise? Liverpool legend urges Klopp to replace Lallana with 'brilliant' €40m attacker for Villareal

With Liverpool's crunch clash with Villareal just over 24 hours away, speculation over possible team selection is in full swing, and according to Reds legend John Aldridge, Klopp should drop one of his favourites for Thursday's semi-final.

In his column for the Liverpool Echo this week, Aldo insisted that Sturridge, Coutinho, Allen, Lucas, and Milner 'must start' the game, which leaves just one attacking spot up for grabs. Who should get it? According to Aldo:

"The real decision, for me, is whether Adam Lallana or Roberto Firmino starts. Firmino didn’t do a lot in Villarreal, but he is a threat and gets goals".

Both Lallana and Firmino are in the midst of dry spells right now, so the decision is not as clear-cut as it seems:

* Firmino: 1 goal/0 assists in last 8 games (9.4 hours).

* Lallana: 1 goal/0 assists in last 8 games (9.5 hours)

Clearly, neither player is having any real impact on results right now, though Lallana's impact in the Europa League this season is marginally better:

* Firmino: 2 goals/assists in 11 games | 18 chances created (One every 43 mins)

* Lallana: 3 goals/assists in 11 games | 21 chances created (One every 38 mins)

Lallana hasn't scored in the Europa League since October, and Firmino^ has just one EL goal all season. Not very inspiring, is it? For me, it comes down to one question: who is most likely to step-up and make the difference in a massive, pressurised game?

* Firmino: 10 Goals/assists this season against Man City (both games), Arsenal, Leicester, Chelsea, and Man United.

* Lallana: 3 goals/assists against Man City, and Man Utd.

On this basis, I'd go for Firmino, but statistically, he's less effective out wide than up-front. Who should get the nod?

^ Described as 'brilliant' by Jurgen Klopp. Rated at €40m according to CIES Football Observatory.

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Author: Jaimie K


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