Future Liverpool right backs?

Possible LFC transfer targets - article by Shaun

Several months ago I remember reading an interesting article about how clubs determine transfer targets. We've seen over the past few years how Liverpool FC appear to have turned a corner in this area. Gone are the days almost every transfer left fans shaking their heads and sighing in despair. Now we're excited, we don’t know the player, but we wonder how good they are going to become.

Many clubs use tried and tested formula’s to help with this, others have created their own, and we fall into that second group. Understandably, no one outside the club knows what it is, but we can look at our manager, his philosophy on football and the players we've brought in to give us an insight into who we might sign in the future.

We also need to understand what football is all about. Many see it as the goalkeeper needs be able to catch a ball, kick a ball and throw a ball. A defender needs to be strong, good in the air, and be prepared to ‘take one for the team,’ and so on. While each position may need specific strengths, football as a whole is even more simple. Can we score more goals than the opposition?

Therefore, we not only need to look at how good our goalkeeper and defence are at stopping goals, but how good they are at setting them up. Successful tackles, interceptions and one on one battles are all important but we also need to know how well they can distribute and otherwise assist in attack.

This approach is evident in the players we've seen enter the club over the past 2 years. VVD, a colossus in defence, but look at his passing, the range is that of a midfielder, our fullbacks lead the assist stats, out performing players who have more attacking roles. Even our goalkeeper is as gifted with his feet as he is with his hands, with attack being at the forefront of his game.

Within the article I read, was a list of players who might fit this mould. In a series of articles I'll provide some basic information on these players.

No goalkeepers were included in the list, so I will start with the Right Back position.

Nordi Mukiele (22) valued at £18.5m is a French international (U21 2017-19) currently plying is trade at RB Leipzig. Although he's primarily a Right Back, he can also cover Centre Back. This season he's played 19, scored 3 with 2 assists and no yellow or red cards. Comparing to 19 games with 1 goal, 1 assist and 3 yellows last season. Mukiele's started 62% of games, with an average 55% playing time and has been directly involved in 7% of goals scored. His progress is also promising: 39 games with 2 goals and 2 assists at his first club. Games played 56 with 1 assist and no goals for his second club, and 60 games played with 4 goals, 3 assists at his current club. Bearing in mind the quality of opposition has increased with each move, that progress is good.


Zeki Celik (22) valued at £14.4m has made 14 appearances for Turkey, scoring in 2 of them. So far he's played solely as a Right Back. In 23 games for club, he's yet to score, although has assisted 3 times, receiving 3 yellow cards on the way. Celik’s started in 82% of games with an average of 82% match time completed in each which shows him to be a mainstay of the LOSC Lille side. As well as being directly involved in 8% of goals scored. These figures however are a drop on last season, where he played 34 times, scoring once and assisting 5 times, although he did pick up 5 yellows and 1 red card along the way. Steady progress has been made in each transfer move with 35 games played, 0 goals and 4 assists at his first club; 69 games, 3 goals and 1 assist with his second and 68 games, 1 goal and 8 assists for his current club.

Spurs are reportedly targeting Celik this summer but perhaps we might throw our hat into the ring.


Takehiro Tomiyasu (21) £12.5m has scored once from the 18 appearances he’s made for Japan. Having started 77% of Bologna’s games, averaging 77% game time and being involved with 5% of their goals. A flexible player, being able to cover both the Centre Back and Defensive Midfield roles. Takehiro has played 20 times this season, with no goals and 2 assists to his name, along with 5 yellow, but no red cards, This compares to 40 games last season, 1 goal and no assists, also 5 yellow and 0 red cards were received. Having stepped up several levels to reach his transfer this season, each club again has seen steady improvements. He played 56 times for his first club scoring and assisting once. His second club saw 41 appearances with 1 goal and 0 assists to his name.


Emerson (21) £16.2m finally made his debut for Brazil late last year. Having been loaned out several times while a Barcelona player, this season has seen him given pitch time and the results are clear. Playing 23 games for Real Betis, he's scored 3 with 5 assists, however he's collected 8 yellow cards on the way. This compared to only 6 games last year and just the 1 yellow. Emerson has started 85% of Real’s games, averaging 83% game time and an impressive 21% goal involvement, although this could be because he also covers as a Right Midfielder. After on off seasons of frustratingly little match time this one has been a massive step up.


Ki-Jana Hoever is our star right back in the making but at just eighteen years old may still be a few seasons away from the step up. So considering we're always forward looking with a view to continued improvement and as part of that we may see Trent Alexanader-Arnold moved to a midfield role, which of the above players do you think would potentially suit us best?


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