Is Riyad Mahrez a worthy replacement for Philippe Coutinho at Liverpool?
And with £142million in their pocket, they’ve got the money to land a player of real quality.
One name that has been strongly linked with a move to Anfield is Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian has been one of the standout players in the Premier League in recent years, even winning the PFA Player of the Year after helping Leicester win the 2015/16 title.
It’s also known he’s up for a move – he handed in a transfer request last summer amid talk that Arsenal were interested in him.
But if Liverpool were to sign him, would he be worthy of filling Coutinho’s boots? We’ve taken a look at a few stats to see how they compare.
During their respective spells in the Premier League, Coutinho managed 41 goals in 152 appearances before his recent exit. In comparison, Mahrez has scored 34 goals in 125 games – that means they both end up with an average of a goal every 3.7 games.
If we look just from the start of the 2015/16 season, Mahrez has notched 30 goals and 21 assists to Coutinho’s 28 goals and 18 assists.
If we focus in on their more recent form, the pair have both scored seven goals this season. However, Coutinho has played fewer games (14 to 22) to fares much better on a goals to game ratio.
On assists it’s a similar scenario. Mahrez has created seven goals compared to six for Coutinho, but the Brazilian comes out on to in an assists to game ratio (0.32 to 0.43).
They are of course quite different players, despite Mahrez being viewed as a replacement for Coutinho.
One thing Liverpool fans should expect is fewer attempted take-ons and less shots from outside the penalty area.
On shots outside the area, Mahrez has tried 1.07 a game this season compared to 3.16 from Coutinho. Perhaps that’s why Mahrez has a superior shot accuracy – 67% to 55%.
The take-ons see Mahrez try 1.95 to 2.79. Interestingly however, they still draw a similar number of fouls – 1.74 to 1.7 per 90 minutes.
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It’s clear both players have similarly impressive stats and while Mahrez isn’t Coutinho, he appears to offer a threat of his own. If Liverpool do look to the Leicester winger, it could go some way to softening the blow Liverpool have been dealt by Coutinho’s departure.