After Liverpool announced the signing of Roberto Firmino, statistics show that he can replace Raheem Sterling if he leaves for Manchester City this summer.
All reports so far, such as via BBC Sport’s Ben Smith, suggest that Wednesday morning’s signing of Roberto Firmino “is not dependant on Liverpool selling Raheem Sterling.”
But statistics show the Brazilian would be a great replacement if Sterling does leave this summer.
Sterling has been subject of two bids from Premier League title challengers Manchester City so far, believed to be worth £30 million and £40 million respectively.
But with reports suggesting City could soon make an improved bid for the 20-year-old, there is every chance the wantaway Sterling could leave Anfield this summer.
Luckily, the Reds have a fine replacement waiting in the wings in Firmino.
The 23-year-old has agreed a “long-term contract” with the club, with the transfer said to be worth up to £29 million—making him the second most expensive player in the club’s history.
Statistics, via WhoScored, indicate that he is worth every penny.
Should Sterling leave #LFC, the stats suggest Firmino could be an ideal replacement http://t.co/QUdvd15gik @WhoScored pic.twitter.com/tkPR5iCyKM
— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) June 23, 2015
In 2014/15, Sterling made 35 Premier League appearances, while Firmino played in 33 Bundesliga games.
Both scored seven goals, but Firmino made three more assists than his English counterpart, with 10 overall.
He is a more consistent threat on goal, with just 30.7 minutes per shot on average, compared to Sterling’s 36.3 minutes—although this does suggest his conversion rate is lower.
Firmino is also a more prolific dribbler, making a dribble every 21 minutes on average.
Sterling beat his opponent every 29.6 minutes.
Crucially, given Liverpool’s defend-from-the-front style, Firmino’s rate of just 33.2 minutes per tackle, compared to Sterling’s 82.5 minutes, shows that he will fit in well under Brendan Rodgers.
The only area covered by WhoScored in which Sterling triumphs over Firmino is in terms of chances created.
Sterling made a key pass every 40.7 minutes compared to Firmino rate of one every 42.9 minutes.
But the difference is fairly slim, and with the Brazilian comparing well to the masterfully creative Kevin de Bruyne of VfL Wolfsburg last season, he is far from poor in this respect:
Roberto Firmino: Only Kevin De Bruyne (74) played more key passes from open play in the Bundesliga last season than Firmino (69)
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 23, 2015
Goal.com have also released a useful stat pack, showcasing Firmino’s talents in the 2014/15 Bundesliga season and compared to Sterling.
If Sterling is to leave Liverpool this summer, Firmino will be a fine replacement.
If he stays, however, the pair could link up with the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Jordon Ibe, Lazar Markovic, Emre Can and Daniel Sturridge and restore Liverpool’s attacking potency once more.