One of the six players sold by Liverpool in the summer transfer window, Liam Millar has made a bright start to life at Basel, with two goals and four assists.
When a player is quoted to have produced an impressive output in a number of starts, this is often a misrepresentation of their form.
But a strange quirk of Millar’s time in Switzerland so far shows that the Canada international is at his most effective when starting games, rather than coming off the bench.
The 22-year-old has so far scored twice and assisted four goals in his 17 appearances for Basel – but all six of those contributions came over seven starts.
Only three players – striker Sebastiano Esposito (nine), midfielder Valentin Stocker (10) and striker Arthur Cabral (26) – have had a hand in more goals for the Swiss club so far this season, with Millar just outside the first XI for minutes played.
It is an impressive return on the £1.3 million paid to sign him from Liverpool in July, ending the youngster’s five-year association with the Reds, whom he joined from Fulham.
His two goals were scored in the space of a week, first against fifth-tier side FC Rorschach-Goldach 17 in the Swiss Cup, then in a much tougher assignment with the opener in a 3-1 victory over FC Zurich in the Swiss Super League.
Two of the assists came against FC Schonenwerd-Niedergosgen in the Swiss Cup, while Millar also teed up goals against FC St Gallen in the league and Kazakh side Kairat Almaty in the Europa Conference League.
Of those, Millar netted twice and assisted twice in a run of three consecutive starts, though he is still to convince manager Patrick Rahmen he is worthy of a first-choice role.
That should come in time, though, with the youngster making big strides after gambling on himself and, as he told Not the Old Firm in August, leaving his “comfort zone.”
“I can see what the ambition is for the club. I want to win trophies and play in Europe,” he explained.
“They are a huge club and known in the UK for being in the Champions League. I think it’s the best step for my career.
“I could have gone to the English Championship or Scottish Premiership, who knows. But Basel have big ambitions and that’s something I have for my career as well.
“That’s the reason I was attracted as I want to be playing in Europe and winning titles.”
Basel are currently two points clear at the top of the Swiss Super League, albeit having played a game more than second-placed Young Boys, and last won the title in 2016/17.