Why Do Liverpool Need Mkhitaryan?

Regularly writing articles for this blog is a very enjoyable hobby, but the main problem is that I then don’t have much time to do anything else.

That includes watching football matches, aside from the Reds of course, and so when Liverpool are linked to a player I often have no idea how good they are.

Take Henrikh Mkhitaryan; I haven’t much of a clue who he is, yet the gossip columns tell me that a £25m bid from Liverpool is in the offing. Yet a look at what few stats are available for him makes me wonder why.

I have been unable to find any in-depth stats for the Ukrainian league, so have to make do with Champions League figures. This is clearly far from ideal, as it only adds up to eight matches, but I thought it would at least give some indication of what his strengths are.

For the record, in the Champions League he twice faced Chelsea, Juventus, Dortmund (which are all obviously tough matches) and FC Nordsjælland. Here are a selection of his stats:

  • No accurate through balls, with only two attempted in total.
  • Only 0.9 chances created per game on average. Over one hundred players in the Champions League created more than that.
  • He was dribbled past by opponents 1.7 times per game in the group stage (which was the joint eighth worst figure by any player).
  • Mkhitaryan scored two

    goals from twenty-six shots, which is a low conversion rate of 7.7%.

  • He lost possession by either being dispossessed or committing a turnover 4.1 times per game. Not an abysmal figure, but approximately 40th worst in the Champions League.

  • His passing accuracy was decent (86%) as was successful dribbles (1.8 per game; top 20 for Europe’s elite club competition) but aside from that, purely on the numbers I’m not seeing what the fuss is.

As I’ve said, these are from mostly difficult games so I’m certainly not going to be overly critical, and as I’m often reminded, statistics certainly can’t tell you everything about a player (with important variables such as pace and movement being unmeasurable).

In fairness, Mkhitaryan did score twenty-five league goals from midfield in the league this season, which is no mean feat. But then of course a question mark has to remain over how strong the Ukrainian league actually is.


I would have thought that for £25m Liverpool should be getting someone who contributes more significantly at Champions League level than Mkhitaryan appeared to this season.

To be clear, enough people who know far more about football than I do rate him, so I’m sure he must be a good player. But the Reds don’t have £25m to spend too often, and it seems to me like Liverpool supporters are desperate for the club to sign him without knowing exactly why!

I guess my main question is this: as most Reds fans who have seen him will have seen him in the Champions League, what do the eyes suggest that the numbers appear to miss? Answers in the comments section below will be gratefully received!

Related posts you might like:

Iago Aspas: Shots and Creativity – The Reds’ new boy’s stats from La Liga compare well with the Premier League’s elite.

Please check out my other articles, and follow me on Twitter or via Facebook. Thanks.

11 thoughts on “Why Do Liverpool Need Mkhitaryan?

  1. Feel strange that we are not targeting Christian eriksen as top target. He is available for around £15m and we can use the rest of fund to buy a centre back. Eg: Papadopolous for £15m or Toby alderweireld for £8m. Then we can easily focus on pre season and look to select the best starting eleven for BPL. £25m is a lot of money for us. Maybe Brendan sees Mkhitaryan can play several position- CM, CAM and LW, RW, CF.
    Anyway.. In Brendan, we trust! YNWA

  2. I can understand the hysteria in some ways. I’ve only seen him play in a few Champions League games, and he looks a decent prospect for his age, if not a world beater (or a £20,000,000 – which he isn’t). His link play with the likes of Willian at times is outstanding and I could see him excelling next to players like Sturridge or Coutinho yet I share your concerns. His only CL goals in his entire career came against Nordsjaelland and he didn’t register any significant impressions on the bigger games. Even delving into his Ukrainian stats pokes holes in the veneer of a 25 goal season. 25 goals scored in 17 games, 12 of which Shakhtar won by a margin of three goals or more. I know most people would underestimate the quality of a league like the one in Ukraine but when 2/3 of the games he scored in were whitewashes anyway, you have to take the MKhitaryan hype with a pinch of salt…

  3. Right, I’m really going to listen to player stats again on chances created after the Comolli debacle. I think the £43m spent by Liverpool on Downing, Henderson and Adam before a season with one of our worst goal returns in the Premier league era is enough of an argument to take these kind of stats with a giant helping of salt.

    • That’s fair enough, but why should we sign Mkhitaryan? I’m still waiting for someone to tell me (not having a pop at you mate, I just still don’t know why we should!). Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • it’s because of his amazing positioning and often gets on the end of the ball. he’s essentially a midfielder who scored 25 goals and that is something a few players can do like lampard. He’s fast, he can dribble, he can finish, he can pass and has got great awareness and at the age of 24 that is impressive 🙂
        hope my answer helped ease your worries

  4. Pingback: Mkhitaryan vs Eriksen: Champions League Showdown | Bass Tuned To Red

  5. Pingback: How Much Are 25 Ukrainian Goals Really Worth? | Bass Tuned To Red

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