Sinclair vs Sterling

With Stewart Downing having packed his Anfield bags and joined Liverpool Mk II with Joe Cole and Andy Carroll at West Ham, attention turns to who Liverpool might bring in to replace him.

Whilst fans may be dreaming about the likes of Willian joining as the Reds potentially profit from Anzhi’s financial crisis, the far more likely option is Scott Sinclair signing from Manchester City. The bookmakers have drastically cut their odds with regards to this transfer happening, and of course he worked with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in his former life at Swansea City.

I personally hope that the Reds are NOT in the market for Sinclair, and here’s why.

First, and foremost, he has stagnated during a wasted 2012/13 season at Manchester City. Sinclair made just twelve league appearances for the former champions, and didn’t complete ninety minutes in any of them.

More importantly, a quick comparison of his Swansea stats (via Whoscored) from his excellent 2011/12 campaign with those of Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling‘s breakthrough season shows that Scott Sinclair, on a per game basis:

RS– Created fewer chances: 0.8 to 1.5.

– Completed fewer successful dribbles: 1.7 to 1.9
– Made more turnovers of possession – 2.2 vs 1.8.
– Was caught offside slightly more often – 0.4 times per game to 0.3.
– Attempted fewer tackles (0.9 to 1.7) and only slightly more interceptions (0.8 to 0.6), meaning that Sinclair’s total defensive contribution was therefore lower.
– Tried fewer passes (24.9 vs 29.9) with only slightly higher accuracy (86.2% to 84.5%).
– Converted a lower proportion of shots (excluding penalties): 4.2% vs 5.9%.
For the record, half of Sinclair’s eight goals came from the penalty spot, which gave him figures of four goals from ninety-five shots otherwise. Raheem Sterling scored two of his thirty-four efforts.
As he’s not significantly better than Sterling, or even as good as him based on these numbers, I can’t really see the point in Liverpool buying him. Move along, Scott, and move on to better targets please Liverpool.
Related articles you might like:

Graduating With Honours – A look at the impressive stats that Liverpool’s young players posted in 2012/13.

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7 thoughts on “Sinclair vs Sterling

  1. Saucer of milk for Mr. Beasley!!! 😉
    I agree though. Why waste money on player that isn’t as good as one of our academy graduates? And I’m sure he won’t be cheap coming from City.
    I can only think we’d be after him for his size…?

  2. Sorry but this is mock statistics at it’s worst. “Attempted fewer tackles (0.9 to 1.7) and only slightly more interceptions (0.8 to 0.6), meaning that Sinclair’s total defensive contribution was therefore lower.” Makes no sense at all, who cares how many tackles he attempted? Surely an interception is far more important than attempting a tackle. That in no way applies that his defensive contribution is less. I could make 700 attempted tackles per game with no success and no interceptions and by your logic my defensive contribution would be better than both Sinclair and Sterlings! Also isn’t a turnover of possession a defensive contribution?

    Also, who cares if he tried fewer passes. His passes were more accurate, again by your logic if I attempt 100 passes and kick the ball to the opposition 89 times this is better than having attempted 10 passes and been successful 10 times. This is without even addressing all the information that you have omitted and the fact that your sample size of games for Sterling is small enough in comparison to Sinclair that any information gleaned is unreliable at best, and comparing the two is ambitious.

    I support neither Man City, Swansea, or Liverpool and have a doctorate in statistics – and if my club signed Sinclair tomorrow I’d be over the moon – Sterling, not so much

    • Thanks for the feedback.

      Part of the problem I have is that I can no longer use EPLIndex data, which is far more detailed, so now have to rely on WhoScored’s ‘per game’ info.

      Sadly, this means I can only access ‘tackles attempted’, rather than ‘completed’, so took a view that 2.3 tackles and interceptions per game was better than 1.7. I’d agree that an interception trumps an attempted tackle, and for the record, a turnover of possession is when a player gives the ball away via a mistake or poor control, so it is not a defensive contribution, and a lower figure is therefore better.

      Re passing – perhaps I should’ve included that Sterling completed 25.3 per game to Sinclair’s 21.5?

      Which other information should I have included?


      • If the information isn’t available that’s fair enough, as it’s hard to assess the amount of successful tackles without the information I would’ve solely looked at interceptions as that’s the only stat of those two that is positive. Sterling having completed more passes than Sinclair is more of a reflection of their marginally different roles in my opinion so I would argue the success percentage is more reflective, but again that’s debatable.

        Ultimately, it’s quite hard to compare the two. For a truly detailed analysis we would have to look at how Liverpool and Swansea performed in the games in question too – it’s easier to flourish in a Liverpool team that finished 7th than a Swansea team that finished 13th. I would imagine it is a lot easier to provide successful passes to Suarez than Danny Graham. I think Suarez had almost double the amount of touches in the penalty area last season than any other player. Sinclair for Swansea was on the wing for a primarily counter attacking team, so we would expect him to have a greater number of shots from distance as Swansea would create less chances than Liverpool – just another way of thinking about it.

        I apologise if the comment seemed harsh, it wasn’t meant to be – it just seemed that the interpretation of the above was tailored to make Sterling look a lot better than Sinclair whereas actually it seems to be a lot closer than is presented here. I think if you had signed Sinclair then he would’ve shown himself to be a great asset. As it is, it looks like you won’t have to worry about that as he’s supposedly going to West Brom tomorrow

  3. Pingback: 2013 Review (and a Thank You!) | Bass Tuned To Red

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