As Pepe Reina appears to be leaving Liverpool to go on loan to Napoli to be re-united with his former manager Rafa Benitez, I thought I’d compare his stats (which were obtained via EPLIndex) with those of Brad Jones since 2010/11 to see if the Reds are retaining the right back up goalkeeper.
I recently wrote an article looking at which goalkeepers may be suitable to replace Pepe Reina if he were to leave (read more here). Using a simple analysis of short passing accuracy and save percentage, the suggestion was that Sunderland’s Simon Mignolet would not be up to the task.
However, as the transfer talk intensifies that the Belgian stopper will be heading to Liverpool, I thought I’d dig a little deeper to see if anything else suggests he could adequately replace the Reds’ Spanish custodian. Or, dare I say it, actually prove to be better.
As rumours continue to circulate that Pepe Reina might be leaving Liverpool, I thought I’d look at the form of potential replacements who I have seen rumoured could be signing for the Reds (with the obvious priviso that some of the deals will probably have a cat-in-hell’s chance of actually happening!). I’ve also included Brad Jones, as he signed a new contract this season and so will presumably remain with the Reds in 2013/14.
Following Pepe Reina’s part in Sergio Aguero’s equaliser for Manchester City in their 2-2 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, this tweet was in heavy circulation:
Reina‘s mistakes cost Liverpool 14 points this season. Without those faults, Liverpool would be in the 3rd place. (via Opta Stats)
Fourteen points sounds like a hell of a lot, so I thought I’d investigate. As with many ‘facts’ floating around on Twitter, it proved to be hugely far from the truth.
As Liverpool continue to struggle to make a push towards the top four, it’s very tempting to blame things that are beyond their control. The Reds have only been awarded one penalty in twenty-two league games to date, when they have averaged one every 6.9 league games in the previous ten seasons, and the Debatable Decisions website suggests that Liverpool have lost eleven points through incorrect refereeing calls and should at present be joint third in the Premier League table.
But some of the damage has unfortunately been self-inflicted. I’m referring to defensive errors, and compared to both the Reds’ own form in previous seasons, and the worst defences in the Premier League in recent years, the current Liverpool team is performing exceptionally badly. Continue reading
I have written on here previously regarding how, in save percentage terms, Brad Jones should possibly be Liverpool’s goalkeeper ahead of Pepe Reina (whose form has declined year-on-year at Anfield).
In the Premier League this season, Jones has saved 69% of the shots he has faced whilst Reina has struggled and only saved half of the attempts on target that have come his way.
But the modern game, and especially Brendan Rodgers’ penchant for a passing, possession based football, requires a keeper to offer more than simply stopping shots.
Australian goalkeeper Brad Jones has not had it easy since he moved to Liverpool in 2010 for a fee of £2.3m. He has only made nine appearances for the club in just over two seasons, he made his debut in a disastrous cup defeat to League Two Northampton Town, and off the pitch he suffered the tragedy of losing his son Luka to leukemia last year.
Yet as Pepe Reina picked up an injury during the last round of international fixtures, Jones has been thrust into the spotlight at Anfield, and to be fair to the former Middlesbrough man he hasn’t disappointed as he has picked up two clean sheets out of two. But does he deserve to displace his Spanish colleague, and actually be Liverpool’s number one, rather than the substitute goalie who happens to wear that particular numbered shirt?