Liverpool to pursue Nordi Mukiele as Klopp looks for versatile defensive cover?

Zak Turner
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by Zakari Turner (@Zak_1892)

Stats via (Sofascore)

Recent reports coming out of France suggest the Reds will rival PSG for the signature of Nordi Mukiele. Le10sport value the 22-year-old at around £14 million.

During his time with Montpellier, Mukiele – a right-back by trade – made forty-seven appearances in Ligue 1, operating at centre-half on nineteen occasions. And since his move to RB Leipzig in 2018, he’s also regularly shifted between these two positions.

Whilst his defensive know-how is a key tenet of his game, his positional flexibility – and thus his ability to play in both a back three and back four – has solidified his status as a key cog in Julian Nagelsmann’s team. But an area of his game which could arguably be improved is in attack. Here’s why…

How does he compare?

When it comes down to assists, for example, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson’s stats, in comparison to Mukiele’s, are a mismatch. Trent and Robbo have provided twelve and ten assists in the Premier League this season respectively. Mukiele has just three Bundesliga assists to his name in 19/20.

Both fullbacks have provided double figures in league assists for a second season in a row. (Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Despite being part of a team who dominate the ball, Mukiele is nowhere near as expansive as either Trent or Robbo. The Liverpool pair are constantly on the front foot. On average, they both play over 60% of their passes per 90 in the opposition’s half. Despite playing right wing-back regularly, Mukiele plays just 47.9% of his passes in the same area of the field.

There’s also a huge drop off in key passes, with the Liverpool pair averaging 2.4 (Trent) and 1.7 (Robbo) key passes per game while the Frenchman only averages 0.6.

So perhaps a Lovren replacement?

The reports are more focused on positing the idea he is capable of providing versatile cover at centre-half rather than on the right side of the defence. Dejan Lovren’s departure, of course, is inevitable with Zenit St Petersburg the reported frontrunners in the race for the Croatian’s services.

Though with the emergence of Neco Williams at right-back, coupled with the glaring lack of cover at left-back, a recruitment drive would surely target the left-side of defence instead.

Mukiele has only ever made one professional appearance at left-back – in a 3-2 Europa League defeat to RB Salzburg.

Leipzig have kept just five clean sheets this season. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

With PSG losing Thomas Meunier to Borussia Dortmund and Thiago Silva’s contract expiring, a move to the French capital may make more sense for the Frenchman.

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