Lambert or Borini? Who is the best back-up option for Liverpool?

Rickie Lambert

Rickie Lambert looks set to complete his dream move to Merseyside, but is he a better back-up option than Fabio Borini?

Liverpool pursuit of Southampton’s Rickie Lambert provides a clear indication of Brendan Rodgers’ attempts to add depth to a side preparing to compete in the Champions League next season.

A few weeks prior to this news, Rodgers had indicated that Fabio Borini would be at the club for the coming campaign, implying that he would provide decent cover for the current first team.

The Italian enjoyed a fruitful season on loan at Sunderland, during which he scored a number of invaluable goals. He assisted the Black Cats in their attempts to avoid relegation, as well as their impressive run to the Capital One Cup final.

Squad depth will prove vital with the club’s participation in Europe next season and Rodgers is likely to recognize a need for four dependable strikers. In this case, assuming Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez will retain their status as first team strikers, who is the better back-up option, Rickie Lambert or Fabio Borini?

Stats Analysis

Lambert proved the more prolific of the two strikers throughout the duration the season, netting on 13 occasions as he converted 39.81% of his total chances. Borini’s nine goals for a struggling Sunderland side saw him finish 37.31% of his opportunities.

The Southampton man also emerges superior when considering the regularity of each strike. He scored more often than his future team mate, finding the back of the net once every 216.62 minutes. Borini found himself on the score sheet every 306.14 minutes; a considerable difference.

  TeamPositionTotal GoalsMinutes per GoalConverstion Rate (%)AppearancesMinutes
Rickie Lambert Southampton FW 13 216.62 39.81 37 2,816
Fabio Borini Sunderland FW 7 306.14 37.31 32 2,143

Lambert was by-far the more creative of the duo, assisting 10 goals in total, as he fashioned 13 big chances. He created more than double the opportunities provided by Borini, who registered just two assists throughout the entire season.

  Goal AssistTotal Chances CreatedBig Chance Created
Rickie Lambert 10 54 13
Fabio Borini 2 26 4

The Englishman provided an attacking opportunity for his Southampton teammates every 50 minutes, compared to the 80 minutes of Borini. The Italian created a ‘big chance’ distinctly less often than Lambert.

  Minutes per Chance CreatedMinutes per Big Chance Created
Fabio Borini 82.42 535.75
Rickie Lambert 52.15 216.62

However, Borini trumps Lambert in terms of general passing ability and this prove a deciding impact as the two look to establish themselves in Brendan Rodgers’ current system. The Northern Irishman favours an attacking style of passing football, but with Lambert misplacing over 30% of his attempts to find a team mate, he could struggle.

  Pass Accuracy (%)
Fabio Borini 76.65
Rickie Lambert 69.72

Although Borini is arguably the more suited to the current Liverpool system, Lambert boasts the superior stats in terms of his goal scoring prowess and creativity. At £4million, there is no doubt that he is an absolute steal.

There will naturally be concerns surrounding his age, but, at 32, it is clear he is not being lined up as a long-term fix to the club’s lack of depth.

In terms of a plan B, Lambert is likely to be favoured ahead of Borini, at least as a back-up option. The Englishman brings an alternative style of play to the table; one that can be backed up by an impressive return of both goals and assists.

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