Stats: Lambert the best possible replacement for Suarez during ban

Rickie Lambert

The Uruguayan's 4 month ban may actually help Liverpool's new signing assume an integral role in the squad.

The loss of Luis Suarez for the first few months of the new season is sure to hit Liverpool hard.

Whatever criticism of the player has reared its head in recent days, there is no doubt that he is both one of the top players in the world, and the Premier League's most decisive performer.

However, Brendan Rodgers has, in a seemingly superb piece of forethought, already signed the best possible Premier League replacement for the Uruguayan, with former Liverpool graduate and genuine super fan Rickie Lambert set to come into the club from Southampton.

Below we look at some key attacking stats from Opta to try and see how the 32-year-old may be able to soften the absence of the Reds star.

  TeamPosGoalsGoal AssistOntarget Scoring AttTotal Att AssistAppsMins
Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 31 12 81 87 33 2,964
Rickie Lambert Southampton FW 13 10 41 54 37 2,816

Though Suarez was way in front of Premier League rivals, including Lambert, in terms of contributing goals to his team's campaign, it was a much closer run thing in terms of creating goals for teammates. Lambert was second only to the Uruguayan in that respect, despite contributing fewer total assist attempts - indicating that he was very capable in creating 'big' chances for his teammates. Lambert was in the top six for on target scoring attempts, and third for creating chances for his teammates. This may see Daniel Sturridge, assisted by Lambert, take on a little more of the goalscoring responsibility with Suarez absent, but he has already proved he is more than capable in that department.

  TeamPosUnsuccessful TouchPassing Accuracy %Ground Duels Won %Aerial Duels Won %AppsMins
Luis Suarez Liverpool FW 91 71.98 40.45 30.26 33 2,964
Rickie Lambert Southampton FW 52 67.90 34.46 42.24 37 2,816

One area Lambert has proved himself more resourceful in than Suarez is his ability to avoid conceding possession on account of poor touches. This may be as a result of Suarez seeing more of the ball than Lambert, and trying more audacious things when it comes to him, but it is clear to see that the former Southampton man is a safe bet when in possession. Suarez edges passing accuracy, though it will be interesting to see how Lambert does in a stronger Premier League team. Both players have strong percentages when it comes to winning ground duels for possession, indicating they are difficult to shrug off the ball, while Lambert unsurprisingly impresses when it comes to challenging for headers.

Though Liverpool will miss Suarez from August to late October, particularly his ability to beat a player and his talent for the unpredictable, his absence may inadvertently aid Lambert's integration into the camp.

And as we saw last year, Suarez is fully capable of coming straight back into the team firing on all cylinders when he does return.

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