Sanchez vs Shaqiri: Where should Liverpool splash the cash?

Liverpool Wall

Liverpool have been linked with Alexis Sanchez and Xherdan Shaqiri in recent weeks, but who would be the better signing?

Alexis Sanchez has been heavily linked with a move to Merseyside in recent weeks, having been told he is free to leave Barcelona. According to the Daily Star, Liverpool have already held preliminary talks over a potential deal. Meanwhile, the Reds are also reported to be closing in on Bayern Munich's Xherdan Shaqiri, with the player's agent in England to discuss terms with the club. 

Both are currently featuring for their respective nations in the summer World Cup, with Sanchez starring for Chile in Group B and Shaqiri for Switzerland in Group E. Below we look at the two players’ tournament statistics, courtesy of Opta, to decide who would be the better signing.

  TeamPosTouches / apps(Accurate Pass / Total Pass) * 100mins / Total Att AssistGoal AssistTotal Contest / apps(Won Contest / (Total Contest+Overrun)) * 100Dispossessed / appsAppsMins
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 68.67 71.43 54.00 1 9.00 57.14 5.00 3 270
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 61.33 87.50 24.27 0 3.00 33.33 3.67 3 267

Alexis Sanchez has averaged a higher number of touches per match, thus far, yet he has lacked efficiency when it comes to his passing. Shaqiri's attempts to find a team-mate have proven significantly more accurate, and consequently, he has posed a greater threat in the final third. Nonetheless, while the Swiss international has created scoring opportunities far more regularly than his Chilean counter-part, Sanchez is the only player to have assisted a goal.

However, Sanchez excels when moving with the ball at his feet. Impressively, he has completed just under two thirds of his attempted dribbles throughout the group stages, averaging nine contests per match. His ability to take on an opponent far outweighs the efforts of Shaqiri, who has averaged just three dribbles for each appearance.

  TeamPosGoals / appsTotal Scoring Att / apps(Ontarget Scoring Att / Total Scoring Att) * 100(Goals / Total Scoring Att) * 100(Big Chance Scored / (Big Chance Scored+Big Chance Missed)) * 100AppsMins
Alexis Sánchez Chile FW 0.33 1.67 60.00 20.00 100.00 3 270
Xherdan Shaqiri Switzerland MF 1.00 5.33 43.75 18.75 50.00 3 267

Sanchez is again inferior in terms of goals scored, yet a closer look at the statistics suggests the Barca-man is actually the more clinical of the two players. He has converted a higher percentage of his opportunites, whilst missing fewer gilt edged chances when compared to the Bayern Munich winger. 

Shaqiri may have three goals to his name, but all were scored during a fairly relaxed encounter with Honduras. The Swiss international is yet to prove himself against the World's best sides, unlike Sanchez, who has already received plaudits for his displays against the Dutch and the Spanish. 

In terms of ball retention and passing ability, Shaqiri seems the more assured option for Liverpool. However, in order to reach the next level, the Merseyside outfit need to attract the players who are able to offer more, something that sets them aside from the rest, and Sanchez possesses this in abundance.

The Barcelona winger is a terrific attacking force, who can both create and score a goal. He would be a fine addition, and more importantly, a significant improvement to the club's current squad. A marquee signing such as that of a Chilean international would really signal Liverpool's ambitious intentions.

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