Stats: Would Sakho's international form help Liverpool?

Mamadou Sakho

He seems to have been impressive for France during the World Cup, so how does it compare to his form in a Liverpool shirt?

Liverpool's defence came in for a lot of criticism last season as the Reds shipped 50 goals in their Premier League campaign alone. Many have cited it as the reason they fell short in their improbable quest for a first league title since 1990.

One of their major defensive buys from last summer was Mamadou Sakho from PSG, for around £15 million, but out of all the game he played last season for Liverpool, they only kept one clean sheet with the Frenchman in the side - away to Tottenham in a 5-0 win.

But during his time at the World Cup with France, he has been a regular starter. He missed his side's second round win over Nigeria through injury, something which he struggled with a little during the group stages.

But since he's been on the pitch for Les Bleus, his country hasn't conceded a single goal. So, is he doing anything differently compared to at Liverpool, or is it because the side he is playing in?

Here's a look at some defensive statistics:

  TeamPos(Won Tackle / Total Tackle) * 100(Aerial Won / (Aerial Lost+Aerial Won)) * 100Interception / appsOutfielder Block / appsDuel Won / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 92.59 56.47 1.50 0.39 4.83 18 1,480
  TeamPos(Won Tackle / Total Tackle) * 100(Aerial Won / (Aerial Lost+Aerial Won)) * 100Interception / appsOutfielder Block / appsDuel Won / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho France DF 100.00 68.42 1.00 1.00 4.67 3 217

Of course some will point out that a massive difference in the amount of games he has played for the two sides affects the statistics somewhat. But one thing that does stand out is that Sakho has a significantly higher aerial duel win percentage for France than he does for his first season for Liverpool in the Premier League. His rate of winning tackles is impressive for his club, yet all the more impressive for his country. He wins a similar amount of duels per game whilst the amount of interceptions is a little higher for Liverpool.

But Liverpool's defenders don't just do defending. Brendan Rodgers likes his players to be comfortable on the ball as he likes them to have the ability of playing out from the back. 

  TeamPos(Accurate Pass / Total Pass) * 100Error Lead To ShotPoss Lost All / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 92.51 2 5.83 18 1,480
  TeamPos(Accurate Pass / Total Pass) * 100Error Lead To ShotPoss Lost All / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho France DF 92.41 0 4.33 3 217

The accurate passing percentage is very similar for both club and country, though so far during this World Cup, Sakho has not made an error that has led to a shot from the opposition, and he has lost possession on fewer occasion on average per game.

But overall his form seems very similar for club and country. His passing percentage is the second highest of all of the France defenders so far at this World Cup, and the amount of times he has lost possession is also. Only Raphael Varane is ahead of him in both departments.

His passing accuracy is also the highest of the defenders at Liverpool whilst in terms of possession lost, all four of the Liverpool centre-backs are coming up with similar statistics.

  TeamPos(Accurate Pass / Total Pass) * 100Error Lead To ShotPoss Lost All / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 92.51 2 5.83 18 1,480
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 90.80 2 5.08 36 3,222
Daniel Agger Liverpool DF 89.07 3 5.15 20 1,420
Kolo Touré Liverpool DF 86.42 1 6.55 20 1,439

If we have a look at some more statistics, he seems to put his club mates from the previous season to shame in terms of tackles won, but is surprisingly low down the list for aerial dual percentage: 

  TeamPos(Won Tackle / Total Tackle) * 100(Aerial Won / (Aerial Lost+Aerial Won)) * 100Interception Won / appsOutfielder Block / appsDuel Won / appsAppsMins
Mamadou Sakho Liverpool DF 92.59 56.47 1.50 0.39 4.83 18 1,480
Kolo Touré Liverpool DF 84.85 50.59 0.75 0.65 4.30 20 1,439
Daniel Agger Liverpool DF 74.07 64.29 1.05 0.40 4.25 20 1,420
Martin Skrtel Liverpool DF 73.47 69.73 1.67 1.06 5.44 36 3,222

He excels in the tackles he wins, but the big surprise is the amount of aerial duels he wins compared to his other team-mates, especially given how much of a reputation he had for being strong in the air. One thing Sakho might need to take from his international form is how often he wins in the air to bring himself up to the standard of his team-mates. That way we might see some improvement in the Frenchman's second season, and it may well help the Reds' defensive unit as a whole. 

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