Soldado v Balotelli: Did Liverpool do a Spurs... and then some?

Comparing some of Tottenham Hotspur's signings of the infamous summer of 2013 and those the Reds have brought in this season.

When Tim Sherwood tried to put the pressure on Brendan Rodgers last season, the Liverpool boss replied - as quoted by the Guardian:

"I don't think we are under pressure. Probably not as much as a team that spent £100 million and must have been hoping to challenge for the league this season."

The reference, of course, was to Tottenham's heavy spending in 2013, when the north London side signed several big-money players - many of whom have failed to deliver to this day.

Liverpool, however, went and spent big themselves the next season. And classic Rodgers: their summer splurge may have ended up worse than Spurs'.

Over the next couple of days, we'll be looking at some individual examples. The first is Roberto Soldado and Mario Balotelli...

 2013/14 GoalsAssistsChances CreatedSuccessful Final-Third PassesShots On TargetHeadersAppearancesMinutes Played
Roberto Soldado 6 5 29 220 16 15 28 1,931
 2014/15 GoalsAssistsChances CreatedSuccessful Final-Third PassesShots On TargetHeadersAppearancesMinutes Played
Mario Balotelli 1 0 9 81 20 9 16 940

As Opta stats show, Soldado - much-criticised and barely used nowadays by Tottenham - enjoyed a better debut campaign at White Hart Lane than Balotelli has at Anfield this season.

The Spaniard was given more game time, although Balotelli's form and attitude problems have been big reasons behind his lack of it. Soldado scored and assisted far more for Spurs, created more chances, made more passes and won more headers.

Liverpool's answer to the age-old problem of bringing in a 'marquee' striker has had more shots on target this season than Soldado did last - but that doesn't necessarily reflect well when you look at his goals tally.

After round one, then, Rodgers' comments about Tottenham's 2013 spending look as foolish as ever.

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