Scout Report: Riyad Mahrez

Liverpool have been linked with Leicester winger, Riyad Mahrez as a possible replacement of Philippe Coutinho who is now extremely likely to be on his way to Barcelona. The Anfield Talk’s Dan (@DnnyJnes_) looks at the Algerian. 

Liverpool transfer target Riyad Mahrez is an Algerian Footballer who plays for Premier League former winners Leicester City. Playing as a winger, the French born 2015/16 player of the year has scored 37 goals in 144 appearances for the Premier League club. Before his successful move to the Foxes, Mahrez has played for French clubs Quimper where he played 27 games and Le Havre and Le Havre II, making a total of 120 appearances for both teams scoring 30 goals. Mahrez whom selected Algeria as his international team, has made a total of 34 games, scoring 8 goals for his country.

Mahrez’s breakout season was of course the astonishing 2015/16 title win with Leicester City where the winger scored 17 goals, only missing one game with 37 games played in the record-breaking season. That season he had a shot accuracy of 64% creating 67 chances with an average pass length of 17m being enough to secure the PFA Player of the Year award and resulting in being included in the Premier League Team of the Year alongside team mates Jamie Vardy, Wes Morgan and midfielder N’Golo Kante.

Unfortunately, inconsistency was key the year after, something that could be a weakness. Playing only 36 times the following season, and only scoring 6 goals, 11 less than the previous. Pass accuracy was decent at 78% but shot accuracy went down to 62% having a worse season. However major factors could explain the decline such as rock and midfielder N’Golo Kante joining Chelsea for £32,000,000 and the form going down to the state Leicester sacking manager Claudio Ranieri. Form improved after that with assistant Craig Shakespeare taking over but overall was a disappointing season for a player who had been the best the previous season.

This season has been optimistic for Mahrez with the winger scoring 7 goals already beating last year’s goal tally being still only in early January. Shot accuracy so far has improved since his breakout season being at 67% and looks set to have another great season. With Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with the talent we have, Mahrez only looks just to be one perfect replacement for Philippe Coutinho. The players we possess that have played at higher levels could only help Mahrez improve and get to the level he was two seasons ago. Also, Klopp has been fantastic at nurturing talent and with him in the side, he could be successful in a Reds shirt.

The signing, if completed would mean a shuffle of the attacking line up as Mahrez who is left footed, whom scored 26 goals on the foot, would have to play right wing differing with Coutinho who is right footed. It would mean the probable look of Mane on the left who is opposite to Mahrez of feet and himself on the right with Firmino up top. Mahrez and Salah would more than likely rotate and shuffle since both are fighting for the same position. That’s where rumours have sparked also at a deal for Thomas Lemar, who is usually playing on the left. The choices would bring excitement with the team who have options to switch and it not weaken us, a problem we have had for years.

Philippe Coutinho has scored 41 goals in 152 Premier League appearances while Mahrez has 34 in 125 showing the fact Mahrez has played less yet has a better record in goals to games. Mahrez also has 24 assists compared to Coutinhos 35 though has played less Premier League games. This concludes that the comparison shows Mahrez has more goals and assists in games played in a Leicester team and being played in Klopp’s Reds with better players all round he could be something special and a great signing made to help us achieve silverware. It’s exciting times to be a Liverpool fan and if we get it right in the window. Coutinho will not be missed as much as we once thought.

 

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