Why the Reds picked Kostas Tsimikas

A back-up left-back has finally come in for the Reds, but what does Kostas Tsimikas bring to the table?

Andy Robertson has been consistently the best left-back in England for the last two years, but he does on occasion need a rest.

His dynamism and quality from the left side have been vital to Liverpool’s title-winning season. When he hasn’t played, however, such as in the Merseyside derby, just after the restart, the Reds have struggled offensively.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – JULY 11: Andy Robertson of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield on July 11, 2020 in Liverpool, England. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY OLI SCARFF/POOL VIA GETTY IMAGES.

Now, with Kostas Tsimikas coming in from Olympiacos for £11.75 million, the Red finally have a back-up if the Scot misses a game.

So, can the 24-year-old provide the offensive capabilities the Reds require from their left-backs? The biggest thing required from Liverpool full-backs is an offensive threat in the final third. With seven assists in all competitions, this season and five in 20 Greek Superleague matches, he certainly provides that.

There is, of course, no way of measuring the discrepancy in quality between the Premier League and Greek Super-League.

However, his performances in Europe are cause for encouragement. He managed an assist against Bayern Munich in the group stages while also helping his side to knock Arsenal out of the Europa League.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY ANDREW POWELL/LIVERPOOL FOOTBALL CLUB.

Averaging a 79% pass completion, he’s lagging just behind Andy Robertson on 85%. On assists, he actually out-performs the Scot, with expected assists of 0.18 per 90 compared to 0.06.

Comparing total defensive actions in this instance is difficult as Olympiakos didn’t dominate the ball compared to Liverpool. However, comparing their pressing capabilities, given its importance to Klopp’s side is necessary. In Europe, Robertson attempted 12.9 pressures per 90 compared to Tsimikas’ 14.4. However, Tsikimas’ success rate lags behind the Scot’s at 30.6% compared to 39.8%.

Of course, these are small sample sizes to use for comparison. However, there’s certainly enough there to have hope that Tsimikas can be an able deputy for the Scot when called upon.

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