Luke Chambers Shining On Wigan Loan – Liverpool’s Next Quansah?

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The Rise and Rise of Luke Chambers: Detailed Analysis

Where It All Began

It was a cold October night at Anfield. The kind of night you either want to be on the pitch or wrapped up in blankets and plenty of layers in the stands. Fortunately, for the first time in his life, Luke Chambers had the privilege of being able to do the former.

That cold 26th October night was one the Liverpool youngster will never forget. It was a moment he had been waiting for ever since he joined the club as a six-year-old – the moment he finally made his first start for Liverpool.

Lining up against Toulouse Chambers put in an impressive performance that night. A sign and small indication of the massive potential he possesses. In years to come, we may very well look back at that game as Chambers’ very own Trent Alexander-Arnold vs Tottenham or Jarell Quansah vs Newcastle United moment – as the beginning of something special.

Photo: IMAGO

Luke Chambers and Benefit of Europa League

Last season when Liverpool failed to qualify for the Champions League, there was only one silver lining. It was clear even then that he Europa League would be a perfect opportunity for Klopp to integrate his youngsters into the first team environment.

And that has very much played out to great effect. Quansah in particular has benefitted from regular minutes in the group-stages, but we saw many other Liverpool academy graduates feature in the early rounds of the competition.

Among them was Chambers – who may have had to wait a lot longer to make his first start at Anfield. But thanks to the Europa League Chambers got that opportunity and he took it proving himself in a very competitive environment.

Overall he started two games and featured in another during the competition – earning valuable first-team minutes in the process.

He’s clearly been able to use that experience and take it with him on his loan spell at Wigan Athletic in this second half of the season – where he has excelled since arriving at the club on loan in the January window.

Chambers’ Impressive Numbers at Wigan

Immediately on his debut for Wigan, Chambers made the most tackles (3) in the match. He has since done that a further three times in six games. Meaning in seven appearances in total he has won the most tackles on the pitch an impressive four times.

At Wigan so far Chambers has averaged 8.32 defensive duels per 90 according to Wyscout – and he has won an impressive 71.2%. Out of players who have played at least 500 minutes and average at least eight defensive duels per 90 – no defender has a better success rate than the Liverpool loanee in League One.

Another impressive factor about Chambers’ loan spell is that he has played both as a left-sided centre-back in a back three, and also as a left-wing-back. This is exactly what he did during his loan spell at Kilmarnock in Scotland last season.

What is Chambers Like?

Chambers is quite tall and is already well built as well which makes him suited to playing as a centre-back. He’s actually played there in a back four at academy level as well – where he even captained the U18 side.

But he is also quite effective in the left-back role. Although he isn’t typically what we expect from our left-backs in Klopp’s team.

Both Kostas Tsimikas and Andy Robertson like to make overlapping runs, and hog the flanks. Chambers though is the opposite. He is more like Trent Alexander-Arnold in this sense. He will often come into central areas – instead of making overlapping runs.

Take this example of Chambers on the ball on his first start against Toulouse. He picks up possession in a typical full-back role, and makes a great little pass into Ryan Gravenberch.

But then instead of making an overlapping run, he actually runs into the central space – which is exactly what you would expect Alexander-Arnold to do as well.

The way he crosses the ball and distributes it is again very Alexander-Arnold like. Against Toulouse he put in a great ball for Darwin Nunez, which was only just cleared by the opposition defender.

Defensively, as we touched upon he is quite good – especially when using his body to shield his opponents. But he is also excellent at staying his ground in one vs one situations. In the Scottish Premiership he won 70% of his defensive duels last season. Meanwhile for Liverpool he won eight out of his 12 defensive duels in the Europa League.

He’s far from perfect – at times he can overcommit to challenges and there were a few situations at Liverpool where his positioning could have been a little better. But that is all part of the process – he is still only 19-years-old at the end of the day.

Photo: @LFC on X

Bright Future Ahead

But despite being so young, Chambers now has a lot of experience at senior level. He’s proven himself in two competitive environments both in Scotland and in League One as well. On top of that he’s got a few appearances at Liverpool’s first team under his belt, too.

This season we’ve seen both Quansah and Conor Bradley come into the Liverpool first team after spending the previous season on loan in League One. There’s no reason to suggest why Chambers cannot do the same. He’s showing exciting potential, and he may have another advantage in his favour as well.

If (which is a big if at the moment) it is Xabi Alonso who succeeds Jurgen Klopp – Chambers is a player who is perfectly suited to the Spaniard’s system. Which is why Leverkusen were actually interested in signing Chambers last summer.

As mentioned above Chambers is capable of playing as a full-back and as a left-sided centre-back – that would make him well-suited to a role in Alonso’s current formation at Leverkusen.

There’s no guarantee that Alonso would play the 3-4-2-1 that he’s been using this season at Liverpool. But if he does – or at least decides to persist with a back three – then Chambers will have even more of a chance of making the next leap in his career.

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