Quansah: Liverpool’s Defensive Revelation – Statistical Analysis

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Why Liverpool Have Saved Millions with Jarell Quansah

Another Test Passed

There was one moment in Liverpool’s game against Manchester City that defined Jarell Quansah at his best. In the 34th minute of the game, Erling Haaland broke into Liverpool’s penalty area from a pass fed into him by Phil Foden. Just for a brief second, it seemed like the Norwegian was about to get himself into a shooting opportunity. But out of nowhere Quansah emerged, poked the ball from Haaland’s foot, and stopped him in his tracks.

In total Quansah won five out of seven defensive duels and three out of three aerial duels against Manchester City. He also completed the most passes (77) for Liverpool on the pitch and looked like he had been playing at that level for years. When in reality he still has more career minutes in League One than in the Premier League.

For a brief moment he could have even been the hero that afternoon. In the 79th minute he received a pass from Wataru Endo, ran forward with the ball, deceived both Haaland and Jeremy Doku with a nice feint and struck a well hit effort on the Manchester City goal.

There is an argument to be had that Quansah was one of the best players on the pitch. Alongside Van Dijk the two of the limited to Manchester City to few chances from open play. City created just 0.73 xG from open play – the fewest Pep Guardiola’s men have created in the Premier League since losing to Aston Villa back in December.

All of that will have been a reminder of the millions of pounds Liverpool have saved with Quansah’s emergence. Around Europe, top clubs are all looking for centre-backs of his calibre. Liverpool themselves sought out potential targets last summer – including Levi Colwill. Though it turns out as pre-season revealed – they already had one in their own backyard.

Photo: IMAGO

What Makes Quansah Special?

First and foremost Quansah is a supreme defender. From a young age he has always stood-out at youth level for his ability to read the game. He anticipates dangerous situations really well and he has the composure to make decisive decisions under the pressure.

He has now played 600 minutes for Liverpool in the Premier League. In those 600 minutes he has averaged 5.1 defensive duels and has won 70.6% – the highest success rate among all of Liverpool’s centre-backs this season.

Meanwhile, he has also averaged 7.18 adjusted interceptions per 90 according to Wyscout – which ranks him among the top 15 centre-backs in the league. Only marginally behind Ibrahima Konate (7.37 per 90) and Virgil van Dijk (7.49 per 90).

Physically, he is also strong and tall, capable of being a force in the air. Out of centre-backs who have averaged 5 aerial duels per 90, Quansah ranks in fifth place for success rate with 65.8%. Virgil van Dijk tops the chart with 77.92% and Ibrahima Konate is third with 67.02%.

However, it’s important to note that Quansah actually averages more aerial duels than the Liverpool duo at the moment. While Konate and Van Dijk are around 5.5 per 90, Quansah is averaging 6.15. And out of centre-backs who average six defensive duels per 90, Quansah has the best success rate. Although, it’s worth mentioning that alongside Quansah, Willy Bolly is the only centre-back to average six aerial duels or more this season and his success rate is 57.65%.

Quansah does have a relatively small sample size, but it’s an impressive sample size nonetheless, and during his time in the team he has faced some difficult challenges where he has stood up to the test – including that Manchester City game.

Photo: IMAGO

Quansah On The Ball

What makes Quansah a unique and rare prospect is his composure in possession. When he is on the ball he exudes confidence. His teammates have no qualms passing to him even in situations when he is under pressure.

That’s because Quansah is brilliant at keeping hold of the ball and retaining possession. In the Premier League only four centre-backs have completed more passes than Quansah per 90 minutes (75.9 per 90). Three of those centre-backs come from Brighton and the other is Ruben Dias – teams who on average have more possession than Liverpool – the next highest defender who isn’t a City or Brighton defender is Cristian Romero who averages less than 70 passes per 90 – which makes Quansah’s numbers even more impressive.

But it’s not just that he receives the ball and passes it more frequently, Quansah also ranks in 8th place for forward passes per 90 (24.6). Out of centre-backs who average 8 progressive passes per 90, Quansah ranks in the top 10 for accuracy with 76.36%. He also switches the play with a long balls at a high frequency. He makes 5.55 long balls per 90, which is around the same as Van Dijk (5.87). Although his success rate could improve at 56.76% in comparison to Van Dijk’s 68.64%. Accuracy will improve with more experience but the fact that he is attempting a similar volume as the Liverpool captain who is known for his ability to switch play – is a really positive sign.

At times Quansah’s also got the ability to run forward with the ball. That run against City mentioned at the beginning of the article or his dribble to register his first ever assist for Liverpool against Leicester City are both samples of that ability.

In total he has averaged 0.81 dribbles per 90 with a success rate of 70.6%. Which is around the same as Joel Matip (0.72 per 90) last season – although the Cameroonian international who is known for his dribbling prowess only had a success rate of 57.1%.

Photo by IMAGO

Millions Saved

The best way to describe Quansah using the above two examples is that he is a mix of Matip and Van Dijk’s best qualities rolled into one. There are still areas of his game that he can improve – that’s only natural at 20-years-old. However, based on the numbers and what he has shown so far – his potential is clear for all to see.

Quansah is the kind of centre-back Liverpool would have had to pay silly money for. The kind of fee Chelsea were demanding for Levi Colwill.

Simply put the Liverpool number 78 has definitely made Michael Edwards’ job at least a little bit easier ahead of the summer transfer window. Instead of two centre-backs, the returning Liverpool man will only need to find one.

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