Liverpool youngster keeps proving his value at Almeria
Jesús Fernández Sáez, better known as Suso in the football world, is starting to show why is one of the most promising talents on the books of English Premier League side Liverpool, during his loan spell at Almeria. Our stats man Javier J. Hernández takes a look at how he’s been performing in La Liga.
Still only 20-years-old, Suso shined during Almeria’s victory against La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid last weekend. Currently on loan from Liverpool, he provided a key assist in the 2-0 win that pushed his team four points away from the relegation zone and caused Atletico to slip down to third place in La Liga.
The attacking midfielder provided his seven assists of the season in Spain, team best, 6th best in La Liga and 3rd best among Spanish players. A huge number if you consider that players like Inesta, Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Isco, Cani and Pedro among many others, have provided fewer assists than the former Reds youngster. In fact, the only two Spaniards above the Almeria playmaker have links with the Premier League, the likes of former Arsenal skipper Cesc Fabregas (10 assists) and Atletico’s maestro Koke Resurreción (nine), who has been linked to Manchester United since last summer, as the Red Devils have been eyeing a number of creative La Liga targets.
The Liverpool player has been responsible for 43.75% of Almeria’s assists this season that’s the higher mark among midfielders in La Liga. His direct participation (goals + assists) in 37.5% of Almeria’s goals is 4th best among midfielders in Spain. Even though he has had an up and down season so far in Andalucia, the assist skills of Suso have been incredible.
The Reds youngster has the best average of assists per key pass (passes that lead to a shot) between midfielders, with more than 15 games, producing an assist just every 3.1 key passes. The fact that he has taken 36 shots over 22 key passes is perhaps a point of concern, but considering how efficient he has become with his passing, in a smaller team like Almeria, where the focus of the offence has made him take more shots than he perhaps would at Liverpool, could make him a reliable option for Brendan Rodgers next season.
In a high-power offence like the one that plays at Anfield currently, Suso may not get the necessary minutes to shine, but he is showing that he can be very productive without many chances. It’s worth noting that Almeria’s best striker Rodri, who scored seven goals in his 14 matches, hasn’t been able to play recently due to injury. This has had an impact in Suso’s productivity, with him not recording an assists from the 2nd November 2013 to the 26th January 2014, a spell where Rodri didn’t play a single game.
Suso’s great performance needs to also be analysed taking into consideration the fact that this is the former Liverpool youngster’s first season in Spanish football, and his 21 games so far in La Liga, is the most number of games he has he has played in a top-flight league thus far in his career, having played only 14 matches for the Reds a year before.
Despite the fact that it’s very unlikely the Spaniard can go straight back into a team, currently fighting for a top 4 spot in the Premier League and that boasts the second best offence in England, he is certainly doing enough to earn a second spell in La Liga (probably in a bigger team) or back into the Premier League.
- By Javier J. Hernández – Follow @javierjotah