Football

The Liverpool’s crucial battle for survival

liverpool: The Premier League returns this week with plenty of excitement after a hiatus of over three months.

Liverpool, of course, come back with a bang as they travel to rivals Everton for a fixture that can take them one step closer to securing the Premier League – and that encounter may even be the match in which they do manage to clinch their crown, depending on results elsewhere.

Yet beyond Liverpool’s own title interests, there are still plenty of subplots to be settled across the division with teams still fighting it out to secure European places and avoid relegation.

Jürgen Klopp and his recruitment team may be keeping a close eye on proceedings at the foot of the table in particular, with relegation potentially opening the door for the Reds to swoop in and sweep up some talent from one of the relegated sides at reduced prices.

Liverpool have enjoyed some good success doing this previously, recruiting the likes of Georginio Wijnaldum, Andrew Robertson and Xherdan Shaqiri from relegated Premier League sides.

There are already a number of players being tipped for bigger moves elsewhere should their current sides succumb to the drop, with the likes of Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Norwich City’s Emi Buendia being most fancied for moves elsewhere in the next window. However, one player who may be of particular interest to Liverpool is Watford’s Ismaila Sarr.

It’s been a good first season in England for the 22-year-old who joined Watford for a club-record £25m last summer after impressing with French side Rennes. He spent two seasons with the side from the North-West of France after initially starting his career at Metz.

Developing and progressing through the ranks at Metz is very much a positive in its own right. Whilst not the most successful French outfit in terms of Silverware, their academy and scouting set up is almost unrivalled in the country.

Their scouting network stretches across different countries and even continents with close ties to numerous Football Association’s across Europe, Asia, India and Africa. Additionally, Metz themselves are actually a majority shareholder in ‘Generation Foot’, an academy in Senegal which helped to produce Sarr, as well as a number of other European stars such as Kalidou Koulibaly and Liverpool’s very own Sadio Mane.

Mane is clearly a huge admirer of his young compatriot and was caught on camera in the tunnel at Anfield back in December telling Watford captain Troy Deeney to “take care of my boy (Sarr)” after the Reds’ 2-0 victory.

Sarr is also a huge admirer of Mane and even declared him as the best player in the world earlier this season. He said, “I can say that for me, he is the best player in the world. Because he is quality. He has won the Champions League.”

It’s more than likely that the Watford youngster will be keen to follow in the footsteps of Mané, and the early signs suggest he has what it takes to achieve that ambition.

Whilst it’s easy to draw comparisons between the two players given their background, his profile is different from that of Mané. He stands at an imposing 6ft1in and is used within his sides attack differently to how Mané is used at Liverpool.

Sarr has predominantly been utilised on the right, hugging the touchline and making himself an out ball when his side are in possession. Mane however features on the left, often drifting into central locations and creating spaces for overlapping full-backs. This doesn’t mean Sarr should be pigeonholed however, after all he is a versatile forward capable of featuring anywhere across the final third, it just seems that his best use within Watford’s current system is out on the right.

Sarr’s heat map for Watford (Image: Twenty3)

The Hornets, particularly now under manager Nigel Pearson, are often quite conservative in their approach to fixtures. They’ll usually line up in variations of a 4-5-1 formation, sitting in deep compact blocks and inviting pressure on from opponents.

This means that Sarr is often called upon to contribute heavily in the defensive aspects of the game by dropping in to track overlapping wing-backs and support his right-back. He hasn’t yet mastered this aspect of his game, sometimes lacking awareness of attacking movements around him, yet his willingness to both work hard and play his part in the defensive aspects of the game is a positive to his character.

Whilst the obvious purpose of Watford’s deep-lying tactic is to restrict the attacking threat of the opposition, it also opens the door for them to create chances in transitions, and it’s in these moments where Sarr will be at his most dangerous.

The 22-year-old is lightning quick from a standing start. This means when possession is won, Watford players will look to fizz the ball into the feet of Sarr or switch the ball to his flank where he can then quickly drive forward with the ball, carrying his side out of their own defensive half and into the oppositions.

Sarr’s average passes received and movements made (Image: Twenty3)

He’s averaged an impressive 3.46 progressive runs so far this season – that ranks him in the top ten for right-sided attackers who have played 800+ league minutes.

Beyond his ball-carrying abilities, inside the final third, Sarr’s physical profile also makes him apt at receiving the ball into feet with his back to goal and under pressure from the opposition. In these moments, he is strong and can hold off challenges from defenders before laying a pass off to a team-mate or even turning and dribbling away from danger.

In terms of output, his impact was slow initially, with just one goal and no assists in the first three months of the season, yet since December, and particularly following the arrival of Pearson, he has begun to flourish.

He’s registered a further seven goal involvements since then, three of which came vs Liverpool in their shock 3-0 defeat at Vicarage Road back in February where the attacker put in a Man of the Match display.

Whilst that proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Klopp, he would have found it difficult to ignore the performance of the Senegal international. Should Watford suffer relegation this season, then Sarr’s may have shown enough already for Liverpool to be tempted enough to make a move.

Source: Published by liverpool

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Sakiru Ridwan Abolaji
Sakiru Ridwan Abolaji
1 month ago

all the best for them

Muhammed Denja Ibrahim
Muhammed Denja Ibrahim
1 month ago

All the best for them as the league return

Yusuff Bolaji
Yusuff Bolaji
1 month ago

Matches back really excited

Aladetoyinbo Tunde James
Aladetoyinbo Tunde James
1 month ago

Definitely Liverpool are carrying the trophy, but they don’t have to relax now. I wish them success.

Yusuff Bolaji
Yusuff Bolaji
1 month ago

D most competitive league is back

adubi oluwafemi samuel
adubi oluwafemi samuel
1 month ago

Nice update

Obiezu Emmanuel Onyedikachi
Obiezu Emmanuel Onyedikachi
1 month ago

The league is theirs already

Omenogor Lucky
Omenogor Lucky
1 month ago

I think Liverpool have win the premier league already,no doubt about that.

Josiah
Josiah
1 month ago

Indeed mane and safe are good heart best player .

Josiah
Josiah
1 month ago

Mane and sarr are best player .all the best for them.

Ezema oliver uchenna
Ezema oliver uchenna
1 month ago

Wishing Liverpool the best as the league return

reuben amicable
reuben amicable
1 month ago

All the best Liverpool keep on the hardworking

Chiemerie nnam
Chiemerie nnam
1 month ago

That is wonderful

Ekerette Effiong Isonguyo
Ekerette Effiong Isonguyo
1 month ago

All the best

Okwu Godswill okechukwu
Okwu Godswill okechukwu
1 month ago

Liverpool should try and carry the league

Chiemela chidiebube faith
Chiemela chidiebube faith
1 month ago

Wishing them they best of luck

Raheeem mustapha abiodun
Raheeem mustapha abiodun
1 month ago

All proud to see them back

Nnamdi Nwabueze
Nnamdi Nwabueze
1 month ago

All the best to come

Godwin osuya
Godwin osuya
1 month ago

Liverpool wining the league would be great, thank God the league wasn’t cancelled, I wish them Success in their survival

Daniel Asoh
Daniel Asoh
1 month ago

All the best of luck to them
Either way they are winning the premier league

Matthew chinedu
Matthew chinedu
1 month ago

all the best for them

Biobaku Toheeb Olamilekan
Biobaku Toheeb Olamilekan
1 month ago

Nice Update

Muhammed Hammed
Muhammed Hammed
1 month ago

All the best Liverpool keep on the hardworking

Onyemechi Francis uche
Onyemechi Francis uche
1 month ago

Nice update

Akinrinade Akinniyi
Akinrinade Akinniyi
1 month ago

This resume match bus going to be tough

Ajayi akinniyi
Ajayi akinniyi
1 month ago

All d best

Okwu Godswill okechukwu
Okwu Godswill okechukwu
1 month ago

Interesting

Afolabi Michael Temitope
Afolabi Michael Temitope
1 month ago

Hmmmmn. I wish them all the best as the trophy is even a goal

Oladosu Olumide
Oladosu Olumide
1 month ago

Good luck, man u

Ndumnwere Chima
Ndumnwere Chima
1 month ago

Great job.

Stephen Anyishi Monday
Stephen Anyishi Monday
1 month ago

They’ll win the league title

Uche chinedu
Uche chinedu
1 month ago

I wish them all the best

Uche chinedu
Uche chinedu
1 month ago

The most important league is back

Uche chinedu
Uche chinedu
1 month ago

Even though Liverpool is carrying the trophy doesn’t mean they should relax

Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
1 month ago

W

Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
Onafuwa Oluwasheyi Oladipo
1 month ago

With the way he played in handing Liverpool their 1st defeat b4 the break, Sarr will be a potential transfer speculation for Klopp and Liverpool