There was a time when Liverpool would sign men who had performed well against them, or at least be rumored to be interested in such players. This is no longer the case in Liverpool. Christian Benteke had already scored five goals against the Reds prior to joining the club. Once he joined the club, he scored a total of ten times.
It seems that such simple interpretations were no longer valid (even if Darwin Nunez could be considered an exception on this score). On the other hand, it was recently announced that the club’s director of research, Ian Graham, and sporting director, Julian Ward, will be leaving in the summer, so it is possible that the organization will revert to its previous recruitment methods.
In any event, it has been suggested that the Reds are interested in a player who has scored against them this season. Unfortunately, this group’s sample size is significantly bigger than what Liverpool had anticipated. Despite this, it appears that Ajax’s Mohammed Kudus was able to influence the club’s major decision-makers.
Thursday afternoon, the 22-year-old was selected to start for Ghana against Portugal in their World Cup match. The Reds will send scouts to the game to study the Ajax forward, according to a story in Sports World Ghana that was published prior to the match. Liverpool is anticipated to make a deal in January if they like what they see, which includes aiding André Ayew’s goal. They will, however, face competition from the other half of Merseyside, Dortmund, Juventus, and Milan.
In September, when Liverpool defeated Ajax 2-1 at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp had the opportunity to gain firsthand information of Kudus’ ability. He was able to score an excellent goal that equalized the score at the Kop end by putting a powerful shot past Alisson Becker. In the post-shot model, Kudus converted a 0.15 anticipated goal opportunity into a 0.47 anticipated goal effort, despite the fact that single shot expected goal values should always be interpreted with extreme caution (per FBRef). In other words, the combination of the force of his strike and its strategic placement more than tripled the value of the chance.
According to FBRef, Kudus has averaged 4.5 shots per 90 minutes, with his non-penalty attempts (i.e., all of them) averaging 0.24 xG.
When evaluating Eredivisie players, the lower level of football in the Netherlands is always a factor, but let’s indulge in a comparison across Europe’s top five leagues. Only eight men in England, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain average more shots per game than Kylian Mbappé, Lionel Messi, and Darwin Nez this season.
If that sounds impressive, there are only five major league players in 2022/23 with a higher average chance quality, and none of them are from the previous eight attacking talents. These statistics (along with his 10 goals and two assists this season) indicate that Kudus has outgrown the Eredivisie, but his scouting report on FBRef really drives the point home.
In this regard, he is compared to forwards from the “next eight” tournaments, a level below the major leagues. Athletes who represent their countries in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, and the English Championship are also listed, along with those who compete in the Europa Conference League and Copa Libertadores.
Kudus ranks in the top one percent for 26 distinct performance indicators at this organization, and in the top ten percent for an additional 19. This explains why former Dutch international Keje Molenaar told Het Parool that the Ghanaian is now “worth €70 million” (£60 million).
His history of physical fitness must be a source of concern. Kudus has missed three games over the past two seasons, but it has been roughly ten months since his last absence.
However, a physician should be consulted to identify any problems. Kudus is unquestionably a talent worthy of consideration.