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How does Liverpool target Timo Werner compare to Roberto Firmino?

Sports Mole takes a statistical look at the comparison between Roberto Firmino and Timo Werner amid consistent speculation linking Liverpool with the RB Leipzig forward.

Liverpool have been by far and away the best team in English football over the course of the 2019-20 campaign so far, building a 25-point lead with nine games of the Premier League season remaining.

The prospect of the season being declared null and void due to the coronavirus outbreak is seemingly the only hurdle preventing them from eventually being crowned champions for the first time in 30 years, albeit a hurdle of increasing significance and threat.

Even so, the Reds continue to be linked with summer reinforcements as they aim to keep ahead of the rest and ensure that their ascent back to the top of English football is not a short-lived one.

RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner is the player who has been most strongly linked with a move to Anfield, and should that deal happen then the Germany international would seemingly be in competition with Roberto Firmino for a place in the starting lineup.

Jurgen Klopp may decide to switch from his favoured 4-3-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1 in which Firmino plays as the number 10 with Werner leading the line in order to shoehorn both players into the XI.

Either way, the comparative performances of both players will naturally come under increased scrutiny, so here Sports Mole looks at how the duo stack up against each other.


Timo Werner celebrates scoring for RB Leipzig on February 19, 2020© Reuters

When it comes to goals there is only one winner. Perhaps the most common criticism of Firmino is that he does not score enough, with 11 in 43 games across all competitions this season at an average of one every 304 minutes.

Werner, on the other hand, has netted 27 times in 36 outings at an average of a goal every 105 minutes, while in league competition his record is even more impressive - 21 goals in 25 games, and an average of one every 98 minutes.

The 24-year-old's haul includes two hat-tricks and six braces, while he has found the back of the net at least once in 17 of his 36 games (47%).

Firmino, meanwhile, has only scored more than once in a game on one occasion this term and has only scored in 10 of his 43 outings - a much worse ratio of 23%.

Only Robert Lewandowski has scored more Bundesliga goals than Werner this season and only Jadon Sancho has had a direct hand in more when taking assists into account too.

On top of that, Werner also has a happy knack for scoring home and away - he has 10 in front of his own fans and 11 on the road in the Bundesliga this season - whereas Firmino only scored his first Anfield goal of the season in their Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid last time out.

However, Firmino's goals are often decisive; only Mohamed Salah has netted more winning goals in the entire Premier League than Firmino this season, with six of his eight strikes sealing all three points for the Reds, whereas only three of Werner's 21 goals have done the same for Leipzig.


Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring their second goal with Roberto Firmino on January 2, 2020© Reuters

Firmino's relative lack of goals is a weakness which is often offset against his creativity, although in the assists stakes there is nothing between these two players with 12 apiece across all competitions - indeed, Werner has reached that tally in fewer games than Firmino.

There is very little to separate the two players when it comes to key passes too - Werner averages 1.4 per game whereas Firmino averages 1.5.

The stats do back up Firmino as a player who is more involved during buildups, though, with the Brazilian averaging 33 passes per Premier League game with a success rate of 80%, compared to Werner's figures of 27 passes per game and 76% success rate in the Bundesliga.


Timo Werner in action for RB Leipzig on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Unsurprisingly given his vastly superior scoring record, Werner averages more shots per game (3.7 to Firmino's 2.4), while he is also caught offside much more often - 1.5 times per game compared to 0.3 for Firmino.

The latter statistic shows that Werner prefers to play off the shoulder of the last man whereas Firmino often drops deeper, and in doing so creates the space for Salah and Sadio Mane to make their runs in behind, which in turn is a big reason why both wingers have such impressive goal returns.

Firmino averages two dribbles per game compared to 1.4 from Werner, while the stats also show the Brazilian wins more of his headers than Werner despite being only one centimetre taller.

There is also the unquantifiable aspect of what else Firmino brings to the team. The stats may not put him among the planet's elite for most categories, but there is a reason why the Liverpool fans' chant refers to their number nine as the "best in the world".


Roberto Firmino takes on Granit Xhaka and Sokratis during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Arsenal on August 24, 2019© Reuters

Every forward in Klopp's team is ordered to press high and begin the defence from the very front line, and in recent years few have been better at setting that defensive tone than Firmino.

The statistics back that up too, with Firmino averaging 1.3 tackles and 0.3 interceptions per match compared to 0.6 tackles and 0.15 interceptions from Werner.

Of course, part of that comes with the territory of Firmino generally taking up deeper positions than Werner, but it also strengthens the view that Werner is a goalscorer first and foremost, while Firmino's contribution is perhaps more complete.


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Timo Werner celebrates scoring for RB Leipzig on February 19, 2020
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