Jurgen Klopp’s side would certainly be transformed if they were to complete this signing in the summer.
It’s no secret that Liverpool are in the market for a midfielder (or two) this summer, but their main target in Jude Bellingham could end up being their very own version of Patrick Vieira.
With James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all out of contract in the summer, it stands to reason we’re going to see some transfer business done and if the Reds can finally consolidate their year and half interest in the Borussia Dortmund midfielder, then Jurgen Klopp will have a midfielder who is the most statistically similar to the Arsenal captain of the famous invinicbles team.
That’s according to football statistical website StatsBomb who compared Vieira’s 2003/04 season to midfielders so far this season, with Bellingham emerging as the closest match. What makes this comparison crazy is the fact that 2003 was the year when Bellingham was born.
Fans will remember the Frenchman as a powerful midfield presence who could do everything from breaking up play, winning headers and scoring goals – the current Crystal Palace manager was certainly an all-action player and the stats reflect it.
Between the duo, there’s a few stats that stand out as being almost identical. Those are deep progressions, fouls won and successful dribbles.
This comes from the fact that they both played in central midfield and both occupied a deeper position. With Vieira, he was partnered by the more defensively-minded Gilberto Silva in a 4-4-2 formation, whilst Bellingham was partnered by Salih Ozcan, with Emre Can tasked with the defensive midfield duties behind him.
Both of those set-ups allow both Vieira and Bellingam to drive forward when they get the chance, hence the deep progression and successful dribble stats as both will look to drive forward when possible. That’s also where they will win a large majority of their fouls as well.
Bellingham has massively improved his output this season in Germany, scoring 10 times and assisting six across 32 games so far. For Vieira, it was three goals and eight assists in all competitions, but it was also done in a team that didn’t lose a game across a 38-game season and the level of competitiveness in the Premier League is also well documented.
If Liverpool can fend off their competition in Real Madrid and Manchester City to sign the 19-year-old star, then he will no doubt slot into Klopp’s 4-3-3 formatio will ease, especially considering he will have license to get further forward alongside two other more defensively-minded midfielders.
Of course, stats aren’t everything. But to boast similar traits to a great like Vieira is only a positive for the ever-improving Englishman.