Why Guillherme Siqueira Would Be an Ideal Signing for Liverpool This Summer
Neil Jones of the Liverpool Echo reports that Siqueira became the Reds' No. 1 target for the position, and that the club hope to conclude a deal before the start of the new Premier League season, although no fee had at the time been agreed.
Liverpool play Stoke City at Anfield on August 17 in their season opener so it seems unlikely that Siqueira will be in place by then now, but there are still plenty of good reasons for the Reds to press ahead with their plans to sign him.
Liverpool's requirements and a summer-long chase
The Reds have struggled to adequately find a reliable and quality left-back since John Arne Riise's earliest years at the club. A host of defenders on that side have come and gone, some with more success than others, but whereas at one point the team had two or three players to choose from with similar levels of ability, now Brendan Rodgers has only one.
Jose Enrique remains the first choice left-back by default; Stewart Downing has been sold, Jack Robinson farmed out on loan and Martin Kelly, who when in the side at right-back shifted Glen Johnson across to the left, is still recovering from a long-term injury.
As such, a left-sided reinforcement is of paramount importance to the team, at the very least to provide cover and preferably to offer strong competition for the position.
Unfortunately, it appears as though either Liverpool did not have a clear and preferred target in mind by the time the summer came around, or else their No. 1 option was entirely unavailable, leaving the transfer committee to headhunt a number of options before settling on Siqueira recently.
Dominic King of the Daily Mail went so far as to suggest a loan move for Lorenzo Melgarejo was already agreed, while Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo reported that Aly Cissokho had agreed on terms with the club over a move.
Ultimately, the Reds remain without a left-back signing, leaving Siqueira as the present likely option.
Defensive solidity, without compromising attacking contribution
Siqueira has proven himself a fine full-back with regards to his defensive responsibilities. Having played at Granada for the past two seasons in Spain's top flight, he has shown a good combination of technical and tactical prowess, combining solid defensive work with an ability to get forward effectively.
Liverpool's strength in the full-back areas has been to get them forward quickly and aim to contribute in the final third, something which the present incumbents do, albeit not always with a terribly impressive end product.
Going back toward their own goal, however, can often leave something to be desired on both sides of the pitch.
The Reds struggle to stop crosses coming over at times and allow runners to work inside the channels in a two-versus-one situation more often than makes for comforting viewing. They can also be seen failing to mark wide forwards moving toward the far post on the blind side of the full-back.
This is certainly an area where any incoming left-back has to improve, and Siqueira's statistics from last season indicate that would be the case.
Siqueira averaged eight defensive actions per game last season, compared to just three from Jose Enrique. In total, the Granada man comfortably more than doubled the combined blocks, interceptions and clearances that Liverpool's No. 3 managed.
Aerially, he is also more dominant than Jose Enrique, with the Brazilian winning 51 percent of his 63 headed duels, and the Spaniard managing just a lowly 38 percent of his 34 attempts.
Of course Liverpool will hope and expect to do less defending than Granada in any given game, but they nonetheless need to upgrade their defensive capabilities to improve in the league this season.
Options in the final third
Jose Enrique is often lauded for his ability to get forward quickly and link up play in the final third, though in truth, he rarely picks the right final ball in the opposition's penalty area and his crossing is far from up to scratch.
While Siqueira found his man with a quarter of all his crosses, 24 from 99, Jose Enrique managed just seven successful crosses all season, an average of 0.2 per match.
Should Liverpool be chasing Siqueira for left-back?
The Reds' No. 3 did manage to create 26 chances over the course of the season, but Siqueira—in a team who scored 34 goals less than Liverpool last season—created only three lower, 23 in total. He also scored six league goals to Jose Enrique's two, and registered a greater percentage of his shots on target, 59 percent to 44 percent, from 23 and 22 shots, respectively.
Siqueira also offers the versatility that Brendan Rodgers seems to crave from most of his signings. He can play further up the field in a left midfield position, though his primary role is from full-back.
There are few downsides to this particular deal for Liverpool. Providing they can come up with a reasonable agreement over the fee with Granada, the advantages are clear.
Competition is desperately required, and Siqueira should offer the Reds better quality defensively while giving away little, if anything, going forward.
Many rumours have already been dispelled over which left-back Liverpool will eventually sign this summer, but Siqueira appears to tick all the important boxes for Rodgers until his preferred option, or else a future possibility, becomes a realistic target to move for.
Statistical data from Squawka, WhoScored and TransferMarkt
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