Liverpool

Is Max Kruse a Better Liverpool Transfer Target Than Radamel Falcao?

Moenchengladbach's Max Kruse, center, celebrates after scoring during the German first division Bundesliga soccer match between BvB Borussia Dortmund  and VfL Borussia Moenchengladbach in Dortmund, Germany, Saturday, March 15, 2014. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Frank Augstein/Associated Press
Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 20, 2014

Would Borussia Monchengladbach's Max Kruse be a better Liverpool transfer target than Monaco centre-forward Radamel Falcao

Liverpool are hopeful of signing Falcao, per Rob Draper at the Daily Mail, but Kruse would be a cheaper alternative. 

To cover the hypothetical scenario of Liverpool targeting Kruse, here is a scouting report on the 26-year-old, 5'11", 168-pound German international. 

 

Kruse Positives

Kruse is a complete attacking footballer whose combination with Raffael is integral to Gladbach making gradual strides toward becoming a Bundesliga powerhouse. 

Kruse gets his angles right, as he showed by whipping the ball into the bottom corner against Mainz.

Dribbling at high speed, Kruse cut past Hamburg centre-back Jonathan Tah and slotted the ball past onrushing Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler.

Kruse anticipated Werder Bremen right-back Clemens Fritz's challenge.

Embarking on an elongated Emre Can-like dribble, Kruse disrupted Mainz's defensive shape and curled a pass into the path of Bayer Leverkusen's Gladbach loanee, Christoph Kramer.

There is a Luis Suarez-esque ease in which Kruse manoeuvred the ball away from Augsburg centre-back Ragnar Klavan.

Speaking of Suarez, he is inferior to Kruse from a dribbling perspective. 

Kruse averages 1.06 more dribbles per 90 minutes and is 28.12 percent more likely to complete a take-on than Suarez, according to Squawka.

Credit: Squawka.com

Falcao is another world-class footballer who cannot match Kruse's dribbling. 

League Only 2013-14Luis SuarezMax KruseRadamel Falcao
Total Dribbles9313014
Dribbles Per Game2.83.80.8
Dribbles Per 902.823.880.91
Take On Success %39.2467.3642.42

Falcao is just a finisher, while Kruse is a creative outlet, a facilitator and a genius on the ball. 

Kruse registered nine assists in 34 league games last season, whereas Falcao has four assists in his last 85 league games. 

Kruse is substantially superior to Falcao in total forward passes, assists and key passes per 90 minutes while making longer passes, according to Squawka.

Credit: Squawka.com

Adjusting to the bounce, Kruse hopped and inventively clipped the ball over Eintracht Frankfurt's defence to Gladbach right-winger Patrick Herrmann.

Kruse split open Hertha Berlin's defence with a first-time pass to Raffael.  

Raffael dashed through on goal against Hamburg via Kruse's lofted pass. 

 

Kruse Negatives

If Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has a list of like-for-like alternatives to Falcao, Kruse would not be on it. 

Why?

Kruse is more alike to Philippe Coutinho than Falcao.

Gladbach manager Lucien Favre plays a 4-4-2, and the "2" is comprised of Kruse and Raffael.

The duo are free-roaming deep-lying forwards with as big of a green light as Suarez had under Rodgers.

Coach Favre's system does not incorporate a conventional No. 9, hence why centre-forward Luuk de Jong was a transfer bust at Gladbach.

Credit: Kicker.de
League Only 2013-14GoalsGoals Per GameShots Per Goal
Daniel Sturridge210.724.7
Luis Suarez310.945.8
Max Kruse120.356.4
Philippe Coutinho50.1518.8
Radamel Falcao90.535.6

On the surface, Kruse's 12 league goals are satisfactory, but four were penalties. 

If you exclude the spot-kicks, Kruse scored eight goals from 73 shots at an inefficient 9.1 shots per goal.

Doing a Fernando Torres in front of goal against Wolfsburg encapsulates Kruse's struggles to transition into a prolific scorer. 

Falcao is a proven finisher. 

He has scored 30 goals or more in all competitions four times out of his last five seasons. 

Another factor against signing Kruse in this window is he lacks match fitness.

He is recuperating from surgery after removing a ureteral stone and will be out until August 25, per Gladbach's official website

 

Bottom Line

If Falcao gets his "dream switch to Real Madrid," per Pablo Polo at Marca, here are reasons why Rodgers should consider Kruse.

Playing in Favre's uptempo and interchangeable system, Kruse is more of a Rodgers-type footballer than Falcao. 

Kruse has room to improve as a scorer, but he is a passer of the highest order. 

He has created 256 scoring chances in his last three seasons. 

In addition, Kruse can drop deep, receive the ball and drag opposing players out of position with his world-class dribbling. 

The biggest plus is he will be a cost-efficient signing unlike Falcao.

 

@allanjianga

Statistics via WhoScored 

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