Talking Tactics

Robertson the best in the business

2 Feb 2019
Andrew Robertson, LIVCRY

Ahead of Monday's match at West Ham, Adrian Clarke says the stats show no full-back is better than Liverpool's rampaging Scot

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The Premier League's most improved player over the course of the last 18 months has to be Andrew Robertson.

He arrived at Liverpool in the summer of 2017 from relegated Hull City with the hope of fighting for a first-team place under Jurgen Klopp.

The Scot had to show patience for opportunities at first, but from the moment he became a regular in the starting XI the standard of his performances has constantly risen.

Delivering outstanding displays week in, week out this season, Robertson has been the Premier League’s best left-back by a long distance and will test West Ham United to the full on Monday evening.

A proper defender

When Liverpool have possession, Robertson is the epitome of the modern-day full-back, full of positive intent inside the opposition half.

But he also relishes the defensive aspects of the game.

He is excellent at pressing his direct opponents, snappy in the tackle and astute in his decision-making. Very few wingers can get the better of Robertson.

He is the side's most prolific tackler, making 55 this season, 24 ahead of the next team-mate, Jordan Henderson.

He is also the most successful left-back in the division when it comes to winning those challenges.

Yet, tellingly, he has made hardly any fouls.

When you compare how many free-kicks he has conceded in 2018/19 with other full-backs in the Premier League, it gives you a clear indication of his expert timing.

Best tackling full-backs
Player  Club Tackles won  Fouls conceded
Wan-Bissaka CRY 63 16
Pereira LEI 44 26
Azpilicueta CHE 37 19
Robertson LIV 36 7
Digne EVE 30 25
Athleticism and quality

Klopp’s players need energy in abundance to implement the gameplans he sets and Robertson is one his most energetic performers.

Registering 18 sprints per 90 minutes, only four Premier League players have made more in 2018/19.

His direct opponents rarely get a moment’s peace.

Most sprints in 2018/19
Player Club Sprints
Chilwell LEI 478
Sterling MCI 430
Aubameyang ARS 426
Salah LIV 402
Robertson LIV 394

As an attacking force, Robertson is Liverpool’s most creative player outside of the front three of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Laying on 23 chances from open play, almost double that of the 12 done by the fifth-ranked creators, Xherdan Shaqiri and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Robertson delivers a top-class supply line from the flank.

Statistically, he is the most inventive full-back in the league.

Robertson also has five assists, teeing up goals for Mane (twice), Salah, Firmino and Shaqiri this term.

Most creative full-backs in 2018/19
Player Club Chances created in open play
Robertson LIV 23
Digne EVE 22
Hadergjonaj HUD 21
Jonny WOL 20
Doherty WOL 20
Yedlin NEW 20

Home and away Robertson’s form has been electric all season and West Ham manager Manuel Pellegrini will need his right side to be prepared for a testing Monday evening at London Stadium.

Also in this series

Part 1: Winks and Longstaff ready to show their talents
Part 2: Chilwell making big strides at Leicester
Part 3: Why Laporte has won Guardiola's trust

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