What happened to Liverpool’s Naby Keita?

Naby Keita. Just a few years ago, his name evoked fervent exaltation in some sectors of the soccer analytics community – he was the young midfielder who could do it all, with apparently unlimited talents both attacking and defending. Now, he can’t get a game for Liverpool. What happened? To answer this question, I think it’s important to understand where Keita started. Following an impressive maiden season in Europe at Istres, he began 2014-15 playing a combination of defensive midfield and central midfield at Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga. Even as a defensive midfielder, he pushed the ball…
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How good was Andrew Robertson at Hull?

Andrew Robertson, Liverpool’s left back, has been garnering plenty of plaudits for his performances in the Premier League and the Champions League, including a nomination for player of the week in the latter competition. He’s part of the raft of successful signings by Michael Edwards, the onetime analyst who is now the club’s sporting director. But to some, Robertson’s signing was a bit of a surprise: (By the way, I’d recommend following James on Twitter and reading his always entertaining prose.) Edwards apparently has a team of up to five mathematics and physics PhDs working for him. What did they see in the young Scottish fullback…
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Searching for Sergio

As Pep Guardiola has just informed us, this weekend Manchester City will play one more time without their talismanic striker Sergio Agüero. As an Independiente fan, I’ve followed Agüero’s career since he was a teenager playing alongside the likes of Gabriel Milito and Daniel Montenegro. He’s 30 years old now and has never been the most durable player, so the question for Manchester City is inevitably how to replace him. Even for a star of his quality, it’s a much harder task than you might expect. It’s easy to say that every player is unique. But Agüero is particularly different from his peers as a…
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