It is no secret that Jurgen Klopp likes the Borussia Dortmund player Christian Pulisic and that Christian Pulisic likes the Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp has known Pulisic for many years and played a part in his very early development. Pulisic, a USA international, has been on Liverpool’s radar for two seasons now as the young attacker broke into the Dortmund first team during troubled times.
It has been reported in today’s Liverpool Echo that Pulisic has called off talks with Borussia Dortmund over a new contract, suggesting that he could be looking to move away from Germany.
And, as ever, Merseyside is where he is being linked to.
Pulisic is a player that many Liverpool fans would be delighted to see join the club as the search for the Philippe Coutinho replacement continues.
But what would Liverpool actually be signing?
Let’s take a look.
Christian Pulisic in the Bundesliga
How did Christian Pulisic rank in the Bundesliga top ten?
Well, he didn’t.
In both the midfield and attack top tens, Christian Pulisic is nowhere to be seen – which is interesting when you have a quick glance and some of the names on the list, their likely availability and potential cost.
Julian Brandt, Thorgan Hazard and Leon Bailey are all players that are 100% available right now and would possibly cost less than Christian Pulisic.
Leon Bailey is one who interests me, so let us compare him to Pulisic before looking to compare Pulisic to the player he could be replacing at Liverpool longer-term, Philippe Coutinho.
Bailey vs Pulisic
And here we have some pretty damning evidence.
Leon Bailey played one less Bundesliga game than Christian Pulisic last season.
Despite that, he created 49 chances for his teammates in his 27 games.
Pulisic, in 28 games, created a mere 29 chances.
However, the next statistic is interesting.
Leon Bailey only claimed one more assist than Pulisic with six to Pulisic’s five.
So a little less than 50% more chances created by the Jamaican yet only one more assist?
Does this mean the quality of Pulisic’s chance creation was higher or that Leverkusen’s strikers did not do Bailey’s work justice? More analysis would be required to find this out.
When it comes to taking their own chances, Leon Bailey was over 50% more effective than Christian Pulisic, scoring nine goals to the American’s four.
Other areas, not shown in the image, like successful passes (Pulisic = 569, Bailey = 512), key passes (Pulisic = 24, Bailey 43) and total forward passes (Pulisic = 315, Bailey = 361) all add up to the total scores you can see, where Leon Bailey massively outscores Pulisic.
With this in mind, I would already be thinking that despite Pulisic’s ‘potential’ and ‘marketabilty’ that there might be better value in Leon Bailey.
Coutinho vs Pulisic
If Liverpool were to sign Christian Pulisic they would be looking at him as the long-term replacement for Philippe Coutinho.
In half the games with both Liverpool and Barcelona, Philippe Coutinho created more chances than Christian Pulisic. Again, with half the games with both sides he assisted as many goals with each than Pulisic did at Dortmund. Over the course of last season, Coutinho scored double the amount of goals than Christian Pulisic all of which lead to him having a far greater total score.
Is it surprising that a Brazilian international who moved to Barcelona from Liverpool for well over £100m scored higher than a young American with just two seasons of first-team football under his belt?
No, not really – but what is surprising is that when you compare Pulisic to Leon Bailey who is also on the market and being linked to Chelsea that the Jamaican far outscores Pulisic.
Bailey is available for a little less than Pulisic. Maybe Liverpool should be looking further afield.