Why Chelsea castoff Ashley Cole could be the perfect signing for Liverpool
It has come as a surprise to see just how one of England’s best left-backs in the last decade or so, has seen his career dramatically decline within 18 months. From celebrating his 100th international cap, to barely featuring under Jose Mourinho and not being offered a new deal – it’s been a rollercoaster ride [...]The post
From celebrating his 100th international cap, to barely featuring under Jose Mourinho and not being offered a new deal – it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Ashley Cole.
However, life must go on and the former England international still has plenty to offer and his services will have a number of potential clubs readying themselves to take him on board, with one of Cole’s suitors being Liverpool.
Brendan Rodgers’ men are in desperate need of reinforcements at the back, despite signing four defenders last summer. The Reds drafted in the likes of Mamadou Sakho and Kolo Toure, while Aly Cissokho and Tiago Ilori were also lured in, all without success it has to be said.
Despite those signings, Liverpool leaked 50 Premier League goals which begged the question, ‘just how did they concede so many’?
Their left-back problem was a particular issue and while they brought in Jon Flanagan to steady the ship in the absence of injury-prone Jose Enrique, the test will be tougher next for the young Englishman as Liverpool prepare to pit their wits against Europe’s elite in the Champions League.
Cole appeared just 17 times in the Premier League this season and he only completed a full game 13 times. However, he was still able to showcase exactly what he could bring to Mourinho’s side.
His attacking threat seems to have lost the desired effect it once had, but he still managed to create 17 chances in the league for the Blues. Despite playing 12 games less than Cesar Azpilicueta, the man who deputised for him, that’s five more than the Spaniard managed (12) during the campaign. Cole recorded two assists while Azpilicueta’s tally for the season stood at zero.
Flanagan’s defending is shrewd, but when going forward he tends to run out of ideas and his tendency to drift inwards on his favoured right-foot leaves Liverpool playing narrowly.
Cole would provide natural width and with Jose Enrique constantly struggling with injuries, Brendan Rodgers could really do with a defender like him – a different animal than what he already has in his ranks.
While Rodgers has put to bed his ‘possession game’, with more emphasis on a free-flowing counter-attacking based football, the Northern Irishman still likes to see his players confident on the ball, an asset Cole has in abundance.
Cole’s pass accuracy in the Premier League this season was 90%, the highest in the entire Chelsea squad for players who had played more than 3 games.
Despite playing less games than both of Liverpool’s left-backs this season and Chelsea’s Cesar Azpilicueta, Cole still fares well against them. He has a better Squawka Defence Score than Flanagan, despite playing six games less than him. He’s created more chances(17) than all three defenders, displaying just how effective he still is going forward. He also wins on average 44% of his duels, but that can be severely improved with more game time at Anfield.
His experience is evident and while Flanagan was impressive when he was integrated to the side and the return of Jose Enrique imminent, neither have experienced Champions League football before.
With over 100 caps for his country and a number of individual accolades across his career, the former Arsenal left-back would definitely be worth a gamble.
His wages may be sky-high, but his quality on the ball and astute defensive responsibilities means he would be the perfect solution for a problem area Liverpool have had all season.