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Klopp set for Gotze reunion?

Monday 23rd May 2016
It was the move that Jurgen Klopp described as a 'like a heart attack'. In 2013, Borussia Dortmund's bright young talent, Mario Gotze, had decided to leave the club for great rivals Bayern Munich. Klopp had assembled a talented and exciting young team, who had begun to re-establish Dortmund as one of Europe's elite teams. That Gotze, their home-grown prodigy, had decided to leave this emerging force for their German rivals was a bitter blow to take.

Three years on and Gotze has discovered that the grass is not always greener. There may have been a hat-trick of Bundesliga titles in Bavaria, but the man tipped as the next great hope of German football has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular. It is the infrequency of Gotze's appearances in Munich that have led to strong rumors he could be set for a reunion with Klopp at Liverpool, a reunion that both are believed to be keen on.

So what could the diminutive German bring to Klopp's new look Liverpool?

Capable of playing a variety of roles in midfield and attack, Gotze has proved he is capable of shining under Klopp's preferred style of play. Since Klopp's arrival at Liverpool, he has favoured playing an attacking trio of Phillippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana either as a floating front line or behind a recognized striker. It would appear Lallana's place may be most at threat should Gotze arrive this summer, but how does the German compare to those he'd be competing with for places?

Injuries restricted Gotze to just 11 Bundesliga starts in 2015/16, so for our analysis, we will look into past seasons.

In Gotze's final season as a regular at Dortmund, 2012/13, the German scored 10 times in 23 Bundesliga starts, whilst contributing 9 assists. Comparatively, last season Lallana scored 4 Premier League goals from 24 starts, with a further 6 assists. Gotze also ranked higher than Lallana for shots per game (1.9 - 1.5), key passes per game (2.3 - 1.7) and dribbles per game (3 - 1.4). Gotze's stats remained at a similar level for his debut season in Bavaria, scoring 10 times from 20 starts, with a further 8 assists before lowering over the past two seasons having fallen out of favor and suffered several injury problems.

The German's statistics also favour comparably to Phillipe Coutinho. The Liverpool playmaker's 8 Premier League goals were his best haul in a league campaign, a figure surpassed by Gotze for three consecutive seasons from 2012-2014. Whilst Coutinho average's more shots per game, Gotze's superior goal tally represents impressive efficiency in front of goal.

It is perhaps Roberto Firmino who's statistics come closest to those of Gotze. The Brazil international registered 10 goals and 7 assists in his maiden Premier League campaign, an impressive rate from just 24 starts. Both he and Gotze, however, have a statistical advantage in that they are more often deployed in central area's, including occasionally as a false 9.

Should the move materialise, Gotze would be capable of playing any one of the positions across the front line, and as a favourite of Klopp has all the tools to make a possible transfer successful.

The man who scored the winning goal in the 2014 World Cup final has become a bit-part player in Munich, but has the potential to reach dizzying heights once again. At 23, his best years should be ahead of him and if Klopp can reignite the career he helped start so well, Anfield should be excited.
Harry Diamond
Sports Journalist based in Manchester, UK. Graduate of the University of Central Lancashire.

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