What can Man United learn from Liverpool and Barcelona?

By building a more organized analysis system, Man United can learn from Liverpool as well as Barcelona, who have been ahead in this regard and have been successful.

Many successful contracts later

In November 2019, former United goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar officially signed with Ajax as the Managing Director. Previously, he was invited by the “Red Devils” to take on the role of Sports director. Van Der Sar is one of many who declined the invitation to sit in that position of the Old Trafford team.

Man United need people who understand the team, know which team they are in need of. It is coach Ole Solskjaer that admits that he and the top figures at Man United have to handle too much work.

That is why Man United did not have many successful signings after Sir Alex Ferguson retired. A series of blockbusters like Angel Di Maria and Alexis Sanchez became bombs. And Man United has not returned to the position of the team that challenges the title.

“Better late than never,” Man United needs to look at what Liverpool or Barcelona have done to develop data analysis, an important factor for success in modern football.

Man United need to learn a lot from their rivals.
Man United need to learn a lot from their rivals.

Liverpool’s success

Luke Bornn, head of data analysis at AS Roma, is not surprised that Mohamed Salah is gaining more and more attention from fans. However, he once found it difficult to understand when not many teams were interested in recruiting this player.

Born rated Salah extremely effective in creating chances and scoring goals. At that time, however, he judged that the Egyptians had yet to reach his peak. He believes Salah will be more explosive if played in a system capable of transitioning from defense to rapid attack by coach Juergen Klopp.

In January 2014, Liverpool was very sorry when it was about to bring Salah to Anfield successfully. However, a call from Jose Mourinho led Salah’s destination to Stamford Bridge.

The time Salah sticking with Chelsea was not as happy as he expected. Salah made 13 appearances and the British media called it a failed contract. However, the statistics show that he possesses strengths such as speed, power, intelligent movement and the ability to make decisions near the penalty area. That is the quality that can help Salah survive in the Premier League.

Liverpool Research Director Ian Graham holds a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, going into Salah data from Basel, Fiorentina and Roma to conclude that he will develop the strengths of the attack with Sadio. Mane and Roberto Firmino.

Liverpool's trio proves that Graham's analysis is completely accurate.
Liverpool’s trio proves that Graham’s analysis is completely accurate.

Initially, Liverpool targeted Julian Brandt, the player wearing Dortmund. However, Graham and Michael Edwards, Liverpool’s sports director, convinced Klopp that Salah was the wide-capable striker the team needed most, most suitable.

In the summer of 2017, Salah was officially a Liverpool man. To get the nod from Roma, “Red Brigade” spent 50 million euros, the number that analysts of both teams confidently said was too cheap compared to what Salah can bring.

Currently, Salah has 91 goals after 144 appearances and is an important player in the journey to help Liverpool return to the position of the leading team in England and Europe.

A year later, they continued to have another contract from AS Roma. Alisson Becker plays for “Red Brigade” under the label of the 2nd most expensive goalkeeper in the world. Once again, Liverpool owns a player whose contribution is much more valuable than the amount of money the team spent.

Michael Edwards, one of the people behind Liverpool's success.
Michael Edwards, one of the people behind Liverpool’s success.

The combination of these great minds helps Liverpool succeed, “said the London School of Economics Professor Ignacio Palacios-Huerta. Currently, he also works in this area as the director of athletics. Bilbao, the team playing in La Liga.

How are other teams analyzing data?

Liverpool’s rival, Man United is also building a similar data analysis team. Mr. Sumpter applauded the move for the “Reds”, whether they were behind their rivals such as Liverpool, Man City or even lesser-known teams like Brighton and Brentford.

Brentford has an analytical model like the big teams and is showing effectiveness. In 2017, they signed a contract with Neal Maupay for 2 million euros. Two seasons later, they earned more than 20 million euros when the striker was sold to Brighton.

In the First Division, Brentford is one of the four teams with the narrowest salary fund but ranks 4th in the rankings. It is a testament to the efficient operation of the transfer market.

Maupay has 8 goals and 2 assists, a pretty good number for a player who plays for Brighton, the middle team in the Premier League.
Maupay has 8 goals and 2 assists, a pretty good number for a player who plays for Brighton, the middle team in the Premier League.

While Liverpool is a model of the transfer, Barcelona is the place for United to learn about the development of research in every aspect to help the team play better.

The Catalonia giant built a research center in 2017, under the direction of William Spearman, Ph.D. in Physics at Harvard. They analyze everything, from nutrition, health, to problems on the pitch. Javier Fernandez, who was highly appreciated by Mr. Sumpter, called it a move to help Barcelona understand the match better.

Fernandez, head of Barcelona’s analysis system, said they were interested in every situation on the pitch, the common play, the sense of space. Barcelona does not pay too much attention to the data surrounding the ball such as the number of passes, shots or tackles.

Instead, they analyze the players. This allows them to see Lionel Messi perform more efficiently than any other player, even though he is not actively moving. Clearly, the data analysis says a lot of things that fans can hardly feel.

Barcelona's analysis showed that Messi works well even when he walks leisurely on the field.
Barcelona’s analysis showed that Messi works well even when he walks leisurely on the field.

Football is the game of the moment. No one would have expected Trent Alexander-Arnold to make such a clever kick to help Liverpool set up a 4-0 victory over Barcelona, or Eder had a brilliant swing to make the Portuguese burst. in a position forced to suffocate by France. Who cares about those dry numbers.

However, that is what fans think. For footballers, they need careful preparation in many aspects to be able to choose the factors that can afford such explosive moments. And data analysis is an important preparation process.

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