Monday, December 5, 2022

Marseille Star Says He Rejected Liverpool: Was This A Loss For The Player Or The Reds?

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Footballers, in different stages of their careers, have to make decisions which eventually turn out to be life changers. A similar situation arose with Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez as he has revealed in a recent interview.

While talking to RMC Sport, he has mentioned that Liverpool tried to sign him when he was 16 years of age, but he declined the opportunity. He has further informed that right now, he does not regret the decision and is happy with his present club. He said “[Liverpool] did everything to get me to sign. I hesitated a lot but today, I don’t regret [the decision] anymore, I made the right choice.”

Who is Maxime Lopez?

The French player joined Marseille in the youth ranks in 2010 and continued in that setup till 2014 when he was promoted to the reserves team. Two years playing for the B team, apparently made Lopez ready for the senior side and in 2016, he made his Ligue 1 debut. Fortunately for him he soon became a regular in the first eleven from that very season, notching up three goals for his side.

An attacking midfielder by trade, Lopez has since made 106 league appearances for the side, although the goals have dried up. In his third season, he scored one goal from 32 matches. Still considered as a talented young prospect, the 22-year-old player has certainly not lived up to his expectations, and the club would hope that in the future his statistics are indicative of his talent.

Liverpool and Benfica Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp shown in the photo
Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool looks on before the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Liverpool FC at Molineux on January 23, 2020 in Wolverhampton, United Kingdom. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

What would he have brought at Anfield?

As Maxime Lopez’s offensive contributions have been limited, manager Villas-Boas had moved him to the centre of the pitch. One aspect of his game that cannot be undermined is his ball distribution as he has racked up 89.5% of successful passes this season.

However, it should also be mentioned that his passes have mostly been unilateral and his lack of ability to hit the long balls or crosses have hurt his chances of playing at a more advanced role. The midfielder’s defensive contributions are also not anything to talk about, and as a central midfielder, he has amassed a rather meagre figure of 0.3 interceptions per game. Lastly, it could be said that his small stature and insufficient physical development would mean that he might struggle in the Premier League.

Whose loss is it?

Liverpool scouts must have noticed his talent at a very young age to have tried for him, but as of now the potential of the player has not really been apparent for everyone to see. In 2015, Jurgen Klopp took charge of the side, and the only demand for the manager has been physically well-built players who would have the tenacity to run around the pitch for 90 straight minutes. Lopez has shown no creative instinct in the French side and even in central midfield, Liverpool have better players running the show.

It is difficult to foresee how the France U-21 international would have justified his position at the Merseyside club, and the odds are on that he would have been loaned out to a smaller side. Considering this, it can be comfortably said that the club has not undergone any loss. As for the player too, it is probably a win as he would not have had regular opportunities to impress at Anfield.

Stats from Whoscored.

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