After signing for a reported €1m from German giants Bayer Leverkusen, many tipped striker Samed Yesil to be successful at Liverpool and prove to be a perfect addition to Brendan Rodgers’ squad in the future, but after an injury stricken first season at the Merseyside club, will Yesil turn out to be the striker that everyone thought he would be?In this feature on the German striker, we analyse his strengths and weaknesses, as well as determining what action the club must take in order to make Yesil a better player.
Yesil blasted onto the scene in 2010, where he scored 22 goals in just 24 matches that season for Bayer Leverkusen, however his goalscoring ability did not stop there. During his time at Leverkusen from 2010 to 2012, Yesil scored 57 goals in only 71 matches, meaning that he would on average score a goal every 114 minutes, emphasising that he is a natural-born striker and is a prolific goalscorer.
His confidence in front of goal earned him a call up to the Germany Under 16 side, and since then has featured for the Germany Under 17s, Under 18s, and Under 19s sides, where his impressive goalscoring record continues.
In his 32 International appearances for the German Youth teams, Yesil has scored 31 goals, scoring eight of those in only six games for Germany Under 19s so far, before rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament whilst on duty for them.
Although representing German from Under 16s to Under 19s, it is still unclear whether Yesil will play for the German national side because of his German-Turkish background, and the fact that the Turkish national coach Abdullah Avci and former Liverpool player Nuri Sahin have expressed their desires for Yesil to represent Turkey in the future.
The impressive statistics show that Yesil’s main strength is his ability in front of goal, and the ability to take chances and convert them into goals. This is evident from scoring 88 goals in 103 games for club and country since 2010, and a striker that can convert chances in something that the first team really need after a frustrating 2012/13 season for the Reds, even though they scored 71 goals.
Despite scoring these 88 goals, Yesil himself has found his first season very difficult at Liverpool Football Club, making only 2 appearances for the Reds, both in the Capital One Cup, in the 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion and the disappointing 3-1 loss at home to Swansea City, so it is important not to put too much pressure on Yesil’s shoulders and tip him to be the next Gerd Müller, even though his nickname with the German International side is ‘Gerd’.
Yesil has many other strengths as well as his ability to score goals. When you look at his stats, it is clear that he can score goals freely and, more importantly, he can score goals at a consistent rate. The fact that he has scored 88 goals in 103 games emphasises that Yesil is an extraordinary finisher both inside and outside the box, with left foot, right foot and with his head.
Because his finishing skills are good, it suggests that his awareness is also very good, as he is making runs to get into the position to finish and being in the right areas at the right time. This positive collaboration between his finishing ability and his positional awareness shows that Yesil is a very good modern day striker.
Another reason why Yesil is so successful as a striker is due to his extreme confidence both on and off the field, but his confidence on the field is what makes him the player he is today.
Samed Yesil is always confident because he consistently scores goals, and every time he enters a football pitch, he is hungry to score more and impress his manager, no matter who he plays for.
Yesil is not the perfect player and does have a few weaknesses.
A major weakness is that managers and teams are unable to see how his confidence is affected when he is not scoring goals, because his goal to game ratio is very impressive. This is a significant weakness because very few players score goals consistently in the Premier League so if Yesil is going to become a part of Brendan Rodgers’ squad, then he will need to show desire and hunger to score goals all the time, and not let his confidence be affected.
Also, Yesil is not the strongest of forwards in the current generation, and since most central defenders are becoming stronger every year, Yesil will find it difficult to hold up the ball and battle with central defenders, so will have to become stronger in order to become a better player. On the other hand, Yesil is a very quick and agile player and is very skilful so has the upper hand when running at defenders as he can beat them for pace or simply use his skills to his advantage.
His pace does bring disadvantages as well as advantages. Because he is quick and agile, and he has the confidence to beat defenders for pace, his touch can be heavy, and he is relying on his pace rather than his ball control take it past opposition defenders. This suggests that Yesil would rather pass it forward and run onto it rather than use his skills to beat any defender.
This will limit Yesil to operate centrally as full backs tend to be very quick meaning that he will not be able to use his pace as effectively, which can mean that he may have to adopt to different styles of play, which will confuse the forward, and can harm the player as a result.
Overall, Samed Yesil has more strengths than weaknesses and because he is only 19 years of age, he can work on his weaknesses and become a better player as a result.
The fact that Yesil was player for the first team in cup competitions aged just 18 shows that he has a key part to play in Brendan Rodgers’ plans for the future. Before his injury in February, Yesil was a regular player in Alex Inglethorpe’s Under 21s and the best course of action to take with Yesil is to carry on playing in the Under 21s to make an impact and score goals, and if he is successful in the first half of the season, then the Liverpool coaching staff may consider promoting him to play in the first team for a few games in the second half of the season.
It is difficult to say whether Yesil’s first season at Liverpool was a successful one because of his injury, so next season will be very important for Yesil and his future as a Liverpool player. But, if he scores like he has been doing since 2010, there is no reason why Yesil cannot be a regular first team striker in the future.
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