Alberto Aquilani’s temporary spell in Italy appears to be at an end as the latest twist in his club status has seen Juventus pass up the opportunity to sign the midfielder.
The Italian’s arrival at Anfield in 2009 was quickly treated with caution as he struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League. Failing to secure a series of consistent performances, Aquilani became a bit-part player during Rafa Benitez’s reign, and all the signs pointed to a wasted £17 million.
Roy Hodgson did little to appease that season in his initial stages as Liverpool boss. After taking part in a few of his side’s pre-season fixtures, the Italian was shipped back off to Serie A.
The 26-year-old was handed a regular starting role in Turin as he made 33 appearances. But his underwhelming statistics hint that he may not have a pivotal role to play upon his return to Liverpool next season.
The midfielder netted just twice in the league last term and averaged 1.3 shots, which works out at a ratio of a goal every 21 strikes in league action. In Juventus’s regular 4-4-2 system, Aquilani also made just 1.15 key passes per game, which would put him around the same mark as Maxi Rodriguez, while being far behind both Steven Gerrard and Raul Meireles.
Strangely, as being alongside Felipe Melo in central midfield, Aquilani is meant to be the more attacking of the duo, but the Italian’s tackles per game average of three was higher than any other Juventus player and only bettered out of Liverpool’s midfield by the defensive Lucas Leiva. His 1.5 interception rate is also respectable for a player who concentrates more on a side’s attack.
Aquilani also registered a solid 82% pass accuracy, while his five successful-long-ball-per-game also indicates an ability to match Gerrard with his distribution range. The Italian was also dispossessed just once per game last term.
It’s difficult to envisage Liverpool ever obtaining a significant return on their £17m outlay two years ago. Kenny Dalglish remains adamant, however, that Aquilani still has a role to play at Anfield. The stats suggest the Italian could potentially contribute in a more influential way by playing in a deeper midfield role, whilst leaving the attacking aspects to Dirk Kuyt, Meireles and Gerrard.