Rewind, for a moment, from the disappointment of Liverpool’s loss to Nottingham Forest. It was in the 21st minute at Anfield that we saw one Darwin Núñez plant a wonderfully-placed header into the corner of Łukasz Fabiański’s goal to give Liverpool the lead against West Ham.
Núñez will have gained most of the plaudits for the header, but it wouldn’t have been possible without the cross from Kostas Tsimikas, in what is fast becoming his trademark.
Tsimikas’ crossing ability is arguably his greatest asset, and the Greek defender is leading the Liverpool charts in a particular metric. The 26-year-old is top of the mountain for number of minutes per assist in the entire Premier League era.
In terms of players with at least 10 assists for the club, Tsimikas leads the way with an assist every 232 minutes. The next closest is, surprisingly, former winger Jermaine Pennant on 286.
This season, the Núñez header gave Tsimikas his fifth assist of the season in all competitions, all the more impressive considering he’s only played 609 minutes of football to date.
Speaking after the win against the Hammers, Tsimikas relayed how happy he is with his current form, saying: “It’s a very good moment for me, especially because the goal was a cross for Darwin. I wanted to assist him.”
“I’m very, very happy for him, because I know he wanted to score also,” he added.
Best mins/assist rates in all comps for #LFC in the Premier League era (10+ assists since 92-93):— Michael Reid (@michael_reid11) October 20, 2022
⭐️232 – K Tsimikas⭐️
286 – J Pennant
323 – V Smicer
329 – T Alexander-Arnold
346 – C Bellamy
346 – P Coutinho
348 – R Firmino
354 – M Salah
364 – S McManaman
367 – A Robertson
“I’m very, very happy for that. Every day I work on it, to make better crosses and to have better performances.”
Tsimikas’ development over the last 12 months has been nothing short of remarkable. And now he’s afforded Jürgen Klopp the luxury of having two very strong left-backs fighting for one position.
Andy Robertson’s form has been up and down over the past year, and Tsimikas has stepped into the breach when the Scottish defender has been unavailable or in need of a rest. Such has been Tsimikas’ form that Robertson, whisper it quietly, hasn’t been missed a great deal.
Indeed, the Scot was restored for the Nottingham Forest game, a match in which Liverpool looked depressingly blunt in attack. Naturally, the blame does not fall squarely at Robertson’s door, but nor was he able to make a telling contribution.
This season, Robertson only has three assists in all competitions, despite playing 190 more minutes of football than Tsimikas. But rather than letting it become a major issue, the manager can simply continue to rotate, and to pick based on form.
That’s a contrast to the right side, where Klopp has a less welcome headache. With Trent Alexander-Arnold out of form and players like Joe Gomez and James Milner the only viable deputies, there is no obvious way out of the conundrum. On the left, the manager can feel confident knowing he has two quality left-backs and has full confidence in both, no matter who he picks.
The goal, for every position on the pitch, is to have a Tsimikas-Robertson scenario. Of course, this isn’t possible (unless one has Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain money), but at least left-back is secure.
And as the season wears on, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tsimikas break into double figures for assists, laying on more headed goals for Núñez. For a player who hardly featured in his first season, with the bargain basement £11m deal looking like a rare Liverpool transfer mistake, this would be quite the feat.