Date: 8th September 2020 at 9:00am
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The much maligned Brandon Barker has shown early signs of recovery after being trusted by Steven Gerrard to cover for the injured Joe Aribo in the weeks leading up to the international break.

In a battle of the “eye test” against statistics it would seem that, although the intent is there, the 23-year old is yet to hit the same heights as fellow forward Ryan Kent, however, it may not be as straight forward as that.

Have the numbers changed your mind on Barker or does Gerrard need better?

Stick with him

Stick with him

Replace him

Replace him

On paper, he has no goals and no assists in his four league appearances, however, The Rangers Report – a football analyst account on Twitter – made some surprising revelations about just how productive he has really been this season.

Barker tops the charts for “scoring chance key passes per 90 minutes”, basically he is involved in setting chances up for his teammates but they aren’t converting them at the moment, added to this he is also high up on the “establishing passes per 90 minutes” which means that he is frequently playing the pass before the assist and being involved in the build up to goals.

The most telling statistic is that he is also right up at the top end of the table for “expected assists” meaning that over the course of a season – if he continues in the same vein – he should produce 14 assists in league games alone, if his teammates have their shooting boots on.

It is easier to see why Steven Gerrard is persisting with Barker when you have a deeper look into his performances, anyone can see that he is more confident with the number of times he has taken on – and beaten – his marker, however, by looking at his involvement on a statistical level, it’s clear that there is a player there, and that although he might not start every week, he should be trusted to contribute when he is called upon, however, a goal or two wouldn’t go a miss mind.