It’s fair to say that Dominic Solanke became somewhat of a divisive figure in his first season at Anfield.
There were many who criticised his finishing, failing to score his first goal in a red shirt until the final league game of the season. His first touch was often seen as being somewhat wayward, and for many there was just a frustration that we didn’t have a better backup than him.
Meanwhile, others pointed out his very impressive statistics, in which he delivered more expected goals and assists per 90 minutes than a certain Mohamed Salah. He earned himself the nickname “xGoalanke” for his exploits in continually producing strong expected numbers without the actual goals or assists to match.
The man himself, however, just wants to improve.
“I’ve got my first goal now so obviously [I want to] build on that”, Solanke told the official Liverpool website. “Get as many as I can this season and keep improving and help the team as much as I can”.
Solanke said all this after the drab 0-0 friendly draw with Bury, a game he didn’t seem all that enthused by.
“We always know that coming to places like this is going to be difficult for us and I think that showed today. But all the boys got another good run-out and it’s important to focus on that as well. Sometimes it takes a little bit longer to get into games if you’re changing teams, it can happen again in the second half”.
Solanke also touched on the new arrivals, saying that additions to the squad “always [give] you a boost, bringing news players in to help the squad. We had a really good run last year so hopefully they can help us a lot this year”.
While putting up big expected numbers is great, Solanke has to translate that into real goals and assists this season. That should hopefully come naturally, with these statistics generally being a good predictor of such future performance. The talent is all there, now he just needs to put it together.