Gregor Robertson has claimed that Wolves striker Matheus Cunha would be playing for Liverpool if he were more ruthless in front of goal.
The 24-year-old left the Reds off the hook during the first half of Saturday’s Premier League clash at Molineux when, with the home side 1-0 up and the visitors playing dreadfully, he missed a gilt-edged chance to score after being brilliantly set up by Pedro Neto.
It proved to be a costly miss as Jurgen Klopp’s side came back to win, and the ex-Rotherham defender – who now contributes as a writer to multiple publications – said that the £60,000-per-week Brazilian (Capology) has plenty of good attributes but is lacking when it comes to his finishing.
Robertson told The Game Football Podcast: “If Cunha could put the ball in the back of the net he’d be playing for Man United or Liverpool.
“It’s true; he’s such a good ball carrier, he’s really direct, and exciting to watch, but he’s missed a lot of chances already this season, and you struggle to see where the goals are coming from.”
The statistics from Cunha’s career indicate that misses such as the one against Liverpool on Saturday aren’t a wholly rare occurrence. As per FBref, he’s underperformed on his xG throughout his career by 6.37; and during his time at Wolves he’s hit the target with just 11 of his 38 shots (29%).
In 25 appearances so far for the Old Gold, his goal tally stands at three, and he’s started in most of those games rather than having to rely primarily on piecemeal minutes as a substitute (Transfermarkt).
As Robertson says, there’s plenty to like about the 24-year-old’s game. He averages 2.5 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, placing him among the top 3% of forwards in Europe’s five main leagues for that metric (FBref).
He also works diligently out of possession, with match averages of 0.66 interceptions and 1.22 blocks putting him among the top 6% of positional peers in Europe for both attributes (FBref).
Those are all traits that managers would like to see in players, but centre-forwards will ultimately be judged by how often they put the ball into the net. In that regard, Cunha has left a lot to be desired, and any theoretical hope of him displacing Darwin Nunez at Liverpool would be farfetched.