Leighton Baines v Jose Enrique – Statistical Showdown.

The role of the fullback in modern football as the most important position on the pitch is a view regularly put forward by this blog. Last season I rambled about this in great length in a comparative study of our own left sided marauder Leighton Baines and the league’s premier  fullbacks Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra. In Saturday’s Merseyside derby another left back, Liverpool’s Jose Enrique, a player that embodies the key attributes of the modern fullback, will be on show. This short post will look at the strengths and weaknesses of Baines and his opposite number Enrique;  a player who interestingly enough was bought by Sam Allardyce at Newcastle after the portly former Toon boss  failed in an attempt to sign his number one target  Leighton Baines from Wigan.


This season Enrique has made more tackles and clearances per game than Baines. Last season Enrique had a better tackle completion (81%) than Baines (74%). Last season, Enrique was also culpable for fewer mistakes which directly led to goals (1) than Baines (2)  Baines has made more interceptions than Enrique this campaign (Everton have recorded the highest interceptions per game in the league so far)   Last season, Baines  won more 50/50 challenges ( 55% v 51% ) than his Liverpool opponent. On aerial challenges last term Baines  also won comfortably 63% to Enrique’s 32%.


Enrique has averaged more passes and more dribbles per game so far this campaign. This is an area Enrique bossed last season also, recording 65 to Baines 26.   Despite Everton averaging more long balls per game than Liverpool, Enrique has averaged more long balls per game than Baines. Everton’s no.3 is also fouled more than Enrique.

The Blues fullback’s trademark is his crossing – last season his cross completion was slightly better than Enrique. In terms of creating goal scoring chances for colleagues, Baines has led the way this season as he did last season when he managed 74 which led to 11 assists, with Enrique creating 30 with just 1 assist.


 Both men will be key players come Saturday. Enrique’s quality lies in his ability to beat his man, strength in the tackle with a slight weakness being his ability aerially. Baines qualities lie in his superb range of delivery through crosses and dead balls. His ambition in getting forward has been targeted by opposition manages in recent seasons, specifically in counter attacking situations and would be his principal weakness.

Many thanks to opta and whoscored.com for the statistics used in this article.


10 thoughts on “Leighton Baines v Jose Enrique – Statistical Showdown.

  1. Richard, you plank! Baines is by far the better player,and in my opinion was the best left-back in the prem last season, and I’m not biased,as I’m a Torquay supporter

    • @ Bill. What possible difference does that make? Considering Enrique is now surrounded by better players, HE will become even better!

  2. the facts are there for all to see Enrique is a far better defender apart from headers which is not a major factor in a left backs game. Baines is marginally better at crosses which is not a major factor for LFC when you have downing on the wing . Enrique distributes the ball better and is far more successful at getting past players and can recover to defend which Baines can’t. @Bill As for who has been at the club longer , i have to say what has that got to do with ability. if anything all it proves is that Enrique could get even better once fully settled into the LFC side which means they wont even bother with comparisons as Baines wont get better than he is now unless he moves teams of course(which looking at evertons situation might happen along with a few others as well).

  3. Typical prose from a HillBilly

    Going by your picture your the HillBilly.

    Do you ever get to the game? Liverpool have not been playing well this season. They drew with Sunderland (who have just been beaten by Norwich), got hammered by Spurs and beaten by Stoke (Liverpool were also very lucky to get 3 points from Wolves, who dominated most of the second half), all this from a side who have spent a staggering 100 million on new players. Now back to the Baines v Enrique, put both of them on the market at the same price and I can guarantee there would be far more takers for Baines than Enrique. I also know for a fact that Liverpool wanted Baines ahead of Enrique, but they knew he’d cost to much, and the fact that Baines has already stated he’d wouldn’t play for Liverpool,which ultimately put them off. I don’t take much notice of stats, because they vary depending on who does them, but the one’s on show say Baines created 11 assists last season to Enrique 1, he’s better in the air, and he wins more 50/50. Baines does get back and defend,but maybe not as good as Enrique. Now Enrique may be able to dribble and beat his man, but going by these stats he doesn’t do much once he’s done it, as he only has one assist to his name (last season). Your really should do your homework

  4. weak answer there. enrique has a higher pass completion rate so he obviously uses the ball well as for assists baines would be higher as he takes free kicks for everton. he cant get back and defend hence the comparison above .And you know nothing about LFC transfers for a fact Lfc targeted Enrique last season before any Baines stories come out as for Baines saying he wouldnt go to Lfc we would not of payed what Efc were asking for a defender who cant defend. and as for the comments on our results we are 5th where are everton???????????. its a sinking ship and baines will desert it and so will any player with any sense in the squad. hillbilly is American im not American. im a scouser.

  5. And you know nothing about LFC transfers for a fact Lfc targeted Enrique last season before any Baines stories come out as for Baines saying he wouldnt go to Lfc we would not of payed what Efc were asking for a defender who cant defend

    Going by these stats Baines tackling is only 7% less effective, so I wouldn’t say he can’t defend, and Baines is a goal threat, where’s Enrigue is most defently not, and I think you’ll find Arteta took most of Everton free kicks (when fit). You can believe all you want, but I know Liverpool wanted Baines. Liverpool may lie 5th, but they’ve played a extra game, so don’t count your chicken yet numb nuts. Like I said, if they both went on the market for the same price, there would be far more offers for Baines than Enrique (I don’t remember Liverpool fighting off other teams for Enrique’s signature, and he only cost 6 million),and before you start having digs at Everton for losing players, just remember, Liverpool are no longer the team they were, they’re just a stepping stone to better things, just ask Torres and Meireles.

    Is Bill American? Your the one who started this HillBilly shit

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