Kostas Tsimikas limited Adama Traore to year-long low ahead of Liverpool transfer

Kostas Tsimikas took on one of the Premier League’s most difficult opponents in what looks to be his final match before his transfer to Liverpool, and the Greek international fared pretty well.

The left-back is expected to complete a move to Anfield in the coming days after the Reds agreed a deal worth around £12million with Olympiakos for the 24-year-old.

Liverpool sporting director Michael Edwards met with Olympiakos general manager Lina Souloukou before the Greek club’s Europa League tie against Wolves at Molineux last Thursday, a match that the Premier League side won 1-0 to advance to the last eight of the competition in Germany 2-1 on aggregate.

But despite his side’s defeat, Tsimikas emerged with credit for the way he dealt with the dangerous Adama Traore.



Tsimikas fared well when taking on Traore last week

The wide man has been one of the liveliest attackers in the Premier League this season, and notably caused Liverpool problems on both occasions that he faced the Reds in 2019/20.

In January, Traore often tormented Reds left-back Andy Robertson and was successful with 15 of his 17 attempted dribbles down the Wolves right, with one leading to an assist for Raul Jiminez’s equaliser.

Robertson even later admitted that the winger had “ripped him apart” during the game.

Liverpool eventually won 2-1 on their way to the Premier League title thanks to Roberto Firmino’s late strike, but many seasoned Reds observers claim that Traore gave the Reds one of their toughest tests of the season.



Robertson struggled against Traore in January

A month prior to that, the Spanish under-21 international came off the bench for the final 37 minutes at Anfield in a game Liverpool won 1-0 thanks to a Sadio Mane goal.

Despite not being on for long, Traore still attempted seven dribbles and was heavily involved in the action.

Jurgen Klopp had singled him out before the game, saying: “(He is) a big, big talent. You would never have thought he is that young, but he is still very young, and now he has found it (the right manager). It was always clear it would happen one day, and now it has. Good for Wolves!



Klopp has confirmed that he is a big fan of the winger

“He is really dangerous. In a big space Jamie Vardy is difficult to defend, but I would say Traore is even more difficult to defend because his speed is exceptional.”

So given how difficult he knows Traore is to handle, Klopp would doubtless have been impressed with Tsimikas at Molineux.

Although it wasn’t always down to him, the 24-year-old helped limit Traore to just two successful dribbles from his eight attempted during his 65 minutes on the pitch.

That 25 per cent success rate is the winger’s lowest in terms of successful dribbles since posting the same number of two successes from eight against Burnley in August last year.



Tsimkas helped restrict Traore to his lowest dribble success rate for a year

Although it could be argued that the number was affected by only being on the pitch for just over an hour, Traore has recently posted better numbers during cameo appearances (67 per cent success in 24 minutes vs Everton, and 83 per cent in 36 minutes vs Aston Villa).

Indeed, it was partly due to the defensive efforts of Tsimikas that Traore ended up being substituted, with Wolves boss Nuno looking notably frustrated with his efforts.

So in terms of an introduction into the Premier League, the defender – who has also been on a winning side against Arsenal this season – has already come through one of the division’s toughest tests.

It will be an even tougher one to oust Robertson, but he at least looks to have the tools to succeed.

Stats courtesy of Wyscout

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