Moneyball guru Billy Beane hails approach of Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli

American commends the Premier League club for getting value for money from new signings, and says Reds were right to invest in young talent as they are cost-effective
Billy Beane, whose statistical approach revolutionised baseball, has commended Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli for using a similar method.

Under Beane’s stewardship, the Oakland Athletics overachieved immensely, with the story now having been adapted into a Hollywood movie starring Brad Pitt.

Comolli was the first person in European football to contact the American and the two are now friends, sharing thoughts on each other’s games.

“The world is so small now and myself and Damien have become close friends,” Beane said to The Daily Mirror.

“I don’t offer Damien advice but I will send him my opinions and he will shoot me straight whether I was right or wrong.

“I root for Damien, I root for Liverpool owner John Henry.”

The Reds have spent heavily on young players since Fenway Sports Group, who also own the Boston Red Sox baseball club, took over the Merseyside outfit last year, and Beane believes that approach is a wise one.

“You know why they sign younger players? The reason is because they are cost-effective,” Beane explained.

“They may cost more to acquire, but their wages are lower. With an older player you may be paying for past performance, whereas with a younger player you are paying for future performance.

“It is like stock. Young players are attractive because they are cheaper and offer more value. They may not be as good, but if they perform at a certain level it makes more sense financially.”

Beane rejected the suggestion that spending a reported £20 million on the 21-year-old Jordan Henderson from Sunderland goes against those principles.

“There is a misconception that you never pay much for anybody, that is not true at all,” he insisted.

“You want to make sure you are getting more value than you are paying.

“That may come in the form of a very expensive player it may come in the form of a very young player, but it is not about being cheap or not spending money.

“It is about getting the most out of your dollar, or pound.”

Henderson’s arrival, along with Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing, was motivated primarily by statistics, with all three in the Premier League’s top eight chance creators last season.

Comolli had revealed the importance of statistics in his work after signing Luis Suarez from Ajax in January.

“For Luis, I looked at the stats over the last three years, notably the number of games played which is an important factor - we turn enormously toward players who don’t get injured,” the director told France Football at the time.

“We also took into account the number of assists, his performances against the big teams, against the smaller clubs, in the European Cup, the difference between goals scored at home and away.”

The approach appears to be paying off so far, with Suarez having scored nine goals and racked up eight assists in his first 22 games for Liverpool.