After Luis Suárez demolished Norwich City yet again, with four goals and an assist in Liverpool’s 5-1 win at Anfield, it seemed only right to share a few of the fabulous stats from an incredible performance.
On the face of it, the headline stats suggested that this was a fairly even contest. You wouldn’t expect to lose a match 3-1 when you’ve had 61.5% of the possession, created seven chances to your opponents’ six, had an equal number of shots on target (four), and only three fewer shots in total. Yet looking deeper into the numbers reveals where the issues were.
I wasn’t planning to write a preview for this match, but as I found myself tweeting a barrage of pre-match stats this morning, I thought I’d collect them here to see how many of them come to pass in the match this afternoon. Here we go…
I must stress immediately that this is in no way an in-depth or robust statistical analysis. However, I ran some numbers on how many goals Suarez and Sturridge might score in the league this season based on their form so far, and as the findings made my mouth water, I figured they were worth sharing.
After a frenetic, see-sawing Merseyside derby (which was Liverpool’s highest scoring league draw since the 4-4 with Arsenal at Anfield in 2009), I guess the most important facts from a Liverpool perspective are that they now have four points more than they had from the corresponding fixtures last season, seventy points from the last thirty-eight league games, and have only had more than twenty-four points from the first twelve games four times in the Premier League era.
Brendan Rodgers has now taken the same amount of league points (eighty-five) as Kenny Dalglish did in his second tenure, but in six fewer games. Overall, the Reds are doing pretty well.
I was delighted to be asked to take part in the first ever Anfield Index podcast this week (which you can listen to here), so I put some effort in and researched some stats on how Everton have swiftly evolved since Roberto Martinez took over from David Moyes in the summer, to use on the show.
Ahead of the derby on Saturday, it’s interesting to see how several of the Toffees’ numbers now read like those of Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool team, whilst at the same time the Ulsterman has moved his Reds side in a slightly different direction.
Liverpool cemented their place in the top four with a comprehensive 4-0 win over an abject Fulham side at Anfield on Saturday. The problem with such victories is that you inevitably have naysayers suggesting that the Reds should be winning such games as a matter of course, so what does it really prove?
Having looked at Liverpool’s record against the bottom half of the Premier League since 1992, I can confidently state that sweeping aside the strugglers consistently is far more difficult than you might think.
After a match up between two of the Premier League’s best teams for chance quality at the Emirates Stadium last weekend, this week sees teams at opposite ends of the spectrum meet at Anfield, when Fulham visit Liverpool on Saturday afternoon.
Although the Cottagers have been clinical in a couple of areas of the pitch, by and large their chance creation this season (both for and against) has been something of a horror show. The Reds will surely have enough in their armoury to win the match, and the below explains why.
The original version of this article appeared in These Turbulent Times, and the stats (sourced from EPLIndex) were correct up to 29 March 2013. I’ve now updated it to include all of last season so that it covers 1,900 matches worth of data in total, and re-written parts of the article accordingly.
I have read a couple of very interesting statistics with regards to the bearing that having more shots on target (SoT) than your opponent has upon winning football matches. On 24th February, The Guardian advised us:
Of the 181 games won in the Premier League before last weekend, the team who had the most possession only won 103 – 57% in total. The team who had more shots on target than their opponents won 128 matches – 71% of the total.
Then this article, which used a larger sample of 987 matches, chipped in with:
Winning the SoT battle in non-drawn games, results in a team winning that fixture 71.73% of the time and losing the fixture 19.35% of the time.
It seems pretty conclusive; have more shots on target than your opponent, and you’ll win around 71% of the time (when excluding drawn matches). This isn’t in itself that surprising, but it’s valuable to be able to quantify it from a performance monitoring point of view all the same.
But a thought occurred to me; you could win the SoT battle by anything from one in a close game performance-wise to potentially any number (and for the record, Liverpool’s best figure since August 2008 has been twelve on two occasions). Surely accounting for this differential might provide an even better guide than simply who had more shots on target?
Where are Liverpool at the moment? Did anyone truly believe that they are realistic title contenders? I suspect that if they did before this match, then they probably don’t anymore.
Yet as much as the result was disappointing, there were some crumbs of comfort to take from Liverpool’s performance.
I don’t post these round ups every week as there’s not always much of note worth sharing, but as I spotted a few interesting firsts and other bits and bobs this week, I thought it was worth posting them here.
A guest blog! Scott Mason offers his opinion on Liverpool’s hopes for this season. Have a read and all feedback will be most welcome in the comments below.
Having enjoyed watching Liverpool’s match at St James Park, I felt afterwards that the Reds had played reasonably well, albeit it was something of a missed opportunity not to win having faced only ten men for half of the game.
I was therefore surprised to log on to a Twitter timeline full of very strong criticism for the performance. I know I can be guilty of over-relying on the stats to assess how Liverpool play, but the numbers certainly demonstrate that Brendan Rodgers’ team did quite a bit right.
Last season, using data obtained from WhoScored, I wrote an article which looked at whether or not Brendan Rodgers was tactically flexible in 2012/13; the evidence suggested he was, and you can read the piece here.
The aforementioned stats website has the formation data, including results, dating back to 2009/10, so I have now compiled Liverpool’s statistics for the previous four seasons to see which set up has provided them with the best results. The answer may surprise you.
Liverpool’s lunchtime match against Newcastle United on Saturday could represent something of a watershed moment for Brendan Rodgers and his quest to get the Reds into the Champions League.
Liverpool returned to the top of the Premier League with a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace at Anfield. The problems that have dogged the Reds this season were evident though, as they delivered a below par performance in the second half of the match as usual.
In their seven league matches in 2013/14, Liverpool have yet to trail at the half time break, leading in six and drawing the other. In view of this, it’s not surprising that they’ve been on the back foot in the second period as they have had something to protect rather than a game to chase.
Viewed through this reality, I’m going to show that they’ve had better control of their second halves than you might think.
As a Liverpool fan, I get caught up in lots of online debate about whether Lucas Leiva is a good defensive midfielder or not.
This post is not my attempt to answer that question, but rather a look at what constitutes a tackle won or a tackle lost, because this is one aspect of the Lucas debate that regularly gets brought up, as he attempts more tackles than any other player in the Premier League.
In my opinion people who use the figures don’t always understand what they actually mean in terms of football statistics (and I’ll happily admit I have been guilty of this myself in the past), so I think it’s important to try to clear it up from a general football analytics point of view; this post raises further questions, so certainly shouldn’t be viewed as definitive.
What do these ten league results from Brendan Rodgers’ tenure have in common?
Regular readers will know that I am compiling chance quality stats for the whole Premier League this season (but if this is news to you, please read the introductory piece), and so it’s time for the latest weekly round up.
As well as a look at who did well and who didn’t this week, I’ll also see if this data can shed any light on the decision by Sunderland to dismiss Paolo Di Canio.