I have written an appreciation of Jamie Carragher for The Tomkins Times, and it is a free read to all (whereas TTT is mostly a subscription site) so head over there and have a read of it here.
Earlier in the season, I wrote an article looking at how unfairly referees had been treating Liverpool. Although the league campaign was only six games old, Brendan Rodgers had already felt compelled to mention in an interview how the Reds were not getting the rub of the green from officials, and that prompted my earlier investigation.
The bad news is, it is still not any better, and at the business end of the season, the cost of the errors by refs is looking increasingly expensive.
Liverpool’s defence will need some major reconstruction during the summer; Jamie Carragher is retiring, and both Martin Skrtel and Sebastian Coates appear to be decidedly out of favour.
If you believe what you read, then Ashley Williams of Brendan Rodgers’ former club Swansea City is the primary target, and looking at his stats on WhoScored, it’s easy to see why.
The Welsh international is ranked sixth in the Premier League for interceptions per game, fourth for clearances per game, and top for blocked shots per game; in many ways, he’s exactly what Liverpool are looking for.
But he wouldn’t be cheap; the Swans trousered £15m when Joe Allen moved to Anfield last season, and no doubt the Capital One Cup holders would look for a similar amount for Williams. I have therefore looked at the defensive stats for Europe’s big five leagues on WhoScored to try to find the Reds a bargain.
As rumours continue to circulate that Pepe Reina might be leaving Liverpool, I thought I’d look at the form of potential replacements who I have seen rumoured could be signing for the Reds (with the obvious priviso that some of the deals will probably have a cat-in-hell’s chance of actually happening!). I’ve also included Brad Jones, as he signed a new contract this season and so will presumably remain with the Reds in 2013/14.
After a fairly dour derby stalemate at Anfield, it has proven difficult to find much of interest to write about, and I do like to try to assess as many Liverpool games as I can.
Whilst the Reds now have six clean sheets in their last ten games (tick), their failure to score meant they had their third 0-0 in the last five matches (cross). There was only five shots on target in total, so it isn’t much of a shock that both teams drew a blank.
So I thought I’d look at which team dominated the percentage of shots in the box as the match progressed. Long-term this will require further investigation (perhaps in the quieter summer months!) to see how relevant it is, but when I compiled the figures it appeared to illustrate the flow of the game pretty well.
I know what you’re thinking; why on earth would anybody compare two teams over a fifty-one game period?
Fear not, there is method in my madness. Ahead of the Merseyside derby on Sunday, Liverpool have played fifty-one games in all competitions this season. This just so happens to be the total number of matches they completed in 2011/12. So how do the records compare?
Back in February, I wrote an article that looked at how Liverpool’s creativity level had increased once Daniel Sturridge had started playing for them (and you can read it here). Now that Philipe Coutinho has his feet firmly under the Anfield table, the figures show that the Reds have kicked on again in creative terms.
Not only that, but the twenty year old Brazilian from Inter Milan is also outperforming the Premier League’s great-and-good with regards to the creation of clear-cut goalscoring opportunities on an individual level.
Whenever the Reds have a big win I like to summarise the key statistics, and their emphatic victory at St James Park is no exception!
As a statto whose tactical knowledge is rather limited, I find the task of trying to assess which manager in a match had the better of the tactical war a fascinating subject.
I will always rely on the key match numbers to try to determine who dominated a game irrespective of the result, but who do you award the tactical match up to, when such things come down to opinion rather than fact?
Now that Luis Suárez’ season is almost certainly over, and the world and his wife are lining up to denounce him from all angles, I thought I’d take a look at how he has improved statistically this season.
The headline statistic is twenty-three league goals scored instead of eleven, and thirty goals in all competitions, to become only the second Liverpool player (after Fernando Torres in his debut season) to reach the mark since Robbie Fowler did so in 1995/96.
But how exactly has Suárez doubled his goalscoring productivity in the league in only a few extra games?
Prior to last weekend’s fixtures, I saw a tweet from WhoScored, which stated:
Liverpool: Have had more shots (611) than any other team in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season, ahead of Real Madrid (582) & Juventus (577)
Sounds impressive, no? Over one hundred retweets at the time of writing certainly suggests so. But as the Reds laboured to a 0-0 draw away at Reading, the Premier League’s current worst club, it became clear that shots alone are not enough.
I’ve taken a look at the stats for the season so far, to see if they can offer any clues as to how the match will pan out. They suggest Liverpool will likely face a challenge they’ve not coped well with so far under Brendan Rodgers.
As Liverpool’s season appears to be petering out, there is lots of talk online that perhaps FSG hired the wrong man last summer, or indeed that they shouldn’t have fired Kenny Dalglish in the first place.
I’m going to look at if Liverpool have improved on last season, and also at the form of the other names that were in the frame to be appointed as manager at Anfield last summer, to try to see if Rodgers really is the right man to lead Liverpool forward.
Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with West Ham left quite a lot to be desired, and was greeted with the expected disdain online, and no doubt in and around Anfield too.
Whilst it was certainly a disappointing result, I was interested to see on statto.com that the Reds’ form over the last five months has actually been very encouraging indeed.
Whilst listening to this week’s The Anfield Wrap podcast (which I thoroughly recommend, and you can download here), I found myself nodding along with their discussion regarding Liverpool’s continual failure to prevent crosses. Mike Girling, one of the podcast’s regulars, noted:
“It’s an obvious tactic that opposing teams are taking with us (Liverpool) now, is to play the ball out wide early as our full backs don’t press, man to man, against a wide player. I’ve never known a team as easy to cross against as us. We never seem to stop the cross coming in”.
I was in complete agreement with him. Until I looked up the figures, that is; I only realised today that WhoScored have the figures for how many and what kind of pass teams face from their opponents, so I have compiled the figures for every team in the Premier League. Continue reading
Before I start, a confession: I’m a tactical ignoramus. I understand the basic logic of a 4-4-2, and I’ve read ‘Inverting The Pyramid’, but that’s as far as it goes.
What follows is a presentation of info that I researched via WhoScored; I don’t have the knowledge to verify how accurate it is. However, I thought it was interesting and therefore worth sharing.
During Liverpool’s 2-1 win at Villa Park on Sunday, I was surprised to hear the co-commentator Alan Smith award the man of the match honour to Steven Gerrard.
Sure, the Liverpool captain scored the winner (which was his second in three league games after three-and-a-half years without one) and acrobatically cleared a goal bound shot off the line, but overall I felt he didn’t contribute as much as Jordan Henderson did.
The Tomkins Times run a stats round up after every match (the latest of which you can read here, if you’re a subscriber), where they list the top three Liverpool performers for various stats. Surprisingly, Henderson didn’t feature anywhere, so it seems his performance was based on a solid performance in a variety of areas, rather than shining in one.
Liverpool travel to the West Midlands on Sunday looking to avenge the 3-1 home defeat that Aston Villa inflicted on them in December. I wrote a preview of the match (which you can read here if you’re so inclined) which looked at the stats for the two teams’ campaigns so far. The numbers suggested a comfortable home win was likely.
The problem is, so did the actual stats from the match, yet the Reds were 0-3 down at home for the first time in eighteen years and were soundly beaten. Is there therefore really any value in looking at football stats?
I read a very interesting article by Ben Pugsley (who you can follow on Twitter here) which looked at the scoring percentage and shooting efficiency of the top ten strikers in the Premier League this season.
I thought I’d use the shot placement data from EPLIndex to see if it could explain a couple of points in the article, as well as digging into the improved goal scoring record of Luis Suárez whilst I was at it.
It recently occurred to me that Liverpool have dropped a lot of points this season by conceding goals from set pieces, West Brom’s opener in their win at Anfield being the most recent example. It’s also a well established truth that the Reds are poor at attacking set plays too; there was a ‘Pool fanzine in the 1980′s called ‘Another Wasted Corner’, after all.
I therefore thought I’d check how the Reds have fared at both ends of the pitch in comparison to their Premier League rivals this season, to establish if they actually are particularly weak in this area.
Thoughts on the global game, usually from a tactical view.
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A football blog revolving around numbers. Focus often on Liverpool F.C.
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