In January 2012, Liverpool travelled to the Etihad Stadium, and promptly returned along the M62 afterwards with their tails between their legs having been comfortably beaten.
On Sunday, the Reds will make the same journey, and believe it or not, the statistics from their 3-0 defeat suggest that Brendan Rodgers’ side do have a chance of returning home with all three points.
For starters, Liverpool restricted City to just 36% of the possession, which was a long way below their home average last season of 59.8%.
The Reds completed 86% of their passes (511 out of 593), whilst their hosts were accurate with 256 out of 331 (77%). It’s worth noticing that Liverpool completed 180 more passes than City even attempted. The champions had the highest pass accuracy at home in the Premier League last season at 87.2%, but they were not able to maintain this average against Kenny Dalglish’s men.
Similarly, in the final third of the pitch, Liverpool completed 159 out of 204 attempted passes (78%) against a Manchester City side that registered a measly 55 out of 95 (58%). This was roughly half of their average of 175 final third passes per match in the last campaign.
In terms of creativity, the home side mustered eight chances with one clear-cut opportunity; the Reds created nine with a pair of clear-cut chances. Up top it was six shots on target a piece, despite Liverpool being unable to call upon Luis Suárez thanks to his ban (and the Reds are unbeaten in three against Citywhen the Uruguayan plays) and one of the Citizens’ accurate shots was from the penalty spot.
The obvious assumption ahead of the latest match is that Liverpool will likely take a beating again. Yet City’s three goals last season were a soft goal from distance due to an error by Pepe Reina, a header from a corner that could easily have been avoided, and a penalty. Yet the statistics clearly show that in many ways the Reds dominated the match.
I’m not going to get my hopes up, or claim that Liverpool will win easily, but based on the above I think Liverpool can go to play the champions with their heads held high (especially after a decent performance away at Arsenal), and give it a good go.
Related articles you might like:
It’s A Rich Man’s World: Liverpool vs Man City – A simple graph to show the gulf in transfer spending between the two clubs.
The Trouble With Statistics – A comparison of the stats from Liverpool’s matches with West Brom and Man City. Which one did they lose 3-0?