Although Liverpool have earned nine points more in 2012/13 than they got from the corresponding fixtures last season, at no point yet has their points-per-game figure been ahead of the corresponding point last season.
That is very likely to soon change, which will surely indicate that Brendan Rodgers has improved upon the performance of his predecessor, Kenny Dalglish, and truly taken on the ‘torch’ of being Liverpool manager.
If the Reds avoid defeat against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend, then the points-per-game (ppg) figure will go above last season for the first time. In a worst case scenario of a defeat to Gareth Bale and co, the ppg will still be level with last year:
|Match||2012/13 PPG||2011/12 PPG||Difference|
In fact, matches 29-32 only yielded one point in total last season, so whatever happens on Sunday, Rodgers will surely sneak ahead of the curve soon. Interestingly, a win against Spurs would put Rodgers ahead of Dalglish’s league ppg for his entire second tenure in charge (so also including Kenny’s fabulous caretaker spell from 2010/11 too).
Saturday’s win over Wigan left Liverpool in an interesting position with regards to their remaining fixtures in another way too.
As the Reds are now nine points up on last season’s corresponding fixtures, if they replicate their results from last season in the remaining fixtures then they would finish on sixty-one points, which is only seven below the average required for fourth. That’s pretty good for year one of a new project, in my opinion.
Looking at the results required to achieve this, aside from beating Chelsea at home the rest appear eminently achievable. I’d also expect Liverpool to pick up something for their combined efforts away at Reading, Newcastle and Fulham this year too.
Here are the remaining fixtures, with the points earned from the same fixtures last year:
|Date||Home||Away||Pts Last Season|
|Apr-06||Liverpool||West Ham United||3|
|May-19||Liverpool||Queens Park Rangers||3|
The optimist in me is actually wondering if the Reds can remain unbeaten for the rest of the season. If they avoid defeat against Spurs I’d say it’s a distinct possibility at least.
With regards to Rodgers improving upon last season’s performance, I’ve also been pondering the ‘Dalglish got better cup results’ angle, which is a mainstay of the pro-Kenny argument.
Whilst it is definitely true that the King performed better in the cups, and the matches were against by-and-large harder opponents, Rodgers has had to play one extra cup game (even if you discount the qualifiers with Gomel as pre-season), with further on average to travel (most notably in two trips to Russia) and his team has had less rest following the majority of the cup games.
I’ve totted up the average time both before and after every cup game in the last two seasons: Rodgers has had slightly longer after his previous game prior to cup matches (4.5 days as opposed to 4.3 for Dalglish), but has had less time afterwards until the next fixture (3.8 vs 4.3), giving a combined total of 8.3 for Rodgers and 8.6 for Dalglish. Not a huge amount in it perhaps, but worth considering nonetheless.
I loved the League Cup triumph last year (I was fortunate enough to attend the final), and I will always want Liverpool to do well in cup competitions, but barring a complete collapse in the league in the next two months, this season will have definitely been better than last for the long term future of the club.
The torch has been passed; it’s now time for Rodgers to run with it to prove me right.