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.
Here are the key stats:
– Reading play the fewest short passes per game, and the second most crosses in the Premier League this season.
– They play relatively few long balls though. Do they pass to the channels then cross, rather than a front-to-back hoof?
-The home side have won the 4th most aerial duels per game in the Premier League this season; Liverpool have won the second fewest.
– Reading have the lowest average possession in the top flight this season – 39.5%, and the lowest passing accuracy too (68.9%).
– 13% of their shots at home have been in the 6 yard box, a higher proportion than any other side. They also have the joint highest proportion of shots in the centre of the goal (71%). They are undoubtedly a direct side when attacking.
– The Royals average just three shots on target per home game, the joint fewest in the division. That said, that figure is tied with Stoke, who scored three against the Reds!
– Only Wigan have fewer home clean sheets than Reading this season. Liverpool have only failed to score twice on the road this season.
– Reading have given away the most shots and attempted the fewest tackles in England’s top division, so Liverpool will surely create plenty of chances.
– The Reds have the third best record away from home against bottom half teams, averaging 2.00 points per game. Reading average 1.13 points per game against top half teams this season.
– Luis Suárez has scored 41% of Liverpool’s away goals (12 of 29). No player in the Premier League has scored a higher proportion of their team’s goals on the road.
Based on Liverpool’s previous performances against similar teams this season, this’ll be a tough match for them. I’m confident that they’ll score, but Reading are one of the most direct teams out there, and Brendan Rodgers’ team (and often his tactics) have struggled with that all season.
I’ll stick my neck out for a 2-1 win, which would put Liverpool level with their points tally from last season with five left to play. Don’t let me down please, Reds.