I wrote a piece in September, looking at how much Liverpool had improved from 2012 to 2013. To recap, at the time of writing, the 2013 Liverpool were just four points behind the previous year’s total, with eighteen games in hand.
As the Reds have just finished the year in fifth place in the table, despite signing off with two defeats, I thought I’d revisit the figures to see just how much they have improved by.
For those of a nervous disposition, look away now. Here is the 2012 table for the big six clubs. Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers have a lot to answer for.
Ugh. Liverpool only won half as many points as their fiercest rivals, which was mainly down to the Reds logging only three fewer defeats than United, City and Chelsea combined. Liverpool also had the fewest clean sheets, and failed to score in almost one third of their matches. Their total of forty-six was a very midtable points tally, and no mistake.
The contrast with the 2013 league table could hardly be more pronounced.
Although the Reds have finished bottom of this particular pile once again, they are only just short of the main pack, having improved their points tally by a whopping fifty percent despite playing two fewer games. In fact, their points-per-game average has increased by fifty-eight percent, which is a fine achievement for twelve months of work.
The rest of Liverpool’s stats are broadly in line with those of their peers for the last year too. Rodgers’ men could certainly benefit from conceding a few less goals (though they did keep two more clean sheets than last year, having played two games less), but at the other end of the pitch things are looking fine.
Liverpool have scored the most, and are only two behind Manchester City in goal difference terms. The Reds have also roughly halved the frequency with which they fail to score, from once every three games to once every six.
The obvious unanswerable question from here is, can Liverpool kick on further under Brendan Rodgers? I guess at this stage there are two positives to take:
1) Liverpool have an easier fixture list in the second half of the season. In a mini-league of the top eight teams in the Premier League this season, the Reds have only played one home match so far, which is fewer than every other side. All of the big boys bar United still have to visit Anfield, which will greatly improve Liverpool’s chances of victory in the big clashes.
2) If the Reds can maintain their form from 2013 for the rest of this season, they will finish the season with seventy-one points, which is a shade above the 70.4 point average required for fourth place over the last five campaigns. I strongly suspect that more points will be required this season, but maintaining the status quo from here on should at least see Liverpool ‘in the conversation for fourth’, as Rodgers likes to say.
If 2014 shows even a very slight improvement on 2013, then the second half of the year could turn out to be very exciting and lucrative indeed.
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