Now that 2012/13 is complete and the dust has settled, it’s time to try to assess exactly where Liverpool went right and wrong.
For a gentle introduction, I’ve used the info on statto.com to see how the Reds did in relation to both this seasons top six, and their own previous form in the Premier League, with regards to runs of good and bad results, clean sheets, and finding the back of the net. As with virtually everything associated with Liverpool FC this season, it’s a bit of a mixed bag.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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
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?
Often after an impressive Liverpool win, I post the stats from the match and the season as a whole, to demonstrate how well the Reds performed. However, as Luis Suárez became only the third Liverpool player to bag twenty goals in one season in the Premier League era with his hattrick against Wigan, I thought I’d take a closer look at how his record matches up to the club’s top scorers from seasons past.
Whilst a month is a purely arbitrary timeframe, as I stumbled across Liverpool’s figures (here), I thought it’d be interesting to plot them on a graph to see how the team has progressed. You can’t really draw many firm conclusions from this, but it’s another different way to try to assess the season so far.
After Liverpool’s last 5-0 win (over Norwich City), I wrote a quick post compiling the best stats from an excellent performance (which you can read here). As they have repeated the trick again today, it’d be rude not to credit them with another round up!
It has recently occurred to me that benchmarks or averages for a few key and/or interesting statistics in football all seem to fall in the range of seventy to eighty percent.
It’s probably just coincidence of course, but I thought I’d take a look to see how the Liverpool class of 2012/13 are faring.
Last April, I wrote an article looking at how ‘shot difference’ (shots for minus shots against) and ‘goal efficiency’ (conversion percentage of goals scored minus conversion percentage of goals conceded) can give a good indication of how well a team is controlling their games (and you can read it here).
I later read this post by James Grayson, which demonstrated what chance a team has of being either in the top four or relegated, based on their ‘total shot ratio’, which I also covered in the above mentioned piece. It’s interesting to note that the figures show that Liverpool have an 80% chance of qualifying for the Champions League this season; unfortunately they are clearly in the other 20%!
Now, thanks to an article on the Sky Sports website, I have the shots on target figures for the Premier League this season, so I can revisit my above article. The conclusions should be more robust, as ‘shots on target’ has a stronger correlation with success than ‘all shots’ does.
Online opinion on Liverpool’s chances of claiming a place in next season’s Champions League fluctuates back and forth with every victory or defeat.
Whilst the underlying consensus appears to be that the Reds don’t have a prayer, after results like last week’s 5-0 trouncing of Norwich, there are always a few optimists who stick their head above the parapet to talk up Liverpool’s chances.
I’ve taken a look at the stats of the seventeen teams who have finished fourth in the years since the Premier League first became a twenty club division, to see if Liverpool are even vaguely on course for a fourth place finish this season.
I was fascinated to see the independent referee assessing website ‘Debatable Decisions’ reveal on their website exactly which decisions they have awarded for and against each team in the Premier League so far this season.
As Liverpool are currently 19th in the division for ‘decisions’ difference (with their tally of five four but eleven against) I was keen to see the breakdown.
Following a 0-0 draw with Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium on Sunday, the Reds have now drawn seven of their thirteen league games. Having failed to score for the fourth time in this Premier League campaign, an unpleasant statistic is doing the rounds:
“Liverpool haven’t scored in the final fifteen minutes of a league game this season”
Whilst that is a worrying trend, and probably helps to explain why those seven draws haven’t been converted into wins, I think the statistic needs a little context.