This page contains all of the pass combination heatmaps from this seasons league campaign, as well as relevant observations. All constructive feedback will be most welcome in the comments section below. The data has been compiled using Stats Zone.
Most passes made: Glen Johnson vs Fulham (H), 97.
Most passes received: Glen Johnson vs Fulham (H), 93.
Passed to every other Liverpool player in a match:
Steven Gerrard vs Crystal Palace (H), Hull City (A).
Lucas Leiva vs Fulham (H).
Received a pass from every other Liverpool player in a match:
Steven Gerrard vs Newcastle United (A), Hull City (A).
Philippe Coutinho vs Fulham (H).
Lucas Leiva vs Hull City (A).
Top pass combination (one way): Glen Johnson to Jordan Henderson vs Fulham (H), 33.
Top pass combination (in total): Glen Johnson and Jordan Henderson vs Fulham (H), 60.
Hull City (A): Liverpool were very poor on the day, and the heat map hints at why. As I noted in my analysis of the match, we can see that there was far too much passing around at the back; I think a team will struggle to win when their top passing combination is between their right sided centre back and full back! Similarly, the fact that Sterling only passed to Suárez once more than he passed back to Mignolet shows how little impact he made on the day. Coutinho and Alberto were more involved, but it was too little too late from a Liverpool perspective.
Everton (A): It won’t stand out much on a heatmap, but the one pass from Gerrard to Sturridge was undoubtedly the most important on here as it resulted in Liverpool’s late equaliser. The captain also passed to every player bar the goalkeeper, and every player bar late substitute Sturridge passed to both Gerrard and Suárez. Gerrard to/from Suárez and to/from Johnson were the joint two top combos, with nineteen passes.
Fulham (H): As you’ve probably noticed above, a lot of new records for 2013/14 were set during this game. Not only that, but they were smashed; for instance, Liverpool’s top pass combination prior to this match saw 36 passes, but Henderson and Johnson exchanged 60 here. Five of the team (including Gerrard, Suárez and Sturridge) passed to Coutinho more than any other player, illustrating the Brazilian’s value to the team. Although the SaS only exchanged six passes (their fewest this season), one of them did create a goalscoring opportunity.
Arsenal (A): Nearly a quarter (8/35) of Skrtel’s passes went back to Mignolet, when the rest of the team only passed back to the keeper six times between them. Lucas on the other hand passed at least once to every other player except the goalkeeper – a much better way to do it! Aly Cissokho made just six passes in 45 minutes, which is very poor, and it was also a quiet day for the Suárez and Sturridge combo; they exchanged just seven passes in total. For comparison with other league games they’ve played in this season: Sunderland 15, Newcastle 12, West Brom 11, and Crystal Palace 9.
West Bromwich Albion (H): A slightly surprising top combo for this one, as Toure and Johnson linked up 35 times (so were just one pass shy of equalling the 2013/14 record), and no other combo made more than 18 on the day either. Johnson was substituted after 62 minutes too, don’t forget. Kelly (Glen’s replacement) exchanged six passes with Toure, suggesting the season record was there for the taking! Lucas was the most passed to and from, and that typified a fine display from the Brazilian.
Newcastle United (A): As you’d expect when playing half a match against ten men, Liverpool set quite a few seasonal pass combination records in this match (see above). Perhaps the most encouraging fact, from an attacking point of view is that Sturridge’s top link up, both to and from, was with Luis Suárez, and the pair linked superbly for Liverpool’s second equaliser. Other than that, it’s hard to draw too many conclusions here as the Reds had far more of the ball than would normally be expected away from home, thanks to the first half red card.
Crystal Palace (H): Kolo Toure registered the first pass combination in the twenties this season, linking up with Raheem Sterling on the right flank. Steven Gerrard became the first player this season to pass to every single other player who took part. Interesting to see that three of the defence’s top combo was to the player directly to their right; Enrique to Sakho, Sakho to Skrtel, and Skrtel to Toure.
Sunderland (A): Luis Suárez returned to the team and was straight away the most passed to player. He was most frequently found by Enrique (13) and Henderson (11), illustrating that the Uruguayan was drifting across the pitch from side to side. Sakho and Lucas also combined well, to the tune of 23 passes in total.
Southampton (H): Although the most common combination was Sakho to Moses, we can see that the on-loan Chelsea player was unable to do much with it, as his most common passes were back to either Sakho or Enrique. In only his second appearance (and first start) Sakho was the Reds’ most frequent passer, illustrating his comfort on the ball; no doubt his 91.6% pass accuracy in 2012/13 was one of his selling points to Brendan Rodgers. Considering how adept with the ball Daniel Agger is perceived to be, it was perhaps surprising to see that he made the most back passes.
Swansea City (A): The fact that Gerrard’s top combination was to Skrtel illustrates to me that Liverpool were being forced back in this match. The top two combos show how the passes went through the team; Sakho to Lucas, and Lucas to Coutinho. It’s clear from the pass numbers that Aspas did not link up as well as Coutinho, who he replaced when the Brazilian went off injured.
Manchester United (H): The top passer in the opening two games logged 82 and 70 respectively, but Gerrard lead the way in this match with just 44. The top link up was Skrtel and Agger, suggesting that they had time on the ball, and were happy to use it to slow the game down a little. Enrique and Coutinho also linked up well, as they had in the preceding match.
Aston Villa (A):Whilst the right wing prospered against Stoke, the top link up in match two was on the left, between Enrique and Coutinho (26 passes). Lucas Leiva was the most involved player pass wise, and his nine passes to Daniel Sturridge shows that the front man had to drop deep to get involved at Villa Park.
Stoke City (H): Glen Johnson linked up with Jordan Henderson well on the right flank, with their 31 passes being the top combination. Lucas and Gerrard were the overall focus in terms of making and receiving the most passes, and the skipper hit double figures with four of his colleagues.