There has been lots of talk amongst Liverpool fans about how wasteful in front of goal Luis Suárez has been of late. I’ve taken a look at the stats to see if that is the case.
To give his form some context, I have compared it to that of Fernando Torres whilst he was at Liverpool; perhaps not the fairest of comparisons due to their differing styles of play and ways that they are involved in a game as a whole, but as Liverpool’s primary goal-getters over the past four years it’s valid to compare them.
This analysis will focus just on shooting; I compared them here previously with regards to their passing and tackling also. The statistics for Torres’ first season in England are not available, so the data covers from August 2008 to the present.
Firstly a look at how regularly the two marksmen have found the back of the net in Liverpool colours:
Probably no surprise to see Torres lead the way here, as the more single-minded goal scorer of the two players. Had Suárez scored one more goal this season (the penalty that he ballooned over the bar against Sunderland could have been an easy one), then he would be on 118.6 minutes per goal, and second in this table. That said, he only has a small sample for this season (less than seven full games so far), so an extra goal would obviously have a greater impact on his figures.
Who comes out on top for shooting accuracy?
It’s interesting to see that Luis Suárez has a consistently better shooting accuracy than Torres did in 2008/09 when he was at the peak of his powers, albeit in an injury hit season. It’s probably no surprise to see the Torres of last season in last place, as he suffered from the lethal combination of personal malaise and Roy Hodgson’s tactics.
Credit for Suárez leading the way here with a period that featured his first four months in England. His figure has dipped for this season, but having come straight back in to the team following last summer’s Copa America, it’s not that surprising that his form might have dipped slightly.
Finally, a look at how many shots on average the two forwards have needed to score a goal:
The Spaniard leads the way, with the top two positions for individual seasons. Perhaps no surprise to see last season’s figures for both players at the bottom of the table, with one desperate to leave the club and the other finding his feet after just arriving.
Suárez has improved on last season here, and as it shows above, his shooting accuracy has only dipped slightly, so why the criticism now? He is performing similarly to how Torres was when he was the best striker in the world after all.
I suspect that Suárez, as Liverpool’s main striker, is being tarred with the same brush as the team overall with regards to profligacy in front of goal; I wrote here about how the team is converting less chances than in the previous two seasons. The Reds’ conversion percentage has improved to 12.36% since I wrote that article, but that’s still behind the 14.62% average for the past two seasons.
Without wishing to tempt fate, with Norwich City, West Bromwich Albion and Swansea City up next in the league for Liverpool, with the two promoted sides visiting Anfield, then there may be no better time for Suárez and Liverpool to really put their shooting boots on and give someone a hiding. Just don’t blame me if they don’t.