Following Joe Hart’s wonderful performance for Manchester City at Anfield on Sunday, I thought it would be worth looking at the statistics to see if he continued the trend of an upturn in form that several goalkeepers have experienced this season against Liverpool, as I have covered previously.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who saw the match that he did.
Firstly, he made no defensive errors and missed none of the crosses that came his way; he has one of each in total from his previous twelve league games this season. With numbers that small it would be wrong to expect a gift from Hart, but as has usually been the case this season, Liverpool have not been fortunate enough to benefit from rare goalkeeping errors.
The Reds deserve some credit for working Hart much harder yesterday than he has generally had to previously this season. He faced six on-target shots yesterday, but has only had to face 3.8 per game on average otherwise. This difference of 2.2 would put him third in the table I compiled previously, and so the fact Liverpool only earned a solitary point from the match shows how well Hart did.
Similarly, by saving all six of the shots the Reds put on target, he beat his seasonal figure of 76.1% by 23.9%; enough for fifth place in the table on the original article. That said, by having the highest save percentage of the goalkeepers being assessed to begin with, then he had less room percentage-wise in which to make an improvement.
In short, and whichever way you look at it, the Reds gave Hart a stern test and he passed it with flying colours.
Liverpool’s conversion rate stands at just 7.7%, and opposing goalkeepers have to take a lot of credit for that. If the Reds had matched their 10% conversion average from the previous three seasons, then they’d have scored five more goals; one of those in each of the five draws at Anfield this season would’ve been most welcome, and would see Liverpool sat second in the league.
So the wait for a goalkeeping howler in favour of the Reds continues. With Fulham at Craven Cottage up next in the league, where Liverpool won 5-2 last season, I wonder how Mark Schwarzer is feeling right now?