After another demoralising defeat for Liverpool, this time at the hands of lowly Wigan Athletic at Anfield, there have been lots of stats flying about; how Kenny Dalglish’s recent record at Liverpool is similar to Roy Hodgson’s, how the Reds are one of the worst performing teams in the Premier League in 2012, and so on.
I decided to plot a graph of the team’s rolling six game form, both for league games, and all competitions (using three points for a cup-win, and one for the Carling Cup final with Cardiff as it was a draw after ninety minutes) to try to assess how much they have declined. Each line obviously begins from the sixth match onwards.
The line for the league shows what a bounce the team received initially in the league when Dalglish came in; the highest total they have achieved so far (fourteen points) was posted in just the second game of the study. Even the next best figure of thirteen points was last achieved in May, so also in the last campaign.
There has certainly been a clear downturn of form lately; more so in the league, where the current figure of just three points taken from the last six matches makes for very depressing reading for all Kopites.
Obviously the ‘all competitions’ figures are buoyed by Liverpool’s fine form in the domestic cups this season, with nine wins, two draws and no defeats in the bag (along with the Carling Cup itself of course) already. But in the league, Liverpool have been posting single figures of points on this chart for nearly three months now, since the dour 0-0 with Stoke City in January.
That is clearly not good enough, when 1.79 points-per-game (or effectively, eleven points every six games) has been the benchmark for reaching the top four in the Premier League in previous seasons (as I have previously looked at here).
With no chance of Champions League football next season, Dalglish will need to get the lines on the graph going back upwards before the season is out to convince the doubters he is the right man to take the club forward next season. With the next match being a trip to the north-east to face high-flying Newcastle, this could be easier said than done on current form.
Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.