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.
For starters, in two games (against Norwich City away, and against Wigan at home) the Reds had comfortably won the match by that stage, so no further goals were needed.
At Everton, Liverpool did technically score a goal in the final fifteen minutes, but unfortunately for them it was incorrectly ruled out.
Whilst I think the use of the ‘final fifteen minutes’ is a valid timespan, if the line is drawn at the ‘final twenty minutes’ then key goals would then be included. Goals from Luis Suárez have rescued points away at Sunderland (in the 71st minute) and Chelsea (in the 73rd minute) in matches the Reds looked destined to lose. Indeed, the final twenty minutes at Chelsea was Liverpool’s best period in the whole match, irrespective of the fact they did not score after the 76th minute.
The Reds have also scored six goals after the 75 minute mark in cup games this season, and all but one of them has had a positive impact on the result.
Aside from a consolation goal in the League Cup defeat to Swansea at Anfield, Liverpool have scored the winner at Hearts, the equaliser against the same team in the return leg which guaranteed qualification for the Europa League group stage, two goals away at Young Boys to turn a draw into a memorable 5-3 win, and Sahin bagged the winner at West Brom in the Capital One Cup, all with less than fifteen minutes left to play.
Clearly the Reds need to score more league goals towards the end of games (and more in general) to give themselves a better chance of all three points, but things aren’t quite as bad as they are being portrayed.