For the past couple of years, Liverpool have generally displayed an alarming profligacy in front of goal.
By only scoring one goal from a whopping twenty-five shots against Stoke City on Saturday, the debate about the Reds’ poor shot conversion looks likely to continue for a while yet.
Using the WhoScored data, I’ve compiled the figures for all Liverpool players who have scored at least one goal in the last four seasons.
Obviously there’s a whole variety of shot sample sizes here, but I’ve included every player in order to illustrate the following point.
The average shot conversion in the Premier League is around 10%; it was 10.1% in 2012/13, for instance. At present, Liverpool have just one player (Daniel Sturridge) currently on their books who has significantly bettered that whilst playing for the Reds over the last four seasons, and even then it’s from a relatively small sample.
It’s important to note that the above figures include penalties too. I’ve looked specifically at Steven Gerrard, as he is the team’s primary taker of spot kicks, and his shot conversion rate drops to 7.4% if you exclude his seven penalties (and two misses) from this data. Considering his reputation, that’s a poor return.
Although obviously not listed above, Iago Aspas has looked lively for the Reds so far, creating the winning goal against Stoke on his league debut. The problem is though, he only scored nine goals from 102 efforts (8.8%) excluding penalties last season, in his only season in the Spanish top flight.
It’s also worth considering that the average shot conversion for La Liga was 11% last season, so Aspas may find goals harder to come by in England than he did in Spain too.
Jordan Henderson may provide some hope for Brendan Rodgers. He scored five from thirty-three shots (15.2%) last season when played in a more suitable position for him; he bagged just two from forty-one efforts (4.9%) when mainly stationed on the wing in 2011/12. Henderson was also the only Red to put all of his shots (three) on target in the recent match with Stoke.
Also, if Luis Suárez stays, then Rodgers can hope he’ll continue his year-on-year improvement, though of course he’ll have fewer shots than he did for the first half of the last campaign, as Sturridge will be in the side:
On the face of it, Liverpool are going to need a lot of shots again this season to score the amount of goals that they’re looking for in order to contest fourth place (which would usually be around the seventy mark).
Brendan Rodgers could be forgiven for making admiring glances at Christian Benteke on Saturday evening at Villa Park, as the big Belgian has converted a higher proportion of his shots during his time in England than any Liverpool player has recently.
My hope is that Coutinho and co. can continue to set up top notch chances which should make scoring easier, but as it stands, Liverpool’s shooting pains are liable to hold them back from competing in the Champions League next season.
Related posts you might like:
Shots Alone Are Not Enough – A look at the Reds’ shooting efficiency.
In Praise Of Jordan Henderson – A look at the former Mackem’s impressive performance at Villa Park, as well as the poor shooting choices used by his colleagues.
Shots On Target Difference – An article looking at just how important this particular statistic is.
Shot Difference and Goal Efficiency – A piece on how efficient each Premier League team is at both ends of the pitch in 2011/12.