I must stress immediately that this is in no way an in-depth or robust statistical analysis. However, I ran some numbers on how many goals Suarez and Sturridge might score in the league this season based on their form so far, and as the findings made my mouth water, I figured they were worth sharing.
With regards to how many goals the duo can score the season, we have to ask ourselves three questions.
1) Can they maintain the amount of shots they have?
Luis Suarez is having an identical number of shots per game as he did last season (5.7), and Sturridge is having fewer (3.4 compared to 4.4), so it seems reasonable to assume that their rates shouldn’t drop too much from here onwards.
2) Can they play every one of the twenty-six remaining games?
Firstly, Suárez. Barring yet another needless suspension, I certainly think the Uruguayan can play every single match. He simply never gets injured; look at the recent Merseyside derby, for instance. Suárez had only just flown back from his South American homeland, nearly had his knee removed by Mirallas, and still happily played the full match.
As for Sturridge, whilst he has had his injury problems, it’s important to note that he has appeared in every Liverpool match so far this season. I’m not as confident that he’ll play all twenty-six as I am with Suarez, but it doesn’t feel that outlandish a claim at this point either, especially as the Reds only have mostly one game a week.
3) Can they both maintain their impressive shot conversion rates from the season so far?
This is where the largest assumptions have to be made for the purposes of this article, and also what will seemingly determine their final goal tallies. We shall see though, that even a tail off in their form so far this season will see them register a remarkable goal haul.
The stand out thing to note is that both are performing better in 2013/14 than they ever have before; indeed they are on the verge of setting a record.
On only eleven previous occasions in Premier League history has any team had two players hit double figures for league goals by January 1st, and Liverpool have never achieved this.
Yet with seven league games still to play in 2013, it would be hugely surprising if the Reds’ formidable strikers don’t add this particular achievement to their portfolio.
But just how far can they go? If you ask me, they should be capable of fifty league goals between them in total this season, and that’s currently the worst case scenario using this simple system.
I have broken my forecast down into three possibilities (with the assumption that shot rate will remain constant, and both players will play every remaining match, as both seem reasonable at this point). I have looked at their productivity if they:
a) maintain their 2013/14 conversion rate.
b) regress to their average conversion rate that they have had under the management of Brendan Rodgers to date.
c) regress to their 2012/13 conversion rate, as it seems a reasonable minimum standard, though of course they could drop lower in theory. Here are the findings:
The most interesting thing I noticed was the difference in the range for the two players, considering that their current conversion form is essentially the same (as the first table shows). Sturridge seems destined for something between fifteen and twenty goals, whereas Suárez could easily finish on a similar figure or score over thirty.
In the best case scenario I’ve imagined here, the rest of the Liverpool squad would need to score just two goals between them to make this the Reds’ top scoring Premier League campaign. Realistically though I would expect some regression on their impressive 2013/14 form so far, though the duo’s scoring record when both on the pitch together, which has been a goal every sixty minutes to date, still implies that they can bag a further thirty-nine goals.
How ever many they score by May, they will surely rank highly (and my forecasts suggest they will be top) on Liverpool’s list of top-two scorer duos in the twenty team Premier League era. After all, with just twelve games played they are already better than two of the complete seasons!
It’s worth noting that the duo hold the second place on the table from last season, and Sturridge was only at the club for half of the campaign, so it seems highly plausible that they can top this chart this season. I will certainly revisit my forecasts as the season progresses to see how they fare, and even if only my worst case scenario comes to pass, then Liverpool stand a very good chance of a successful season.
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