Steven Gerrard became Liverpool’s joint-fifth top all time scorer on Tuesday night, with 183 goals, when he converted a penalty against Spurs at Anfield. Now that he is injured, who should take any penalties that the Reds are awarded? I’ve taken a quick look at Liverpool’s recent penalty record excluding Gerrard, and it does not make for pretty reading.
The first thing to note is that the captain has had a phenomenal record from the spot in recent times. In the last three seasons he has taken twenty-five penalties and scored twenty-three of them (missing against West Brom at Anfield and Manchester United at Old Trafford), which means he has a conversion rate of 92% in this period. As the average rate for scoring a penalty is around 75-80%, it’s reassuring that Gerrard is comfortably above this.
As for the rest of the Reds’ squad… look away now.
The only current Liverpool player to take an in-game penalty (so not during a shoot out) for the Reds is Daniel Sturridge, and whilst he scored his first (against Swansea City), he blazed his second one over the bar (against Everton). He has not been alone in failing from the spot, as the below table shows:
Just two of Liverpool’s last ten penalties taken by someone other than Gerrard have hit the back of the net. For all the goals he scored, it’s remarkable that Luis Suarez took two penalties for Liverpool, and missed them both.
Brendan Rodgers has signed some players who were regular penalty scorers for previous clubs, but even they haven’t done so well recently; Rickie Lambert scored all thirty-four of the penalties he took for Southampton but missed one for the Reds in pre-season, and Mario Balotelli had scored all twenty-six of his until he missed two in 2013/14. As an added twist of irony, the first goalkeeper to save a Balotelli penalty was on loan from Liverpool at the time: Pepe Reina.
So who should take one if the Reds get one whilst Gerrard is out? Who knows, but at least the squad had plenty of practice against Middlesbrough this season!