One of the things I thought I’d monitor this season is which players top the rankings for various stats in each Premier League match. Against Bournemouth, Coutinho became the first player in 2015/16 to have eight shots in a game.
Which would be fine, but none of them were on target; in the image below, red are off target efforts and grey are blocked.
Coutinho had the joint most shots from outside the box in the Premier League last season, alongside Christian Eriksen on sixty-seven. The Dane scored six to the Brazilian’s two though, and matches like this one against Bournemouth show why Coutinho is still a scorer of great goals rather than a great goal scorer (as the cliche goes).
With a goal on his home debut, we also have to run the rule over Christian Benteke this week.
Remarkably, in a game where Liverpool had eighteen shots, the Belgian striker was the only Red to have a shot on target; the rest of the team managed fifteen off target and/or blocked efforts between them.
The former Villa man also created four chances, which was more than any player on either side mustered, and no other Liverpool man set up more than one.
This match also displayed several trends from last season which I have previously suggested might continue in this campaign.
During Benteke’s time at the club, Aston Villa created 2.1 chances per game from crosses, and whilst I don’t have a breakdown of the chances, they simply can’t all have been for Benteke.
Liverpool created two chances for the big Belgian from crosses against Bournemouth, despite (for the second league match running) attempting fewer crosses overall than they averaged per game last season. Many people thought that Liverpool would need to cross more often this season with Benteke on board, but as yet that hasn’t been the case.
Not only that, but both of these successful crosses lead to what Opta define as ‘big’ chances (which are “A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range”) and the only two such chances that Liverpool directly created themselves in this match; Coutinho also had one, but only after the ball had pinballed around the Bournemouth penalty box.
Henderson was Liverpool’s top big chance creator last season, and he set up Benteke for the winner in this match. The other big chance came via a cross from Clyne; he favoured crossing for creating chances last season, and Bacuna (Villa’s right back) to Benteke was the league’s joint second best assist combination last season.
Who knows if these trends will continue throughout the whole of 2015/16, but there were lots of notable aspects of last season on display at Anfield as Liverpool made it two wins from two.