Which Teams Are Best At Defeating A Parked Bus?

Liverpool’s win against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend was obviously well received by Reds everywhere, but at the same time it didn’t teach them anything new about the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Jürgen Klopp’s men have been ruthless this season against teams who play a high line, as Spurs did to suicidal effect at Anfield, but they have seemed toothless against the low block favoured by the Premier League’s lesser lights.

The Tomkins Times published a very good article this week (here) which looked at how Liverpool have fared against teams who have ‘parked the bus’ against them this season. The findings were certainly interesting, but in my continual quest for context with statistical analysis, I thought it would be worthwhile comparing the Reds to the other members of the big six to see how each team has fared. My assumption is that all teams struggle against a low block, but is that actually the case?

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A Ton Of Sturridge: The Stats From His First 99 Liverpool Matches

This article has happened almost by accident. I wanted to look at how Sturridge’s form has fluctuated over his time with Liverpool, so visited his ESPN stats page. Some swift copying, pasting and counting revealed he has made ninety-nine appearances in the Red shirt to date, so I figured that made this a very good time to share the findings on here.

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Are Liverpool Better At Defending Set Pieces This Season?

It’s far too early to accurately answer this question of course, but I did a quick piece of research which was prompted by a Redmen TV video I watched:

This in turn had been inspired by a John Aldridge column in the Liverpool Echo, where the former striker spoke about recent Reds signing Joel Matip:

“I feel a lot more confident defending set plays because of him in the back four. Matip’s size and height means he’s winning those high balls in the box, he’s a real man mountain. He reminds me of Sami Hyypia in that respect, in how he likes to get his head on everything. We’ve looked susceptible from set pieces in recent times, now we look solid.”

Is this actually the case though? I’ve crunched the defensive set piece numbers for Liverpool in the Premier League since the start of last season, and I’m not convinced that it is.

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Get Sturridge In The Box (and here’s why)

As Liverpool passed themselves into endless cul-de-sacs whilst on their way to a 2-0 defeat at Burnley, one of their many issues became painfully apparent (and not for the first time): Daniel Sturridge was not in or even near the box enough.

The Reds (or should that be the toxic greens) completed twenty-two passes in the Burnley box, which on the face of it is a decent total; Liverpool only bettered that once on the road last season, with twenty-five at Crystal Palace, and Saturday’s tally was only bettered twelve times by away teams in the 380 Premier League matches last season.

The problem was that Daniel Sturridge, the only proven and consistent Premier League goal scorer in the Liverpool squad, was only the recipient for three of them. A dig into the numbers shows that this is part of a very concerning trend, and they back up what Kopites have seen themselves whilst watching the matches in 2016.


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Divock Origi Season Review

This article was originally for subscribers of The Tomkins Times (here).

When will we learn, eh? Well, most of you reading this don’t need to learn, but large swathes of the wider fanbase certainly do; when will fans accept that young players usually take time to settle, as do players coming to England from overseas, so when a new signing ticks both boxes maybe they deserve a little leeway?

September 23rd 2015. Liverpool are struggling to get past Carlisle United of League Two in the Capital One Cup. Divock Origi, a twenty year old Belgian who has recently joined the squad (having been officially signed a year earlier) comes off the bench in the 34th minute to replace another new signing, Roberto Firmino, to make just his third appearance for the club. A search of Twitter suggests he wasn’t doing too well (and I stuck to a fairly mild swear word; far worse versions of this are available)…

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Liverpool FC Creativity Combinations 2015/16

Having originally devised this idea in 2013, this is the third season where I have collated data on which Liverpool players linked up to create chances in the Premier League. You can see the information for 2013/14 here, and 2014/15 here.

In previous years I have looked at other aspects beyond the raw figures, and whilst I plan to do similar with this season’s numbers, time is as usual against me so this will have to suffice for now. Without further ado…

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Liverpool’s Set Piece Record in 2015/16

From an amateur’s point of view, it’s great that there are multiple websites that freely share football stats. They don’t always publish a simple list of what you want though; as Liverpool’s woes with defending set pieces continued at Carrow Road, fans want to know how the Reds compare to every other side in the Premier League when it comes to conceding from dead ball situations, but nowhere publishes a table of this information.

I’ve put in the hard yards over at whoscored.com, and gone through ten match previews to extract the data. Here’s what I found.

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Analysis: Are Liverpool Winning The Ball Higher Up The Pitch Under Klopp?

I’ve read and heard different opinions on this issue recently; for instance, Michael Cox wrote for Four Four Two (here) that Klopp’s influence is demonstrated by the fact that Liverpool completed more ball recoveries, interceptions and tackles in the opposition half in certain games under Klopp than they did in Brendan Rodgers’ last match.

Sean Rogers, speaking on The Anfield Wrap’s excellent Tuesday Review show (here, subscribers only) was quick to point out how Manchester City won the ball higher up the pitch than Liverpool did last weekend though, which most people would not have expected.

So has there been much of a shift this season since Jürgen Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers?

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Christian Benteke y algunos pensamientos filosóficos

Here’s the latest Spanish translation by James Hillyard (Twitter), and here’s the original version.

Escribí este artículo a principios de Septiembre, para la última edición del excelente We Are Liverpool, una revista para fanáticos. Mucho ha pasado en Anfield desde ese momento, pero con la vuelta de Benteke a los entrenamientos va a ser interesante ver si las estadísticas en este artículo siguen siendo relevantes bajo el mando de Jürgen Klopp.

Este tweet reciente de @WhoScored me llamo a atención mientras intentaba soportar otro fin de semana interminable de receso internacional:

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Comparing Liverpool’s Set Piece Record with Dortmund’s

Jürgen Klopp has taken just one point from his two league games at Anfield so far, and this is mainly due to conceding a late set piece goal in both matches. I thought it would therefore be interesting to see how Dortmund fared with dead ball situations to see if we can expect any change to his fortunes with Liverpool.

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Liverpool – Goles del banquillo desde 2008

It’s time for another Spanish translation by James Hillyard (Twitter); this week he’s taken a look at my article on Liverpool’s goalscoring subs, so many thanks to him for his efforts. His first translation, on Jurgen Klopp’s stats from Dortmund, can be read here.

Christian Benteke anoto el primer gol en la liga de la era Klopp vs Southampton en Anfield y así se convirtió en el mas reciente suplente en meter un gol para Liverpool. ¿Como le ha ido a los Rojos del banquillo desde el 2008 y al mismo tiempo como le fue a su nuevo D.T. en el Dortmund con suplentes anotando goles y dando asistencias?

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Liverpool’s Goalscoring Subs Since 2008

Christian Benteke scored the first league goal of the Jürgen Klopp era against Southampton at Anfield, and in doing so became the most recent substitute to bag a goal for Liverpool. How have the Reds fared from the bench since 2008, and likewise how did their new manager fare at Dortmund for bringing on goal scoring and assist providing substitutes?

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Jürgen Klopp: Dortmund Stats Analysis

Now that Jürgen Klopp has been confirmed as the new manager of Liverpool, it’s time to look at a few stats from his time at Dortmund, to see if his championship winning sides were that good, or if the team in his final season were that bad.

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Analysis: Liverpool 1 Norwich 1

I wasn’t planning to write anything this week so I’ll keep this very brief. When Norwich equalised at Anfield on Sunday, I noted the following about their goal:

By the end of the match, they’d only had one further effort from inside Liverpool’s penalty box (compared to the Reds’ tally of fourteen shots in theirs) yet headed home with a point.

The problem is, this is far from an isolated case.

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Can Sturridge Solve Liverpool’s Creative Crisis?

The answer to the title of this article will probably make or break Liverpool’s season, and therefore determine if Brendan Rodgers can continue to remain in charge at Anfield. I’ve taken a look at the clear-cut chance stats to see what they suggest.

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Christian Benteke and Philosophical Thoughts

I wrote this piece for the final issue of the excellent We Are Liverpool fanzine, in early September. A lot has happened at Anfield since then of course, but with Benteke reportedly back in training, it’ll be interesting to see if the points raised in this article remain relevant under Jürgen Klopp’s management.

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Analysis: Liverpool 0 West Ham 3

As I waited for the game to start on Saturday, I flicked through the programme and came across the players’ stats.

It brought home to me how few Liverpool games that most of their players lining up in this match (and particularly those in key attacking positions) had previously played for the club.

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