Should Coutinho Take Liverpool’s Corners?

I recently looked into whether Liverpool were better at defending set pieces this season (here), and the numbers suggested that they weren’t. The Reds then proceeded to let in dead ball goals against Hull, Swansea and West Bromwich Albion in three of their next four league matches. Either I might have a clue regarding what I write about on here, or I’m a jinx. You decide.

Anyway, that article was prompted by a John Aldridge column in the Liverpool Echo, and something he has said this week (here) inspired me to write another quick post. When talking about Liverpool’s performance at Crystal Palace, Aldo said:

The fact that we’ve found a corner taker is also a real positive. Our corners have been horrendous for a long time, I could never see us scoring from them. But Philippe Coutinho put in some really good deliveries and hopefully we’ll stick with him now… When we had Suarez and Steve Gerrard deliveries, you could see the percentage of goals getting knocked up.

Have Liverpool found a decent corner taker in Coutinho though? Or did the Reds benefit from some random variation at Selhurst Park?

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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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Sturridge, Liverpool, and The Power Of The Through-Ball

Long-term readers will know that I like to collate which players link up to create chances for Liverpool. This season, I thought it would be interesting to also look at what type of chances they create. Before we get to that though, here’s a look at what the conversion rates are for different types of pass in the Premier League across the last six full seasons. The data is from WhoScored, and the pass types are sorted by subsequent shot conversion rate. 

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Analysis: Stoke 0 Liverpool 1

I wasn’t planning to do one of these for this match, but as there were some impressive stats from a very good Liverpool display I thought I would. The Reds played well in any context, but not least when considering the injuries they suffered both before and during the match.

There was a great line regarding this from Klopp at the end of his post-match interview on SKY. When asked about the games coming up with the horrendous injury list, he said “If we have eleven, we will fight”. They certainly fought well at Stoke, and here are a few key stats from the match.

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Analysis: Southampton 1 Liverpool 6

It’s always essential to remember that all shots are not equal; hence the proliferation of expected goal models across the blogosphere. But I’m sure Brendan Rodgers would have a wry smile at the stats from this match; I wrote here how the Reds had forty-seven shots (including seven on target from inside the box) in an earlier round of the competition against Carlisle, yet only scored once, but Liverpool had seven shots on target against Southampton and managed to score six.

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Analysis: Manchester City 1 Liverpool 4

Where to start with a result and performance like that? Fortunately there’s so many good stats to get our teeth into, that this should virtually write itself.

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Analysis: Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3

I could hardly let this result pass without making a few observations, even though I haven’t actually seen the full match. In truth, I tweeted most of what follows on Sunday, but I figured it was worth collating here too.

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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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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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Analysis: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0

Arsenal and Liverpool played out a very entertaining 0-0 draw on Monday night, though there was enough goal mouth action to have seen any number of goals.

Nobody would consider Coutinho and Benteke as a forward partnership in the conventional sense, but as the Reds created a very healthy twelve chances at The Emirates, I want to take a quick look at how the two attackers linked up in this game, and across the season so far.

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Liverpool FC: 2015/16 Pre-Season Stats Review

Liverpool wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a 2-1 win over Swindon Town on Sunday, which featured a ‘debut’ goal by Christian Benteke. I thought I’d take a quick look at which Reds have created chances or had a shot most frequently in the last five matches of the summer.

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Nathaniel Clyne: 2014/15 Stats Review

I took an in-depth look at Roberto Firmino (here) last Monday; now Liverpool’s new £12.5m right-back comes under the Bass Tuned To Red microscope. The former Southampton player (and there’s a heavily used phrase on Liverpool blogs these days) may not necessarily have impressive raw numbers, but factoring in location yields some interesting results.

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Roberto Firmino: 2014/15 Stats Review

There’s no doubt who Liverpool’s most highly rated signing so far this summer is; Hoffenheim’s Brazilian attacker Roberto Firmino. As is customary around here, I’ve taken a look at his stats from last season to see what we can learn about him, and what he might contribute in the Premier League next season. Continue reading

Liverpool 2 Newcastle 0: Chance Combinations

As I’ve recently had some positive feedback for my chance creation combinations work, I’m contemplating writing a piece on each match next season, rather than posting the figures for the whole season as I have been doing in this campaign. This is therefore very much a pilot, and all feedback will be gratefully received in the comments selection below.

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A Closer Look At Liverpool’s Chance Creation Combinations

I recently received some compliments for my chance creation combination work (with specific regard to this season’s figures, which you can see here) so I thought I’d dig a little deeper and expand upon the data for the most frequent link ups to see which duos have actually been the most potent in 2014/15.

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Danny Ings: Why Liverpool Are Interested

Although no deal has as yet been confirmed, Liverpool are clearly looking to bring in Danny Ings from Burnley in the summer when his contract expires. As usual, I thought I’d take a look at his stats, and having done so I can definitely see why he would appeal to Brendan Rodgers.

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Coutinho to Sturridge – Liverpool’s Best Creative Partnership?

Any Liverpool fan you talk to will wax lyrical about the magic of the Coutinho-Sturridge partnership, and how the Brazilian will be setting up chances galore for the England international when he finally returns from injury.

Has this actually been the case regularly in the past though? Everyone remembers fantastic assists from Coutinho to Sturridge against Newcastle, Fulham, Everton and Arsenal, but what’s the chance creation story for their whole time together in the Premier League?

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SLiCk: How Liverpool’s New Front Three Interact

On the 6th December, Liverpool hosted Sunderland at Anfield, and laboured their way to a 0-0 draw in which they only had two shots on target. Rickie Lambert lead the line that day, with a threesome of Sterling, Lallana and Coutinho (can you see where SLiCk comes from now?!) behind him.

The match was Liverpool’s twenty-second of the season, yet it was only the sixth time that this trio had appeared on the pitch at the same time. Now that they’ve played together in the Reds’ last five games, with impressive results, I thought I’d take a quick look at the impact they have had and how well they have linked up.

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Divock Origi: Should Liverpool Stick Or Twist?

Rumour and counter-rumour are always the order of the day on Twitter, but the latest one to actually catch my interest is the talk that Liverpool might pay Lille an additional fee in order to bring Divock Origi to Anfield in January, rather than in the summer as was originally agreed. But should they; how is he performing in Ligue 1, and how does that compare to the strikers already on Liverpool’s books? Continue reading