It has been widely noted that Liverpool have been crossing the ball more frequently during their recent poor run of form, and whilst looking at which teams crossed the ball most last weekend, I happened to notice that all three of them lost. For the record, this was Stoke and Crystal Palace, alongside Liverpool, and I used a purely arbitrary figure of at least thirty crosses excluding corners.
I wondered if teams that had crossed lots this season often had poor results, and it turns out that they have. The following table shows the twenty-five occasions so far in the 2016/17 Premier League that a team has attempted at least thirty crosses (not including corners).
Normally when Liverpool sign (or are heavily linked) to a player, I take a look at their stats from the previous season, to see what the numbers suggest the new boy might bring to the Reds in the coming campaign.
With Christian Benteke however, there is one major point of interest, thanks to this interview with his manager Tim Sherwood, which included the following:
Sherwood has also noted that Liverpool’s number of crosses this season – 409 – is the lowest in the top division. “We cross more balls into the box than any other club in the league and Christian has said that he feeds off crosses,” Sherwood said. “There’s no point going to a club where they don’t cross the ball.”
Despite the fact that Sherwood is obviously keen to hang on to the Belgian striker, and also that ‘Tactics Tim’ is a figure of fun for Liverpool fans for 99% of the time, Kopites (or at least those disinterested with the notion of signing Benteke for £32.5m) have taken his comments to heart; do a search for ‘Benteke crosses’ on Twitter, and you’ll find plenty of tweets along those lines from pundits and Liverpool fans alike:
You get the idea, and whilst it is true that Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool cross less often than every other team in the Premier League, a little dig deeper reveals some very interesting facts.