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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Klopp’s Record With Subs And Late Goals

The Anfield Wrap’s Tuesday Review podcast. 22nd November. Bus home from work, about 5:30. Sean Rogers is talking about Jürgen Klopp’s lack of early substitutes in the 0-0 draw with Southampton.

“Hopefully Andrew Beasley can help us out… I’d love to know what his record was in Germany at late goals, goals in the last twenty minutes. We’ve talked about “I think, I know, and I hope”, and I think the problem with a substitution is unless it’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer or David Fairclough, you’re always in the “hope”, whereas I think he can actually see and say “I know what is happening right now. I know that in the next five to ten minutes we are getting another chance. I trust you, keep calm, keep playing, stay positive, keep doing what we’re doing and banging on the door, and it’ll open”, and I think that’s the message he’s trying to get across, which is why I think he’s not doing the whole substitute thing. Now, if his time at Dortmund shows he didn’t do many subs and didn’t get many late goals, then on that basis maybe he needs to start changing his focus and tactics on that. If however, his time at Dortmund shows he’s got a lot of late goals, then why would you change something that’s been successful? There’s good logic with that”.

Challenge accepted, Sean!

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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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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’s Chronic Lack Of Goals

I reviewed the stats from Liverpool’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at Leicester City, and I noticed that the Reds’ two shots on target were by Emre Can and Dejan Lovren.

Leaving aside the damning indictment that this fact makes on the performance of Liverpool’s forward players in this match, my immediate thought was “no wonder we didn’t score, those two only have one league goal between them”.

The problem for Jürgen Klopp is that these two are far from an isolated case.

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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: 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: Liverpool 1 Swansea City 0

I didn’t see this match, so this will be brief. Liverpool had a top-level performance at one end of the pitch, and a bad one at the other. Let’s cover the good first, and my observation on this was prompted by this tweet:

Having looked at the data for this for the period since August 2012, it’s clear how rare this is; Liverpool have done this just once a season in the last three years. Here’s a table of the matches in question, and I’ve ranked them by an additional stat, opposition shots in the box:

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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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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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The Truth About Benteke and Crosses

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.

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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

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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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

Two Goals Is Too Many; Liverpool’s Away Defence

As Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Selhurst Park on Sunday, they racked up their fourth away defeat of the season, and sixth in total, with both of these loss figures matching their total for the whole of 2013/14.

Once Crystal Palace had equalised, it should’ve come as little surprise that they scored again before the end of the match; conceding two-or-more goals on the road has been a trademark of the Brendan Rodgers era at Liverpool.
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Balotelli vs Welbeck

When Danny Welbeck made his slightly surprising move from Manchester United to Arsenal on transfer deadline day, I noted that there were several parallels with Liverpool’s new signing, Mario Balotelli.

Both born in 1990, the two strikers each moved for a fee of £16m to teams of broadly similar standard. The obvious question to consider is therefore which of the two will score the most goals this season?

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Super Mario?

There are very few players who divide opinion as much as him. Capable of moments of madness and brilliance from minute-to-minute, his ability to entertain, infuriate and court controversy are largely unrivalled.

But enough about Luis Suárez. Liverpool need to move on from the Uruguayan and secure a replacement striker. What do the stats tell us that Balotelli can bring to Anfield?

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Are Liverpool Too Light On Champions League Experience?

Having looked up how much Champions League experience that Liverpool’s squad has previously had, I’m beginning to get a little concerned that there is a distinct lack of it.

There’s nothing to say that this will definitely be an issue of course, but having compiled the data I thought I’d share it here.

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A Closer Look At Loïc

When it became clear that Loïc Remy was likely to be signing for Liverpool, I took a quick look at his headline stats from 2013/14 and noticed how similar they were to Daniel Sturridge’s. Surely a look at a few other attacking metrics would reveal a major difference between the pair?

LR v DS Shot Chance DribbleOh, okay. So you’re telling me that Liverpool will have secured Sturridge and a very similar alternate option for around £21m in total?  You are? Marvellous! I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t dig a little deeper though….

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Suárez Goes; What Will Liverpool Need?

Although the news was confirmed today that Luis Suárez will be leaving Liverpool, clearly it has been on the cards for some time. Including penalty wins, the Uruguyan scored (eighty-two) or assisted (fifty-three) a total of 135 goals in 133 appearances for the Reds, at a rate of a goal or assist every 84 minutes. Clearly he will be missed, and not least as Liverpool only had twelve different scorers in the league in 2013/14, the joint-fourth fewest in the division.

Yet Liverpool’s league record without Luis Suárez in the team is surprisingly good. In the 18 league games he has missed since his debut in 2011, the Reds’ record is W11 D3 L4; exactly two points per game, in other words. If they can repeat that form next season then Rodgers’ Reds might start to edge towards becoming CL regulars.

It won’t be that easy to achieve without Suárez though, and here is why.

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