Liverpool’s season began poorly, gaining only 2pts from their first 5 games (although the first 5 games did include home games against both Manchester teams and Arsenal). That, coupled with Everton’s good start to the season, left them with too much to claw back over the remaining 33 games to overcome their Merseyside rivals.
Nevertheless, the above graphs should be very encouraging for Liverpool fans because as Rodgers’ influence set in they showed a general improvement in both goals scored and goals conceded. Indeed, after game 19 Liverpool had form good enough to challenge for a Champions League spot: in the last 19 matches of the season they gained on average 1.895 pts per game – which over the course of a full season would yield 72pts (1pt less than Arsenal achieved for 4th place this year).
The positive impact of January signings Sturridge and Coutinho indicate that Liverpool are a team on the up, and if they can strengthen again this summer I fully expect them to challenge for the 4th place next year.
Liverpool scored freely both home and away although they defended significantly better at home last season. They scored more than 2 goals in 12 different games, including three 5-goal hauls and a dominant 6-0 victory at Newcastle.
This is quite a standard picture really: Liverpool’s average points score increases in proportion to the decrease in opposition quality. They didn’t have much trouble battering the worst teams but perhaps could tighten up defensively against the top 5 in order to make ground in that segment.
[Click the image above to view Vital Stats, not sure quite why it isn’t displaying properly!]
Vital stats of Liverpool’s players (weighted by time on the pitch) shows them to be pretty close to the league average.
Liverpool were able to get >2800mins out of Gerrard, Suarez, Agger and Johnson – and they were dependent on this core group throughout the season. Sturridge and Coutinho both fell into the 800-1200min group, boosting that segment – next season of course they will play a bigger role (assuming they stay injury-free) and should further bolster the higher tiered areas in which Liverpool currently look slightly lacking in terms of overall quality.
- 3rd most total tackles attempted (795)
- Involved in the highest number of ground duels (3105)
- 3rd fewest total clearances (914)
- Highest number of total chances created (549)
- Highest number of shots (739) although 2nd in number of shots on target (231)
Luis Suarez ranked as the most influential player in the league according to his average TPOEM score. Sturridge ranked as the second highest performing forward in the league whilst Gerrard was 11= in the list of midfielders (which is dominated by eye-catching attacking midfielders in any case).
Defensively Lucas, Agger and Johnson stand out.
But, back to Suarez, because he demands a little more writing space. Biting and controversy aside, although Liverpool’s record without him in the team was still very good, he is an all-action player who inevitably dominates the statistics whenever he plays – for example TPOEM suggests his defensive/ball-winning rating is 3rd amongst all strikers (behind Crouch and Carroll, whose stats depend on winning aerial duels no doubt). He was involved in an impressive 510 ground duels, the most in the league by a distance. Not to mention his confidence to shoot and dribble regularly (72 shots on target, 71 off target, 44 blocked, 255 dribbles attempted). Suarez may be the type of player rival fans (and some Liverpool fans) love to hate – for good reason – but there is no questioning his ability. Liverpool can certainly live without him if he leaves in the summer but they’ll need a player of the highest standard to fill his boots if they are going to stand a chance of competing for the top 4.