Tag Archives: liverpool

Premier League Review 2012/13: Liverpool

Cumulative pts - LFCLiverpool’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.

Goals For - LFCGoals Against - LFCNevertheless, 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.

Home & Away - LFCLiverpool 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.

Relative strength - LFCThis 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.

Vital Stats - LFC

[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.

% Playing time - LFCMPS vs League TPOEM - LFCLiverpool 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.

General stats:

  • 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)

Players - LFCLuis 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.

Premier League 2011-12: Position Analysis DM

Having completed analysis on centre midfielders, I discovered that by grouping all central midfielders together the defensive midfielders were unfairly compared to their more offensive partners.

As a result, my previous standards/classifications needed adjustment to obtain a reasonable range of data with which I could review defensive midfielders. This is for 2 reasons: primarily, the playing time of players in the position of DM (as considered below) was insufficient – only Arsenal and Swansea had players who played in this position for more than 1000mins; secondly, I wanted to include additional data from the defensive midfielders that I had previously categorised in the CM analysis.

Whether or not a midfielder is defensive or not is arguable in some cases, and you may disagree with some of the names I have included here. But this is my analysis, so I added the CM statistics for the following 17 midfielders to the DM stats:

Alejandro Faurlin Karl Henry
Cheik Tioté Lee Cattermole
Craig Gardner Lucas Leiva
David Fox Mohamed Diamé
Fabrice Muamba Scott Parker
Gareth Barry Shaun Derry
Jack Colback Steven N’Zonzi
Jay Spearing Youssuf Mulumbu
John Obi Mikel

Nigel de Jong failed to make the 1000mins cut as he only played a combined total of 885mins in the DM or CM position (not including substitute apps). In total, 5 premier league teams did not have a player who qualified for this list: Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham, Man Utd and Stoke City. These teams generally seemed to fill the centre of the park with midfielders who do a bit of everything.

To redress the balance from the CM analysis, I focused on DM actions that correlated negatively with goals conceded first – then appraised the effect on W/D/L and goals for in order to come up with my shortlist of statistics. As a result defensive attributes dominate this particular review, with only ‘goals from open play’ (which are infrequent for DMs so do not have much significance) and ‘passes forward’ (as a proportion of all passes) the 2 offensive fields that contribute to the DM analysis. It could be argued that even these offensive stats are dependent on the quality of the attacking players ahead of the DM.

‘Touches’, ‘short pass success’ and ‘lay-offs’ are the neutral fields considered – since being comfortable in possession, or at least in distributing it to the next player (or to safety) is a important part of the DM’s game.

The full list of all fields shortlisted, including those used, is shown below:

And the results are here:

So, Lucas Leiva, who actually had the lowest playing time in this list (1135mins) is rated #1. Had he not sustained a serious injury in November 2011, it is likely that Liverpool’s fortunes in the league would have been significantly improved. He topped the charts for total tackles (with 59 tackles won he was also 6th in that list despite playing fewer games than anyone else), duel success ratio of 1.86 (Derry was second with a ratio of 1.50) and passes forward. There is a clear link between pass success and passes forward, for example Joe Allen and Leon Britten top the charts in pass success but are bottom of the table in passes forward – indicating that the difficulty of their passes was generally probably not that high – however Lucas has above average short passing success despite playing 42% of his passes forward.

Second in the list is Gareth Barry, meaning that in every position analysis I have written so far (5), Man City have managed a player in the top 2 every time. He is also the highest placed English player, ahead of the widely praised Scott Parker. They are, however, within 5pts of one another for every field except headed clearances and passes forward – in which Barry is much stronger than Parker.

Brendan Rodgers’ signing for Liverpool of Joe Allen is rather significant because if he can develop a strong partnership with Lucas this season (assuming Lucas can stay injury-free), on the basis of their form last season they would be a formidable pairing (both scored higher than Arsenal’s pairing of Arteta and Song).

Finally, as a Newcastle fan my hopes that Cheick Tioté would prove his class amongst his peers was a little disappointing. On the plus side, 2 Sunderland players were in the bottom 4! Rumours abound over the summer that Chelsea/Man Utd/Man City/Arsenal were interested in Tioté in a £20m+ deal do not really stand up to the stats. If he is sold, and I know that Mike Ashley likes a good deal, WBA’s Youssuf Mulumbu would appear to be a good contender as a cost effective replacement.