Next up is Aston Villa, however, this week I would like to concentrate more on Liverpool and how our statistics and tactics have faired over the past few weeks. Clearly something has gone terribly wrong at Liverpool. Since the turn of the year, to put it bluntly, our form has been dire. It reads: LDLWDLLLWLLL – in 12 games that’s 2 wins, 2 draws, and 8 losses. Since the start of the year we are only winning 16.7% of our games compared to 47.3% before the New Year. We have now picked up 8 points from a possible 36 in 2012. We haven’t actually won an away game since 31st January when we beat Wolves 0-3. This is now April. That is 4 defeats in a row away from home and now 6 defeats out of 7. That is relegation form in any league. Depressing? Yes. So maybe we can lighten the mood a bit and try to shine some light on the subject. What exactly has gone wrong? Is it tactics? Or are the players just not trying hard enough?
First, let’s take a look at the statistics and compare how the team have performed before and after this slump. We will divide the time between pre-New Year results and post-New Year results. Our record before the turn of the year was played 19, won 9, lost 3, drawn 7. So since then, are we still putting in those tackles, winning those ground duels, aerial duels, and creating those chances etc?
The first metric we are going to measure is how we react to winning the ball back. It will give us an indication of what our attitude is to regaining possession.
As you can see from the chart there is no significant difference in our attempts to win the ball back pre-slump and post-slump. In the past 12 games we are winning possession in the defensive third of the pitch on average 28.4 times per game, compared to 27.2 times per game before the New Year. Likewise with winning possession in the midfield third, 23.1 and 22.2 respectively. There is a slight change in the final category, since the turn of the year we are now winning possession in the attacking third 4 times per game, compared to 2.9 beforehand, however, nothing major, and nothing that would indicate a change of style of play or a difference in attitude.
In fact, in a lot of our, what I like to call ‘battling’ statistics we have almost identical statistics to before and after our bad period. Aerial duels, ground duels and tackles per game etc are all almost identical from the last 12 games to the first 19 games.
Our players don’t seem to be under any more pressure when defending either, as our successful clearances per game are also similar from the two periods. One metric which is slightly different is that Pepe Reina is making less saves per game since the turn of the year. He was making 2.63 saves per game previously, and now is making 2.08 saves per game. Not really surprising considering his form has been questioned recently, and also we do seem to be giving our opposition more clear cut chances than usual.
Next Page: Liverpool FC Passing Statistics pre/post Christmas (page buttons top right/bottom right)
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