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Essential Liverpool FPL Stats | Attacking Numbers
When reflecting on Liverpool’s 2020/21 season, I notice that I have a lot of criticism for Liverpool still in my head.
The truth is, while there was much to criticise, they adapted. They could’ve had an easier time of things with some better finishing and a less injury-stricken defence.
The radar graph shows us how Liverpool were level with Man City in most attacking statistical categories.
The big difference was in defence and in finishing. On reflection, it feels like Liverpool’s finishing last season was atrocious. The expected stats, however, tell a different story. Liverpool scored 68 goals last season with an xG of 68.36.
They performed in line with their expected stats with an xG Delta of only -0.36 and an xGA (expected goals allowed) Delta of -1.63 over the course of last season.
For Liverpool to challenge for the top spot, they must improve on their finishing. Namely, finishing whilst under pressure. They generated slightly more shots in the box than City last season, but Liverpool only scored 59 goals from inside the box compared to Man City’s 72.
This was the Sadio Mane (£12.0m) efficiency and the Mohamed Salah (£12.5m) indecisiveness we remember from last season.
These factors led to Liverpool players taking away 6.8 xG when getting their shots on target. A reminder that this calculation is made by subtracting xG (68.36) from xGoT (expected goals on target – 61.56).
Most of Liverpool’s chances are created through the centre of the field (190) compared to the left (125) or the right (140). Diogo Jota (£7.5m) has indeed enjoyed tremendous success in this area, as has Roberto Firmino (£9.0m) in their most recent pre-season friendly. He scored a brace in that game.
Many of these chances in the centre of the field come from an exorbitant number of crosses. Liverpool attempted 862 crosses last season, which is 174 more than the average of 688.
Unfortunately, they could not connect with their crosses. They had the 4th lowest cross completion (19.8%). Liverpool are likely to continue to look for headed opportunities, and the return of Virgil van Dijk (£6.5m) could help them improve on their cross percentage.
I see them maintaining or building on their 2nd most headed shots (101) and joint-most headed goals (15) from last season.
Liverpool will have to be more careful in possession as only Fulham and Crystal Palace were dispossessed more times.
Essential Liverpool FPL Stats | Defensive Numbers
Defensively, Liverpool have a lot of work to do. Even before van Dijk and Joe Gomez (£5.0m) were lost to injury last season, Liverpool were struggling with basic defensive concepts.
The play below begins with a positional catastrophe – not the only one in that game. Notice how both Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson (£7.0m) are behind the central defenders.
The ball is already in the air and rather than playing a U, the Liverpool defence is playing an N. This is a tactical error, and a basic one at that. These mistakes are fundamental and systemic.
We remember Leeds’ second goal because of the confusing blunder by Virgil Van Dijk, and rest assured we will get to that. That blunder also comes as a result of bad positioning: this time by Gomez. Note in the image below where Gomez is located, and where Liverpool would love to have a teammate.
The third goal begins with an out of position van Dijk. Noticing a pattern? He should be where the check is so that he can recognise runs into the box and meet them.
Also of note are Fabinho (£5.5m) and Mateusz Klich (£5.5m). This is the moment where Klich begins to make his run past Jones…
In Image 4, we see how much ground Klich has covered compared to Fabinho. Fabinho has shut down mentally. Also look at the impact van Dijk being out of position.
While these issues keep my expectations for Liverpool defence low, they’re not as low as a £4.0m price-tag. Konstantinos Tsimikas (£4.0m) presents an opportunity with upside as he has shown with his recent assists in pre-season.
The result of these fundamental issues, compounded by injuries and players playing out of position, saw Liverpool concede the 4th most big chances (81).
Teams that like to attack more from their right side could benefit from the introduction of Tsimikas into a team that conceded 89 more crosses from the left than the right. Much will be asked of him, and this is probably why there will be constant chatter about James Milner (£5.0m) taking over that spot at some point.
Lastly, I thought it important to note that Liverpool conceded the 2nd fewest headed shots last season (66). This could decrease more with the return of their talismanic centre-back.
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