How troubling is Liverpool’s start?


Jonathan Wilson takes a look at Liverpool’s start of the premiership where they have collected just 2 points from a possible 15 and find themselves 18th in the table.

” Not since 1903 have Liverpool had a worse start to the season but for the most part their supporters seem relatively sanguine. The fixture list has not been kind, offering up home games against three of the sides likely to fill the top four positions in the Premier League at the end of the season and testing away games at West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland. And Liverpool have played pretty well – even in the home defeat by Arsenal, when they ended up comfortably beaten 2-0, there was an hour or so in which they controlled the ball.

The perception is of individual errors having undermined decent team performances and the assumption is that once those are ironed out, particularly as the fixtures become a little easier, there will be significant improvement.”


” In 33 of 38 league games Liverpool had more shots than their opponents. In a table of shots on goal in league games, Liverpool were fourth. They missed five of their six penalties and hit the woodwork a total of 33 times; had even half of those attempts gone in Liverpool would have finished the season with the third best goal difference.

Egil Olsen, the Norway coach who has invested vast amounts of time studying chance creation, insists that in three out of four games the team who creates more chances wins.”


” Average possession hasn’t actually gone up quite as much as you might expect, with Opta figures showing an increase from 55.2% to 55.7%. Nor has the number of passes attempted gone up that much: Liverpool have attempted 2,599, which extrapolates to 19,752 over the whole season, as opposed to 18,794 last season.

As Liverpool face weaker opposition that figure is likely to rise further. Already there has been a marked improvement in pass completion, up from 80.9% to 86%, and from 73.24% to 78.9% in the opposition half. To put that into context, last year’s figures were the best for Liverpool over a full season since Opta began collating data in 2006-07.

The problem is all too familiar. Last season Liverpool converted only 9.13% of their chances, the lowest figure since Opta began producing its reports. It had been 13.59% the previous season but then Liverpool managed just 11.4 shots per game. When Liverpool finished second in 2008-09, they had 15.1 shots per game and converted 13.46% of their chances. But if 9.13% looked bad, this season’s figure is far worse: a meagre 5.97%.” 


Continue reading: The question: How troubling is Liverpool’s start?


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