I think every Liverpool supporter can't help but feel impressed by our creativity and general attacking play this season, even though we may have leaked to many soft goals. Everyone knows by now that i'm 100% behind Rodgers and genuinely excited about the direction and brand of football we are starting to develop. I have wanted to take a look at the stats for a while now and see if the feel good factor I sense while watching the games actually shows up clearly in a trend that can be viewed and analysed.
Creating Chances to Score:
Believe it or not, Liverpool have created more chances in the season so far than any other European team (LFC have created 402 chances which is 77 more than Man United, 84 more than Chelsea and a mere 121 more than Barcelona (although they have played 2 games less). Even more impressive is the balance of players and positions who are creating these chances:
So that's two full backs, two wingers, our creative midfield player and our creative frontman playing off a goal poacher. Even looking at the percentage of chances created per position shows we are really stretching teams all over and causing them major problems trying to defend it. In recent years, we have made sure our two banks of 4 were solid and always in position to defend which left the majority of the creativeness through the front two players, ie. your Gerrards, Torres, Suarez. This means your depending on these talisman not to have an off day or the opposition keeping them quiet. Now even if one of our world class players have an off day, the brand of football we are playing will still create many chances where as before we might have struggled.
Being Clinical in Front of Goal:
Creating chances is one thing but to be a top side and to compete with the big boys we need to be more clinical in front of goal. The first half of the season really let us down having only one regonised striker at the club, Surez who's shot accuracy stats isn't good enough to carry a team on his own. Things have started to improve with the acquisition of Sturridge but all our attacking players need to either step up a level of accuracy or source players that can.
Below is a look at the shooting accuracy of our more attacking players:
Compared to our chance creating stats we fair pretty poorly with only Sturridge slightly over 50% accuracy(some of them are based on games before he signed for us) in the team. A special note for Downing's poor showing not only for his dismal 27% accuracy but the fact one of his shots was so far off range that it barely sneaks into the top left caption. If our coaching staff can get another 10% improvement out of most of our attacking players we will have one of the most impressive attacking sides in the country.
Report Card - How we compare with the rest:
Overall i was pleasantly surprised how we compared against the top teams in the country on most stats(I know games are not won on stats but it's a good indication of progession). One of the most damning statistic (apart from conceeding goals which I may concentrate on in a follow up at the end of the season) was shooting accuracy as already mentioned. When your creating more chances than everyone else but have a worse accuracy percentage compared to most, then your undoing most of the good work. Below is a report card style comparison of us versus the top 5 teams in the country.
The stand out weakness in comparison are: Shooting Accuracy, Goals conceded, Goals scored from set peices and the amount of 50-50 tackles and defensive blocks and tackles we put in.
The stand out Strengths: Obviously matching the league leaders for possession passing accuracy and beating them in chances created is a definite sign of progress.
The stand out weakness in comparison are: Shooting Accuracy again, Goals conceded. Only narrowly behind in goals scored from set peices and defensive blocks and tackles we put in.
The stand out Strengths: Matching the current champions for possession passing accuracy and beating them in chances created, goals scored is a definite sign of progress.
The stand out weakness in comparison are: Shooting Accuracy again, Goals conceded and goals scored from set peices.
The stand out Strengths: Passing accuracy, chances created, goals scored. Pretty much neck and neck overall
The stand out weakness in comparison are: The only two are Shooting Accuracy yet again and defensive tackles/blocks.
The stand out Strengths: Pretty much match or beat spurs for all statistics which is promising.
The stand out weakness in comparison are: Shooting Accuracy again and again, defensive tackles/blocks and 50-50 challenges which surprised me from an Arsenal point of view.
The stand out Strengths: Pretty much match even on all creative and attacking statistics.
Again as well all know there is big defensive frailties within our team. I'm not suggesting that we are going to out score our opponents every week but in my opinion it's harder to instill the creative believe and genuine attacking potential we are currently showing than trying to shore up our defensive leaks.
I'm also not suggesting that we are now a top four club and going to have a title run next year. What i'm merely showing that there has been alot of progress made in such a short space of time. All we can ask of the players and manager is to show is some progress every year and in return we should remain positive and upbeat about the direction we are going.
We may not be Barca but i'm truly enjoying watching Liverpool FC play every week which I honestly can't say I have felt over the last number of years.
So in summary i think thereis alot more to be positive about than to complain about. Those who are still not convinced by Rodgers should enjoy the football that is being served up and maybe give him another season to win you over.
One famous philosophers quote really sum's up what i'm trying to get across:
"This is a message for possibly the best supporters in the world.
We need a 12th man.
Where are you?
Come on, let’s be ‘aving you”