I recently wrote a detailed article for The Tomkins Times (which you can read here) which looked at how important shot placement is, and whether poor form in this discipline is at the root of Liverpool’s low scoring record in the league this season.
The findings suggested that it has been, and that Liverpool have placed too many shots in the low-centre of the goal where the goalkeeper has a better than average chance of making a save.
I was reminded of the above article by Steven Gerrard’s three goals in the Merseyside derby last night; all of which appeared to have been hit into the upper half of the goal.
I checked the stats to investigate this further, and firstly found that the captain had placed all four of his shots during the match on target, which in itself is largely unheard of by a Liverpool player this season.
One of Gerrard’s shots went to the low-right of the goal, and the other three (which were all scored) into the high-centre. To give the importance of that shot placing some context, Liverpool had only scored two league goals in the high-centre sector all season prior to last night, so Gerrard more than doubled that tally on his own against the Toffees. As Rafa Benitez said in 2008:
“Stevie is a great finisher and can score great goals, so maybe he can play as a striker. When he is older and does not have the same pace, he will still have the accuracy and he can still be a great finisher”.
Based on last night’s showing, the Spaniard certainly had a point. It’s now up to Kenny to keep the captain fit and get him charging into the box with the regularity of old. The evidence from last night suggests that Gerrard can take care of the rest from there just fine.