Now that Luis Suárez’ season is almost certainly over, and the world and his wife are lining up to denounce him from all angles, I thought I’d take a look at how he has improved statistically this season.
The headline statistic is twenty-three league goals scored instead of eleven, and thirty goals in all competitions, to become only the second Liverpool player (after Fernando Torres in his debut season) to reach the mark since Robbie Fowler did so in 1995/96.
But how exactly has Suárez doubled his goalscoring productivity in the league in only a few extra games?
I noted recently in a previous article, which you can read here, that the Uruguayan striker has improved his shot placement since last season, which partially explains his improved form. At the same time, that only accounts for shots on target; has Suárez increased the proportion of shots that he has put on target this season? The below graph reveals all…
Suárez has been more accurate with his shooting, but not actually by all that much: he has improved by just six percent on last season. In my last blog (here) I noted that Suárez is heavily responsible for Liverpool being so wasteful; to recap, in terms of shooting accuracy he is ranked a lowly seventeenth out of the twenty-three players who have had fifty shots-or-more this season.
Perhaps the most interesting thing in this graph is how Suárez has improved as the season has progressed, to peak in time for the climax of the campaign.
We can probably rule out shooting accuracy as the main cause of his improved goal tally. Do the figures for the proportion of shots he scores with tell us anything?
Coincidentally, as with shooting accuracy, Suárez has seen a 6% improvement here too, though of course from a starting position of 10%, a 6% rise is therefore equivalent to a 60% increase in productivity. Whilst this is good, again he’s only ranked 17th out of the 23 most frequent shooters in the Premier League on this measure, even after a massive improvement.
The fact that Suárez has taken an extra 59 shots than he did last season explains why he hasn’t seen a 60% increase in his goal scoring; he’s still very wasteful with his shooting a lot of the time.
When we look at his record at scoring clear-cut chances, we can start to see why his scoring record has improved. He had 28 such chances last season and has had 30 in this campaign, so the numbers are close enough for an excellent comparison:
Quite an improvement! His ability to convert the big chances has more than doubled since last season; moving from 25% to a whopping 53%.
To give that some context, of the aforementioned 23 most frequent shooters in the English top flight, only four of them have converted a higher proportion of clear-cut chances than Luis, and none has attempted to score any more than half as many as Suárez has.
From bagging seven of his twenty-eight big chances for Kenny Dalglish last season to sixteen of thirty for Brendan Rodgers; of Suárez twelve extra goals, nine have been from the golden opportunities that strikers dream of, and this is probably the main reason why the Uruguayan has scored so many overall.
He may have played his last game for the Reds, but he has certainly given Kopites plenty to cheer about in his ninety-six appearances to date. Fingers crossed he is still at Anfield next season and is capable of further improvement still.
Related posts you might like:
Blame Suárez – Liverpool’s striker is more harshly treated by refs than most entire teams are.
Selling Suárez Would Be Senseless – With rumours of an approach from Manchester City, the stats show that Liverpool can not afford to lose the Uruguayan striker.
Luis Suarez: Pantomime Villain – Football fans around the UK boo Suarez because he is considered to be a cheat. How does he fare compare to his contemporaries in the ‘dark arts’?
Evra-gate: The Impact on Suárez Performance – How did an accusation of racial abuse affect Luis Suárez’ productivity on the pitch?