As a statto, it’s always a joy to find a new source of football information that you’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s a rare treat these days, but today I stumbled across this.
It contains the data on how long each team in the Premier League has been leading and losing this season, and for previous campaigns too. I thought it was worth a look to see how Liverpool compare to their own past efforts, and those of other top performing sides too.
The title of this article is borne out of the fact that Liverpool have been leading matches for more minutes (1,557) than any other team in the Premier League this season. Scoring the joint-most goals in the opening fifteen minutes of games this season (twelve), and the twelfth most for the Premier League era overall has no doubt helped with this.
However, when factoring losing minutes in to the equation too, it is Manchester City who have the best ‘minutes difference’ this season, and considering that they have played two games fewer than most teams, that’s an impressive feat.
It won’t surprise you to see that the below table bears a considerable resemblance to the actual league table.
I thought it’d be interesting to see how Liverpool are performing compared to previous seasons, as they currently have more points than at this point in any previous Premier League campaign, and indeed more already than each of the last four mustered in total.
Unfortunately the data source did not have this information for the whole of the Premier League era, so I have decided to go back for ten seasons; a nice round number, which coincides with when Rafa Benitez first took charge at Anfield.
Whilst the miracle of Istanbul never stops being a remarkable achievement, learning that the team responsible only lead league games for a net total of seventeen minutes across the entire season only accentuates this thought further.
As a demonstration of Liverpool’s progress this season, notice how the three seasons prior to 2013/14 appear at the bottom end of the above table. As is stands, the Reds have a net minutes difference of 284 minutes more this season than in the last three campaigns combined.
Despite 2008/09 seeing the best points tally in the last nine completed seasons, it’s worth noting that it hasn’t been the best for minutes difference, though as you probably recall, there were a lot of matches that were won late on, which doesn’t help build a leading minutes tally. Not that it matters as long as a game is won of course; this data is more a measure of match dominance, rather than simply a team’s ability to win football games.
Let’s see how dominant the current Liverpool team have been compared to the Premier League elite across the last decade. Here’s the top ten, and you’ll notice that some championship winning sides are absent.
In terms of net time winning games, Brendan Rodgers’ current Liverpool team is the third most dominant team in the last decade. If you stop consider the money spent on assembling some of other teams on this list, you realise that the current incumbent of the Anfield hotseat deserves a hell of a lot of credit indeed.
But it seems that Brendan Rodgers has built a team that can generally start games well and dominate them thereafter, and that can only bode well for the future.