2013/14 Review – Part One

Over the course of this remarkable season, I have written just under one hundred articles on all manner of Reds-related things. Most of them looked at one statistic or another, so I thought it would be good to post updates to some of my favourite articles from the campaign just gone, to see if any particular trends or theories that I identified during this season continued to the bitter end, or sank without trace.

I will post links to the original articles, a brief explanation of what they looked at, and then the updated stats and comments. (You can also now read Part Two of the review here).

Cissokho’s Coming For Your Place, Jose! A comparison between new loan signing Aly Cissokho’s stats and those of existing Liverpool left back, Jose Enrique. I’ve also covered them in more depth in my look at Alberto Moreno’s stats here.

Who’d have foreseen the emergence of Flanagan, eh? Cissokho only took Enrique’s place once the Spaniard was injured, and then the Scouse Cafu took it from the hapless Aly. Here are the positive stats I pinpointed for Cissokho from 2012/13, and how he performed this season…

Cissokho StatsAerial duels: A bit of a dip, which was maybe down to teams in England being better in the air, or maybe just small sample syndrome. Probably both.

Defensive errors: Cissokho played the most minutes of any Liverpool defender without any errors this season, though considering how error prone the rest are, is that such a big achievement? He matched expectation at least, and Enrique found time to make two…

Dribbled past and creativity: Very small samples here, hard to judge.

So there we are. Not that I need reminding, but Cissokho showed the issues with judging players on stats – he performed at a level close to what the figures suggested he would. Alas, that wasn’t good enough, and he won’t be missed on Merseyside next season.

Shooting Pains A review of the Liverpool squad’s shot conversion figures for the previous four seasons. Daniel Sturridge was the only one who had converted shots at above league average rate of 10% across his Liverpool career.

As you’d expect when a team scores 101 league goals, there were a few players above the league average line this season. As in the original article, I have excluded penalties which is why Gerrard is far lower in the table than you might expect.

LFC Shot Conversion 201314Coutinho is the big let down for me in this table, as he had the third most shots in the squad, and as Lallana might be described as ‘Coutinho plus goals’, I can see why he is being targetted. Hopefully Sterling can continue his development and maintain or maybe even improve on these figures next season.

Reds Bounce Back Written in September, I noted how Liverpool had yet to lose two league games in a row under the management of Brendan Rodgers.

I’m sure you don’t need me to point out that Liverpool lost back-to-back games with Manchester City and Chelsea in the period between Christmas and New Year. However, in two seasons under Rodgers that is the only time it has happened, and considering that was two away games in three days against the two heaviest spending clubs in the land, it wasn’t that surprising.

Here is Brendan Rodgers’ complete Liverpool record in league games following a league defeat.

LFC Post PL Defeats BR eraA record of eleven wins, three draws and one defeat is not to be sniffed at, and as Liverpool only had three seasons in the twenty prior to Brendan Rodgers’ arrival where they didn’t lose more than once in a row, you can see that the Ulsterman has a superb record on this front.

Liverpool’s Most Successful Formation Is… 4-4-2, believe it or not!

But what was the record in 2013/14? Here’s the answer…

LFC Formations PPG 201314Brendan Rodgers continued to display his tactical versatility throughout the season, using seven different starting formations in total. Considering that Arsenal (as an example) have used the same formation for every league match for the last three seasons, I think it’s to Rodgers’ credit that he has a far wider group of tactics and formations to call upon.

Obviously we can’t draw much from samples this small, but it’s clear that Liverpool made good use of the diamond in midfield, winning six out of seven and scoring over three goals per game on average. I expect to see more of that formation in 2014/15.

At the other end, the Reds conceded 1.5 goals on average when playing with a 4-3-3, which was their most used formation this season. It still brought in just shy of three goals up front though, so all wasn’t lost. That said, Liverpool only won 1.41 points per game with 4-3-3 in 2012/13 too, so it doesn’t seem to work for them for some reason.

Brendan’s Bottom Half Beatings A piece from November, which noted that Rodgers had a phenomenal record against teams in the bottom half of the league, if not so much against the top half…

Let’s see if Liverpool’s great start against the bottom half (with five wins and a draw from the first six) continued throughout the season.

LFC vs Bottom HalfNot quite as impressive, but it was still the club’s joint best performance in the Premier League era, only missing top spot by a single goal of goal difference. Bloody Crystal Palace, eh?!

At the time of writing the article, Rodgers’ record against the top half wasn’t great, with the current season eighth bottom of the last twenty-two years. Presumably the big wins against big teams in the second half of the season changed that?

LFC vs Top Half

Yes indeed! It seems strange to think now, after big wins against Spurs (twice), United, Arsenal and Everton, that one of the big question marks over Brendan Rodgers at the end of 2012/13 was his record in the big games. He certainly put that to bed over the second half of the last campaign.

That’s all for the first round up, there will be more to come in due course! Don’t forget to check out my articles on Liverpool’s transfer targets.

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