Should Benteke and Sturridge Play Together?

A couple of tweets from fellow Liverpool stathead @natefc (Twitter, blog) caught my eye on Sunday as the Reds slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Newcastle:

Those stats don’t make good reading for Benteke’s match impact when starting (though with/without stats are never really down to just one player) or his partnership, if one pass in an hour can be called that, with Roberto Firmino.

I decided to find the pass, out of morbid curiousity as much as anything…

To be fair, Ibe had a shot at the end of this sequence, so it wasn’t the worst pass of the match by any means (which is easily done when Liverpool misplaced more passes than in any league match for the last five years), but clearly the Reds need more from their front two if they choose to play one. In fairness, Firmino and Benteke exchanged seven passes in the previous league match against Swansea, though none lead to either of them having a shot at goal.

So based on the above stats, should Benteke’s role be limited to that of an impact substitute, or should he perhaps be given a chance up top alongside Daniel Sturridge?

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Christian Benteke y algunos pensamientos filosóficos

Here’s the latest Spanish translation by James Hillyard (Twitter), and here’s the original version.

Escribí este artículo a principios de Septiembre, para la última edición del excelente We Are Liverpool, una revista para fanáticos. Mucho ha pasado en Anfield desde ese momento, pero con la vuelta de Benteke a los entrenamientos va a ser interesante ver si las estadísticas en este artículo siguen siendo relevantes bajo el mando de Jürgen Klopp.

Este tweet reciente de @WhoScored me llamo a atención mientras intentaba soportar otro fin de semana interminable de receso internacional:

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Analysis: Chelsea 1 Liverpool 3

I could hardly let this result pass without making a few observations, even though I haven’t actually seen the full match. In truth, I tweeted most of what follows on Sunday, but I figured it was worth collating here too.

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Christian Benteke and Philosophical Thoughts

I wrote this piece for the final issue of the excellent We Are Liverpool fanzine, in early September. A lot has happened at Anfield since then of course, but with Benteke reportedly back in training, it’ll be interesting to see if the points raised in this article remain relevant under Jürgen Klopp’s management.

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Analysis: Arsenal 0 Liverpool 0

Arsenal and Liverpool played out a very entertaining 0-0 draw on Monday night, though there was enough goal mouth action to have seen any number of goals.

Nobody would consider Coutinho and Benteke as a forward partnership in the conventional sense, but as the Reds created a very healthy twelve chances at The Emirates, I want to take a quick look at how the two attackers linked up in this game, and across the season so far.

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Analysis: Liverpool 1 Bournemouth 0

One of the things I thought I’d monitor this season is which players top the rankings for various stats in each Premier League match. Against Bournemouth, Coutinho became the first player in 2015/16 to have eight shots in a game.

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Analysis: Stoke 0 Liverpool 1

I will not be able to dedicate as much time to this blog in future as I used to, so my aim this season is to do a quick post for every match, rather than the longer articles which take too much time to research and write. These will often be just one or two things that I’ve noticed, and rarely in-depth, but hopefully I’ll spot something that you didn’t, or provide a little context to something that you did.

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The Truth About Benteke and Crosses

Normally when Liverpool sign (or are heavily linked) to a player, I take a look at their stats from the previous season, to see what the numbers suggest the new boy might bring to the Reds in the coming campaign.

With Christian Benteke however, there is one major point of interest, thanks to this interview with his manager Tim Sherwood, which included the following:

Sherwood has also noted that Liverpool’s number of crosses this season – 409 – is the lowest in the top division. “We cross more balls into the box than any other club in the league and Christian has said that he feeds off crosses,” Sherwood said. “There’s no point going to a club where they don’t cross the ball.”

Despite the fact that Sherwood is obviously keen to hang on to the Belgian striker, and also that ‘Tactics Tim’ is a figure of fun for Liverpool fans for 99% of the time, Kopites (or at least those disinterested with the notion of signing Benteke for £32.5m) have taken his comments to heart; do a search for ‘Benteke crosses’ on Twitter, and you’ll find plenty of tweets along those lines from pundits and Liverpool fans alike:

You get the idea, and whilst it is true that Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool cross less often than every other team in the Premier League, a little dig deeper reveals some very interesting facts.

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