The Truth About Sterling’s Stats

As the Raheem Sterling contract saga rumbles interminably on, the following tweet appeared in my timeline on Wednesday night.

The stats here are undoubtedly impressive, not least for a 20 year old playing in a team that has struggled to get close to the heights of 2013/14. They don’t take any account of how much time Sterling has spent on the pitch though, so I’ve taken a closer look by factoring that information in.

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Coutinho to Sturridge – Liverpool’s Best Creative Partnership?

Any Liverpool fan you talk to will wax lyrical about the magic of the Coutinho-Sturridge partnership, and how the Brazilian will be setting up chances galore for the England international when he finally returns from injury.

Has this actually been the case regularly in the past though? Everyone remembers fantastic assists from Coutinho to Sturridge against Newcastle, Fulham, Everton and Arsenal, but what’s the chance creation story for their whole time together in the Premier League?

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SLiCk: How Liverpool’s New Front Three Interact

On the 6th December, Liverpool hosted Sunderland at Anfield, and laboured their way to a 0-0 draw in which they only had two shots on target. Rickie Lambert lead the line that day, with a threesome of Sterling, Lallana and Coutinho (can you see where SLiCk comes from now?!) behind him.

The match was Liverpool’s twenty-second of the season, yet it was only the sixth time that this trio had appeared on the pitch at the same time. Now that they’ve played together in the Reds’ last five games, with impressive results, I thought I’d take a quick look at the impact they have had and how well they have linked up.

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Brendan Rodgers: Sub Standard?

By scoring with his first touch in the Reds’ 3-0 win at Southampton, Raheem Sterling bagged the seventh league goal by a Liverpool substitute since Brendan Rodgers took charge of the club in the summer of 2012.

I wasn’t sure if seven goals was a particularly decent contribution by Liverpool’s bench or not, and it turns out it isn’t, as the table below demonstrates.

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Hull City 3 Liverpool 1: Stats Zone Analysis

On the face of it, the headline stats suggested that this was a fairly even contest. You wouldn’t expect to lose a match 3-1 when you’ve had 61.5% of the possession, created seven chances to your opponents’ six, had an equal number of shots on target (four), and only three fewer shots in total. Yet looking deeper into the numbers reveals where the issues were.

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Sinclair vs Sterling

With Stewart Downing having packed his Anfield bags and joined Liverpool Mk II with Joe Cole and Andy Carroll at West Ham, attention turns to who Liverpool might bring in to replace him.

Whilst fans may be dreaming about the likes of Willian joining as the Reds potentially profit from Anzhi’s financial crisis, the far more likely option is Scott Sinclair signing from Manchester City. The bookmakers have drastically cut their odds with regards to this transfer happening, and of course he worked with Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers in his former life at Swansea City.

I personally hope that the Reds are NOT in the market for Sinclair, and here’s why.

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Graduating With Honours

This first appeared on The Tomkins Times on 4th July 2013.

Liverpool academy director Frank McParland and his team can be mightily pleased with their achievements in 2012/13. This season was a fantastic year for Liverpool’s academy, as several of its graduates made a real impression upon Brendan Rodgers’ first team.

Seven young Reds (Morgan, Suso, Wisdom, Yesil, Sinclair, Coady and Ibe) made their senior debuts for the club, and Raheem Sterling made his first start after three substitute appearances at the tail end of 2011/12, meaning that the Academy provided more new players for the first team than in any previous season in the Premier League era.

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Rodgers’ Young Guns

I read an interesting stat on the @Optajoe twitter feed today:

6 – Liverpool have named three teenagers in their starting XI six times in the PL this season, no other club has done this once. Youth.

The famous trio is Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom and Suso, and here are the matches in question:

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