Which Teams Are Best At Defeating A Parked Bus?

Liverpool’s win against Tottenham Hotspur last weekend was obviously well received by Reds everywhere, but at the same time it didn’t teach them anything new about the strengths and weaknesses of their team. Jürgen Klopp’s men have been ruthless this season against teams who play a high line, as Spurs did to suicidal effect at Anfield, but they have seemed toothless against the low block favoured by the Premier League’s lesser lights.

The Tomkins Times published a very good article this week (here) which looked at how Liverpool have fared against teams who have ‘parked the bus’ against them this season. The findings were certainly interesting, but in my continual quest for context with statistical analysis, I thought it would be worthwhile comparing the Reds to the other members of the big six to see how each team has fared. My assumption is that all teams struggle against a low block, but is that actually the case?

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Is Time On Liverpool’s Side?

We keep hearing (from Jose Mourinho, mainly) that Liverpool are challenging for the title due to them not having to play in Europe (as if Champions League income doesn’t help with that particular ‘chore’, but let’s ignore that for now).

Whilst it is true that the other teams in the top four have played more games than the Reds this season, I thought it’d be interesting to break it down per player to see what the extra workload is. After all, these teams have bigger squads as they have more money to spend, so what difference do the extra games make per man?

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Reds vs Blues: Shots On Target

Having recently taken a look at the transfer spending of the current Premier League top three, as well as reviewing their record with big chances, I thought it was time to look at how they have fared with shots on target. As Liverpool and Manchester City meet at Anfield this weekend, I will look at their stats in this article, and factor in Chelsea ahead of their visit to Merseyside in two weeks time.

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It’s A Rich Man’s World (2014)

One of the top ten most read articles on this website is a look at the difference in transfer spending between Liverpool and Manchester City.

Written in May 2012, I have proceeded to add a postscript every time the teams have met since, to measure what has happened in the intervening transfer windows.

As Liverpool are currently deeply involved in a title race with a pair of financially doped teams who they have to play in the next three weeks, I thought I’d post a quick new piece to compare the transfer spending of all three championship challengers.

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The Big Three’s Big Chances

The title of this article is not my attempt to reposition Liverpool as part of a three-team elite alongside the financially doped blue titans of Manchester City and Chelsea; rather, I have decided to follow up my recent piece on Liverpool’s record with big chances with a look at the tallies for their title rivals.

As they both still have to visit Anfield this season, I was very interested to check out their form with regards to top quality goalscoring opportunities.

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Goals (Short and Long Term)

Liverpool are approaching the half way point of 2013/14 in fine fettle. The Reds have taken thirty points from their opening fifteen games, a tally they’ve only bettered at this stage twice in the last ten years.

Not only that, but the goals are generally flying in too, with nine bagged at Anfield inside four days last week. However, before the end of 2013 Liverpool must travel to Tottenham, Manchester City and Chelsea, for a trio of daunting fixtures.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, and Brendan Rodgers can take heart from some stats I’ve recently dug up.

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It’s A Rich Man’s World: Liverpool vs Man City

I update this article each season when Liverpool face Manchester City, as it really emphasises the spending gulf between the two clubs. For the latest figures, scroll to the bottom of the article.

A common stick to beat Kenny Dalglish with was the fact that he spent somewhere north of £100m on players, yet finished a massive thirty-seven points behind the champions, Manchester City.

When comparing the net-spend of the two clubs since Manchester City were first bought by Thaksin Shinawatra in the summer of 2006/07, it is pretty clear why there has been a gulf between the two teams recently. It also makes for an interesting comparison as the 2007/08 season was the first full season where the Reds were under the ownership of Tom Hicks and George Gillett. Continue reading