Shot Placement: The Suárez Show

I have written previously for The Tomkins Times on how Liverpool’s poor shot placement is the major reason behind the poor scoring record this season. During yesterday’s 3-0 win over Norwich City at Carrow Road, we saw exactly what difference better shot placement can make.

To recap my earlier piece, Liverpool have been hitting too high a proportion of their shots to the low-centre of the goal. As the goalkeeper is usually stood in that area, shooting there makes the chances of a goal being scored so much lower than in if the ball is put in the corners. Obvious perhaps, but proven in the above piece using four seasons worth of Premier League data.

All three of Luis Suárez’ strikes against the Canaries were put into the corners of the goal:

Considering the distance that they were all from, which was far from point-blank even for the first two goals, that’s impressive. Even the Reds’ other shots-on-target, which were both by the much-maligned Stewart Downing, were placed towards the corner of the goal:

The really interesting thing about yesterday’s match for me was that, in terms of overall performance, it was no better than has been seen in many of Liverpool’s games this season; it just had the addition of massively improved finishing which made all the difference.

To prove how much difference the quality of shooting made, I compared some of the other match statistics from yesterday’s match with those in the twelve league games that the Reds have lost this season, and it makes for very interesting reading.

Liverpool’s performance against Norwich City featured:

  • A worse shots-on-target ratio than in seven of their twelve defeats;
  • Fewer shots-on-target than occurred in five losses;
  • Less ball possession than in seven of the league matches that Liverpool have lost;
  • A lower passing accuracy percentage than was posted in seven defeats; and perhaps the most important of all:
  • Liverpool created less chances against Norwich City than in nine of their twelve defeats.

Let me reiterate that: Liverpool created more chances in 75% of their league defeats than they did in their latest 3-0 win. If ever you want a simple statistic to prove how important shot placement is, that may will be it.

More of the same at Wembley next Saturday evening please Reds!

Statistics sourced from EPLIndex. Please take a look at my other articles, a list of which can be found here.