2012 and 2013: Chalk and Cheese

I wrote a piece in September, looking at how much Liverpool had improved from 2012 to 2013. To recap, at the time of writing, the 2013 Liverpool were just four points behind the previous year’s total, with eighteen games in hand.

As the Reds have just finished the year in fifth place in the table, despite signing off with two defeats, I thought I’d revisit the figures to see just how much they have improved by.

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Patience Required

Whilst I’m a frequent advocate of football fans showing patience (be it towards a newly assembled side, an under-performing £35m striker, or following a narrow, undeserved defeat), following Liverpool’s 1-1 draw at Sunderland my plea is for the Liverpool team and their star striker to show more patience themselves.

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Rodgers Stopped Suárez, Can He Get More Out Of Him?

Now that the conclusion of the transfer window (plus some idiocy by someone at Anfield) has left Liverpool with only two recognised senior strikers, it is of paramount importance that Brendan Rodgers is able to maximise their goalscoring potential.

As one of them (Fabio Borini) is largely unproven at the highest level, the bulk of the burden will fall upon the shoulders of Luis Suárez. I noted in a previous article that two of his five league appearances last season where he failed to create a single chance for a team-mate came against Swansea City, so it seems that the new Liverpool manager certainly knows how to nullify Suárez; can he make the most of him?

I have reviewed Suárez’ stats against Swansea, and they do show that his performances were below average for the season as a whole. In fairness to the Uruguayan hitman, the whole Liverpool team did not put in their best performances against the Jacks last season, so I have also included the team’s stats to give some context to how Suárez fared against the south Wales outfit. Firstly, a look at the passing figures:

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Liverpool Summer 2012 Transfer Review

Now that the transfer window has closed for another four months, lets take a look at Liverpool’s dealings. Regular readers will know I tend to focus on the positive, but hopefully the below provides a balanced view on the various deals that have taken place at Anfield this summer.

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Reds Show Some Improvement Against WBA. No, Really

I didn’t see Liverpool’s 3-0 defeat at The Hawthorns yesterday (perhaps fortunately), but for a bad loss there were certainly some encouraging statistics.

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Passing Progress

Liverpool concluded their pre-season preparations for the 2012/13 campaign with a 3-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen at Anfield on Sunday. Whilst I missed the game myself, I saw some very interesting and encouraging post-match tweets from @AnfieldIndex:

LFC Vs Leverkusen Total Passes: Total: 613 Accurate: 549 Accuracy: 89.56%

Comparing the above stats with Liverpool’s figures from last season illustrates how much more of the ball they’re now having.

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Swansea Stats: Brendan’s Bravery Shines Through

This article first appeared on The Tomkins Times on 11th July 2012. Statistics are for Premier League games only, and were sourced from EPLIndex and WhoScored.

Brendan Rodgers’ Swansea City earned numerous plaudits for their style of play in 2011/12, and the manager has subsequently been rewarded with his first big football management role. But what exactly was it about his management of a smaller team like Swansea that convinced John W Henry and co. that the Ulsterman was the right man for the enormous job at Anfield? I have taken a look at the Swans’ statistics to try to find out.

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Rodgers’ Rocky Road?

In an interview published on the club’s official website yesterday, new Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers said:

“The first game I look for is the first game, and I won’t look much further than that, to be honest”.

With the release of the fixture list today for the 2012/13 season, it appears that Rodgers may need to look beyond the first fixture sooner rather than later after all. 

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Kenny Goes, Who Comes In?

Kenny Dalglish has today been sacked as manager of Liverpool football club. For me, this was the wrong decision (as I have previously explained in detail here), and he should have remained in charge for 2012/13 at the very least.

Despite winning more trophies in the last three months than Harry Redknapp has won in the previous four years, or Arsene Wenger has in the last seven, Dalglish’s contract was terminated. If a sentence ever demonstrated how finishing in the top four has become the be-all-and-end-all in football, that might well be it. Continue reading