I’m reviving a post I put up around this time last year, comparing where Liverpool stands now to the previous two league campaigns.
These are solely stats for the Premiership and don’t include yesterday’s win over Newcastle, even though it’d make this year’s totals look a bit better. 19 games – the midpoint of the season – seems more fitting. Plus, demonstrating my laziness, I already had numbers for the last two seasons.
Points total after 19 games:
Results over 19 games:
08/09: 12 wins, 6 draws, 1 loss
07/08: 10 wins, 7 draws, 2 losses
06/07: 10 wins, 4 draws, 5 losses
League position after 19 games:
07/08: 4th place
06/07: 3rd place
# of points behind 1st place:
07/08: -10, with a game in hand
Goals scored after 19 games:
Goals against after 19 games:
08/09: Gerrard 6; Keane, Kuyt, Torres 5; Alonso, Riera 2; Arbeloa, Benayoun, Babel, Carragher 1
07/08: Torres 9; Gerrard 7; Babel, Kuyt, Voronin 3; Alonso, Benayoun 2; Hyypia, Sissoko 1
06/07: Kuyt 6; Bellamy 5; Alonso, Gerrard 3; Crouch, Garcia, Gonzalez 2; Agger, Carragher, Fowler, Riise 1
# of games Liverpool failed to score in:
08/09: 4 [Villa (a), Stoke (h), Fulham (h), West Ham (h)]
07/08: 5 [Pompey (a), Birmingham (h), Blackburn (a), United (h), City (a)]
06/07: 7 [Everton (a), Chelsea (a), Bolton (a), United (a), Arsenal (a), Boro (a), Portsmouth (h)]
08/09: 6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss; 20 points out of 27
07/08: 6 wins, 3 draws, 1 loss; 21 points out of 30
06/07: 2 wins, 2 draws, 5 losses; 8 points out of 27
08/09: 6 wins, 4 draws; 22 points out of 30
07/08: 4 wins, 4 draws, 1 loss; 16 points out of 27
06/07: 8 wins, 2 draws; 26 points out of 30
Things that stand out:
• Before yesterday’s match at Newcastle, Liverpool was behind last season’s pace in terms of goals scored. And I reckon that might have something to do with Torres’ absence.
• Liverpool’s home form, while better than last season’s, is still worse than in 06/07, when the team went 14-4-1 at Anfield. At the same time, the away form, which has been much heralded, is only marginally different from last season’s results.
• For all the grief about the infuriating four home draws, including three scoreless, it’s the same amount as at this time last season. And Liverpool’s still had less scoreless games than in previous seasons, even if more have happened at Anfield.
• Liverpool’s goals are more equally distributed than last season – again, most likely because others (Gerrard, Keane, and Kuyt) have had to step up with Torres out.
• Regardless of the usual ‘the season’s only half over’ caution, there are still a few worries to keep in the back of the mind.
• The match against Chelsea on February 1st looks incredibly important. In addition, Liverpool still has to travel to United – who are 10 points off the pace with three games in hand.
• Liverpool still looks to have a problem with goals at Anfield. 16 is the smallest return from the past three seasons. And if you include yesterday’s Newcastle match – which makes the totals 10 home games and 10 away – Liverpool’s totaled more goals on the road than at Anfield.
• With trips to Stamford Bridge, the Emirates, Villa Park, and Goodison out of the way, Liverpool arguably has an easier second half of the season.
• Long-term absentees Torres and Skrtel, as well as Aurelio, are soon to return to the line-up. All will improve the squad, especially Torres, whose goals (and presence) have been dearly missed.
• At the same time, Keane’s starting to show promise. Having scored three in his last two starts, the Irishman’s bedding into the side. Most importantly, he’s beginning to click with Gerrard – evidenced by his first goal against Bolton – similarly to how the captain set up many of Torres’ strikes last season. If those two can get on the same wavelength than Gerrard and Torres have, Keane will be especially dangerous. Of course, there still is the small matter of how he and Torres will pair together, and the effect that’ll have on the rest of the line-up.
• Reina led the league in clean sheets in both 06/07 and 07/08. And he’s delivered more scoreless games so far this season than at the same time in the last two campaigns.
• The recent emergence of Insua is also going to be very important. On his day, Aurelio can be one of the best left-backs in the world. He’s an incredibly gifted passer, good on set plays, and can get up and down the flanks. This superb play leading to Torres' goal against Inter sums up many of Aurelio's best qualities. But he’s also made of glass, and has only averaged around 27 games in all competitions in the last two seasons (less than half of the likes of Gerrard, Carragher, et al). And Liverpool’s other left backs under Benitez – Traore, Riise, and Dossena, have disappointed. If Insua can fill that void, and play at the level he’s shown in the last few games, it’ll firm up Liverpool’s already stingy defense.