As has become a weekly trend, Monday's image of the day...
This week, the average position of Liverpool's ten outfield starters in the last two matches, according to ESPN Soccernet. The blue circles, the average position against Everton, superimposed atop the graphic from yesterday's match at Blackburn. As always, click the image for full-size in a new window.
Summed up in four words: more expansive, further forward.
I'd like to make special note of two players: Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard. Cole stayed far wider against Blackburn, actually operating mainly on the flank. Not only did this better protect Liverpool's vulnerable left, but Cole also provided the cross, albeit from a broken-down set play, from this area – with his left foot, no less. And Gerrard truly attacked with more license, playing as a second striker basically in a 4-4-2, preventing Torres from being completely isolated in yet another match.
But in almost every regard, Liverpool's players are yards higher up the pitch. Carragher actually spent more time in Blackburn's half, and did well as a makeshift full-back, arguably more suited to the position in Hodgson's system than Glen Johnson. Skrtel and Kyrgiakos are not only further forward, but with space between them, not permanently under threat while protecting their own penalty box. Lucas and Meireles are on the "right" side of the center circle. In fact, on the whole, Liverpool's players are further forward than in this fixture last season (starters are circled), which also finished 2-1 (and it's worth noting that Liverpool were definitely 4-4-2 in last year's match).
Now, admittedly, Blackburn made it much easier than Everton did, and the home team will almost always have more license to impose its tactics on the opposition rather than vice versa. Liverpool's home form, while shaky (see: Blackpool, among others) is far less of a problem than away form. And again, as with The Guardian's chalkboards, these graphics aren't gospel. But, as written in the match review, we finally saw signs of progress yesterday. Whether Liverpool can maintain this progress away to Bolton next Sunday will be a much better test. One match can be either a turning point or an aberration.