22 February 2011

Defense Infographics

For reasons only explained by sheer masochism, I spent most of yesterday looking up some defensive statistics. In lieu of posting a much-loved data dump, I thought I'd dress it up a bit. I needed an excuse to open Adobe Illustrator anyway. There are some hard numbers in the comments if you're so inclined.

Below are two infographics. The first demonstrates how many different defenses Liverpool have used this season. Through 40 games, we've seen 22 starting backlines. Extended injuries for Carragher and Agger coupled with the usual "reserve" lineup in the Europa League have led to more changes than usual, but it's fairly evident that Hodgson never had a preferred back four. We've seen less "rotation" since Dalglish took the reins, despite the shift to three at the back in two matches (pictured as a five-man defense below). Edit: In the comments sections, there was a suggestion to differentiate between games under Dalglish and Hodgson. Kenny's nine games are now in italic text in this graphic. That Liverpool have been conceding more goals than usual this season goes hand in hand with increased rotation; there's a reason Benitez – so often criticized for rotating players – changed his backline as little as possible. Liverpool's tactics under the last manager may have been a bigger factor in conceding more goals, though.

The second infographic shows who's been on the field when Liverpool's conceded. Through 40 games, Liverpool have conceded 39 goals. Listed are each defenders' total appearances and total goals conceded. As the fine print in the graphic explains, that comes with two caveats. One, I'm not counting appearances where a defender came on a sub in the last ten minutes if Liverpool didn't concede. Two, I'm only counting games where the player was actually a defender – also known as the Fabio Aurelio rule. However, as said above, Kelly and Johnson are included for the two games where Liverpool played "three at the back."

As always with large infographics, click on the image for full-size in a new window. Because of the size of these, that's probably not necessary.

In the comments section is the goals per appearance ratio for each of the nine defenders.


nate said...

Skrtel = 1.0 goals per appearance
Appearances: 33
Conceded: 33

Johnson = 1.08 goals per appearance
Appearances: 26
Conceded: 28

Carragher = 0.88 goals per appearance
Appearances: 24
Conceded: 21

Kyrgiakos = 1.05 goals per appearance
Appearances: 22
Conceded: 23

Kelly = 0.6 goals per appearance
Appearances: 20
Conceded: 12

Konchesky = 1.11 goals per appearance
Appearances: 18
Conceded: 20

Agger = 0.78 goals per appearance
Appearances: 18
Conceded: 14

Aurelio = 0.6 goals per appearance
Appearances: 5
Conceded: 3

Wilson = 0.75 goals per appearance
Appearances: 4
Conceded: 3

drew said...

The stats for Kelly are remarkable, even with small sample size. Lad has quite a future in front of him if fate doesn't fuck it up somehow.

Great graphic; really the only thing (and I don't know how you would include it) would be some sort of line to mark off the managerial change; our defensive line is playing, what, at least a good 10-15 yards higher up the field now?

Anonymous said...

Excellent write-up...just 1 minor mistake there as Kyrgiakos wears number 16 instead of 15

Liverpool Football Blog said...

Konchesky has by far the worst ratio. Thank God we're shot of him.

Interesting to see the stats confirm what we all thought, when Kelly and Agger play, we don't concede as many goals.

nate said...


That's not a minor mistake, that's an awful mistake. Don't know why I relied on my terrible memory for the numbers. Sigh. Just awful. When I get some coffee in me, I'll probably fix the two images.

Thanks much.

nate said...

As per Anonymous' helpful correction, Kyrgiakos' number has been fixed in the above two graphics. Thank God the readers are smarter than I am.

Also, as per drew's suggestion, the managerial change is somewhat highlighted in the first image. The nine games under Dalglish are in italic text. Interestingly, Dalglish used the same defense in 4 of 9 matches – 2 wins 1 draw 1 loss – and five different defenses in the other five games.

Thanks again guys.