25 July 2011

Infographic – Preseason as Precedent

After constantly intoning that Saturday's overwhelming mediocrity counts for little in the grand scheme of things, I thought I'd actually compare how Liverpool's fared in previous preseasons to the subsequent league campaign. I'm well aware that preseason games don't count for points (among other caveats), but bear with me; it's the best way to force this forced comparison.

For all my repeated insistence that preseason results mean less than zero, there seems some correlation. Over the last ten years, when Liverpool has been very good in preseason, they've almost always had very good league campaigns. And when they've had very bad preseasons (see: the last two years), they've usually had very disappointing seasons.

Since 2001-02, Liverpool have averaged more than two points per preseason game five times: '01-02, '04-05, '05-06, '07-08, and '08-09. Only once did Liverpool subsequently fail to average at least two points per league game: '04-05 – Benitez' first season – which was Liverpool's second-worst campaign in the last decade (of course, Istanbul somewhat made up for it). Otherwise, the club carried July and August's impressive form into the Premiership.

Comparatively, results vary below that two points per game cutoff. Sometimes, Liverpool dramatically improved, as in 2006-07, when the side lost every friendly not on British shores but finished third in the league. Sometimes, Liverpool stayed terrible, as you may remember from last season. But we can conjure excuses for 2010-11's terrible preseason – Liverpool only played three friendlies because Europa League qualification began in July, and any results with Hodgson as manager simply can't be used to establish precedent.

Preseason is preseason is preseason. Be happy when it goes well, and hold your breath until August if you find the need to worry before it's necessary.

Granted, after three preseason games so far this summer, winning two and losing one, Liverpool are right at that two points per game barrier. I guess over the next three – against Galatasaray, Valerenga, and Valencia – we'll find out whether the upcoming season will be a successful one.

PPG difference from preseason to league:
2010-11: +1.20
2009-10: +0.52
2008-09: +0.01
2007-08: -0.50
2006-07: +0.59
2005-06: -0.84
2004-05: -0.72
2003-04: -0.31
2002-03: +0.25
2001-02: -0.39

Full list of results for each campaign's preseason friendlies are in the comments.


nate said...

2010-11: 0-0 Grasshoppers, 0-1 Kaiserslautern, 0-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
2009-10: 0-0 St Gallen, 0-1 Rapid Vienna, 1-1 Thailand, 5-0 Singapore XI, 0-3 Espanyol, 2-0 Lyn Oslo, 1-2 Atletico Madrid
2008-09: 1-0 Tranmere, 2-1 Lucerne, 1-1 Wisla Krakow, 0-0 Hertha Berlin, 0-0 Villareal, 4-0 Rangers, 4-1 Valerenga, 1-0 Lazio
2007-08: 3-2 Wrexham, 3-0 Crewe, 3-2 Werder Bremen, 2-0 Auxerre, 3-1 South China, 0-0 Portsmouth, 2-1 Shanghai, 1-1 Feyenoord
2006-07: 2-0 Wrexham, 1-0 Crewe, 2-3 Kaiserslautern, 0-2 Grasshoppers, 0-5 Mainz
2005-06: 4-3 Wrexham, 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen, 4-3 Olympiakos
2004-05: 2-1 Wrexham, 5-1 Celtic, 0-1 Porto, 2-1 Roma
2003-04: 3-1 Koln, 1-1 Crewe, 3-1 Thailand, 6-0 Hong Kong XI, 0-0 Ajax, 1-2 Galatasaray, 5-1 Aberdeen, 0-2 Valencia, 6-1 Fleetwood Town
2002-03: 1-0 Le Havre, 5-1 Switzerland XI, 1-1 Wolfsburg, 0-1 Lazio, 0-2 Real Madrid, 2-1 AC Milan, 0-1 Chester
2001-02: 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen, 2-0 Singapore XI, 3-1 Thailand, 1-0 Valencia, 1-3 Ajax, 3-0 Wolves

Mike Georger said...

I just don't get why so many people blow off the preseason games when they don't go well. I don't care about the results, but they can for damn sure show deficiencies. Granted most of the people I've seen pulling the Kevin Bacon "ALL IS WELL!" are also the ones who are screaming about Aquilani's performances being incredible. Can't have it both way folks. I'm not worried because we lost to Hull, I'm worried because our defensive cover has looked horrid.

Faiz said...

yes, but this is the first time within these 10 years, the team change 100% after the second half.

Earl said...

Preseason is to get in shape and get a look at as many players as possible. As long as they avoid injuries, not too concerned about the results. But yeah, the defense has been a little scary.

Anonymous said...

Can you do that analysis for all twenty teams over the period? I know its an ask, but this correlation can still be explained by noise.

kenny d said...

Sad bastard , get a life