Goals, goals, goals. With Liverpool wasting chance after chance, profligacy to blame for home draws with Norwich, Swansea, and Sunderland as well as away losses to Stoke and Fulham, the number of goals scored has become both millstone and mantra, a clear problem in obvious need of fixing, the major fault keeping the side from reaching its full potential.
But how does this season compare to Liverpool's goal tally in previous campaigns?
18 goals through 15 games is the third-lowest total since 2004-05, behind last season's abomination (by just one) and the 2006-07 campaign. But the most goals scored through 15 games came in 2009-10, where Liverpool had 31 by this point yet finished in 7th, the worst result from these seven seasons. Which makes for poor precedent.
So, is there any correlation with goals and league position?
The best correlation isn't between goals scored and overall points total, it's goals conceded and overall points total. Those two lists are in almost the exact same order. Which would be good news for this season if correlation always implied causation; the 13 conceded through 15 games is fourth-best since Benitez took over. And that includes the four-goal drubbing Spurs gave 10-man Liverpool in September, almost a third of the total goals conceded and the only time the team's let in more than one per match this season.
Four from seven clearly isn't the most-authoritative sample size, but since 2004-05, Liverpool have never finished worse than fourth when conceding less than a goal per game through 15 matches. Writing as much seems unnecessary, but fourth place is both target and bare minimum this season.
Nonetheless, obviously, scoring more goals certainly couldn't hurt.