09 January 2013

Liverpool Goals By Position

Sometimes, it seems as if Suarez has scored almost every Liverpool goal. If not for the striker, Liverpool would rarely tally.

39.3% of this season's goals have been scored by strikers, 14.3% by wide forwards, 21.4% by central midfielders, 7.1% by fullbacks, 8.9% by center backs, and 8.9% via own goals.

And how does that compare that to last season?

39.2% by the strikers, 21.5% by the wingers, 19.0% by central midfielders, 2.5% by fullbacks, 8.8% by center backs, and 8.8% via own goals.

So, not much difference. Suarez has scored more, but Liverpool had more strikers last season, especially since Dalglish used 4-4-2 about as often as any other formation. There have been fewer goals via the wide players, which isn't much surprise given that Maxi, Kuyt, and Bellamy (responsible for 15 of those 17 goals) aren't with the club anymore. And there has been a higher percentage from central midfielders and full-backs. Again, no surprise: Liverpool have used more central midfielders because Rodgers doesn't play 4-4-2 and Gerrard's actually been healthy this season (*knocks feverishly on wood*), and Johnson's in far better form (plus Downing and Wisdom have also chipped in with one each from full-back).


1) These totals are taken from how I saw the formations in each match, using my game notes, match reviews, and videos of goals. So some might argue with how I classified each formation and position. If you'd like, I can put full lists of positions and formations in the comments section, but it'll take up way too much space here.

2) Aside from the three times when Liverpool played three at the back (and failed to score) during matches against Everton, Chelsea, and Anzhi, the side has always used some variation of 4-3-3, whether 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-2-3. So classifying which goal came from which position was fairly straightforward, except for the rare cases where players switched mid-match (e.g. Downing moving to left-back mid-match against Anzhi).

However, in 2011-12, Liverpool used 4-4-2 and some variation of 4-5-1 almost equally, starting in a 4-4-2 in 23 matches and either 4-2-3-1, 4-1-4-1, or 4-3-3 in 27 matches (plus 3-4-2-1 in the 0-0 against Stoke). So, some of Bellamy's goals came as a striker (4), some as a winger (5). Similar goes for Kuyt. By my count, 45 of Liverpool's 79 goals last season came when playing 4-4-2, 34 when playing some version of 4-5-1.

3) In addition, there were matches where Dalglish altered the formation during the match, usually changing from 4-3-3/4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 – as against United, Brighton, and Chelsea in the FA Cup; Wigan and Villa in the league (and a couple of others), most often when either behind or level.

Thanks to Meru from Berkeley for suggesting this infographic via email, and for the multiple people who reminded me that Downing's goal against Anzhi came from left-back when I attempted to be clever on Twitter this morning. It's a good thing that many of you are smarter than I am.

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