21 January 2013

Visualized: Liverpool 5-0 Norwich

Previous Match Infographics: Manchester City (h), Arsenal (h), Manchester United (h), Norwich (a), Stoke (h), Reading (h), Everton (a), Newcastle (h), Chelsea (a), Wigan (h), Swansea (a), Tottenham (a), Southampton (h), West Ham (a), Aston Villa (h), Fulham (h), Stoke (a), QPR (a), Sunderland (h), Manchester United (a)

As always, match data from Stats Zone and Squawka.

It was the first time since the reverse fixture that Liverpool have scored twice from shots outside the box. These two matches against Norwich are the only two matches where Liverpool have scored multiple goals from outside the box. But then just seven of Liverpool's goals this season have come from outside the box: Suarez's free kick against Manchester City, Johnson's volley at West Ham, and five against Norwich. 189 shots, seven goals. Five of the seven against the same side.

Gerrard's 107 completed passes of 115 attempted were the most for a Liverpool player this season; he and Joe Allen (at Sunderland) are the only two to top 100 in a match this season. Most importantly, 31 of those completed passes (37 attempted) came in the attacking third, 11 more than the next Liverpool player. Liverpool were outstanding in the final third, completing 166 of 200 passes (83%). That's the highest attacking third accuracy of the season and higher than total pass accuracy against Everton, Reading, Stoke (h), and City. Liverpool's average pass accuracy this season is 85.5%; the average attacking third pass accuracy prior to Saturday's match was 73.7%.1

Gerrard remains the only Liverpool player to feature in every league match, and he's both started and played for 90 minutes in all 23 of them. Had you told me that before the season, I would have had you declared insane. He's played more league minutes this season than total minutes last season, has already surpassed his appearance total for both 2010-11 and 2011-12. Saturday's goal means he's now just six away from 100 in the Premiership; Fowler and Owen are the only other Liverpool players to reach that total. I don't know what they're feeding him at Melwood these days, but make sure he keeps eating it.

While we're on the topic of rejuvenation, Carragher's 73 completed passes are the most for a Liverpool defender this season, one more than Agger completed at Sunderland. Just for comparison, here's his passing chalkboard compared to Skrtel's in the reverse fixture. Look, we all know Carragher's limitations. But in matches like these, where he's not tested often, where he's not up against a speedy striker, he's still a valuable, experienced organizer. Yes, that limits his options. Yes, Liverpool might be better served in the long-term by using Coates more often. But it's not hard to see why Rodgers loves Carragher so much. In playing far fewer matches, he has been vastly improved compared to 2010-11 or 2011-12.

Brad Jones didn't quite reach the 20 passes mark that has become the Reina Passing Theory™, but 17 is the most passes Jones has completed in his five starts, while 81% is his highest pass accuracy. In addition, 15 of his 21 total passes – 71% – were short passes. As the outstanding Bass Tuned to Red noted after Jones' last league start against Chelsea, 69% of Jones' passes this season had been long passes. Compare Saturday's total to Mark Bunn's passing. All 20 of his attempts went long. Just two found a Norwich player.

Meanwhile, Bradley Johnson had one of the worst midfield performances I've seen since doing these match infographics. 51 attempted passes dwarfed any other Norwich player, but he completed just 56.9% of them. He took no shots. Created no chances. Made three interceptions, but no tackles. No tackles, but one foul committed. Yikes. Just yikes.

Of course, Norwich created just one chance in the entire match, put just one shot on target (of four in total) – both on the early Snodgrass to Bennett set play. That was a low for both shots and chances created for a Liverpool opponent this season, with Sunderland (away) and Southampton also tallying just one shot on target against Liverpool.

1) Didn't think it merited inclusion in the body text, but worth noting that the only match where Liverpool completed or attempted more attacking third passes was in the 1-3 loss to Aston Villa, with 202 completed of 252 attempted. That was the only other match where Liverpool completed more than 145 attacking third passes. The more I do these comparison infographics, the more I'm forced to relive the Villa result, the more that match seems a complete and utter aberration. Not that it's much of a consolation.


Anonymous said...

I put this on RAWK.


Hope you don't mind, really enjoyed that.

nate said...

No, of course not, I appreciate it very much.

Unless it gets criticized. In which case it's all your fault and certainly not mine.

CSD said...

Damn, they make us look good.