Previous Match Infographics: Southampton (h), Swansea (a), Manchester United (h), Aston Villa (a), Stoke (h)
As always, match data from Stats Zone and Squawka.
It's nice to see Liverpool respond to adversity.
Liverpool's passing accuracy before Sunderland's goal? 80.7%. After the goal? 86.6%. 3.38 completed passes per minute prior, 4.35 after. Fewer passes in Liverpool's half, more passes stretching Sunderland's defense via the flanks. I don't have the minute-by-minute possession breakdowns, but Liverpool dominated the ball in the second half compared to their first half possession.
Liverpool's attacking third passes before the goal? 43 of 60, 71.7% accuracy. After the goal? 60 of 75, 80% accuracy. 0.83 completed passes per minute prior, 1.5 after.
Minutes per shot? 7.4 before Sunderland's goal, 5.0 after Sunderland's goal. Minutes per chance created? 13.0 before Sunderland's goal, 10.0 after Sunderland's goal.
Unlike against Stoke, Villa, United, or Swansea, Liverpool weren't content to simply protect a one-goal lead, they went hunting for more. It limited Sunderland's opportunities for an equalizer, and eventually led to the game killing third.
It was interesting to see how equal Liverpool's passing distribution was. No one player dominated the ball. Skrtel, the deepest of the three-man defense, attempted the fewest passes of any outfield starter with 24, but everyone else played between 33 and 49 passes, an incredibly small range considering the disparities we've seen before. That's both good and bad. It's good to see Liverpool spreading the ball well, getting everyone involved. It's bad that Liverpool's two central midfielders didn't control possession like we've seen them do in previous matches.
Welcome back, Luis Suarez. It's no surprise that Liverpool took its second-most shots of the season in his return, with 15 (behind only the 25 against Stoke), and that Suarez was responsible for almost half of them. Meanwhile, Sturridge attempted just one shot, which he scored with, but set up both of Suarez's goals. However, Suarez failed to create a single chance for just the 12th time in his 78 league appearances for Liverpool.
13 of Liverpool's 15 shots came from the middle of the pitch. Yes, seven of those 13 were outside the box, where there's always a lower chance of scoring, but it's good to see Liverpool taking higher percentage shots compared to the vastly more speculative efforts we saw last season, especially with Suarez back on the pitch.
23 opposition shots are the most that Liverpool have allowed since Rodgers took over, and probably longer. The previous high under Rodgers was 19 in the 2-2 draw at Arsenal last January. Liverpool's opponents averaged 11.4 shots per match last season; it's up to 15.3 shots per match this season. However, Liverpool also allowed 1.13 goals per game last season. That's down 0.67 goals per game this season. I'll probably do a bit more research on this later this week, but my initial assumption is that more opposition shots are coming from outside the box. Also, a fair bit of credit probably goes to Simon Mignolet.