15 January 2014
Liverpool's Premier League Clean Sheets Under Brendan Rodgers
A few assorted notes:
• Johnson's started every one of Liverpool's 22 Premiership clean sheets under Rodgers. Agger's started 20.
• I didn't include Liverpool's record or points-per-game when each defender starts in the above graphic because that's subjective to so many other variables. Not that Liverpool's ability to keep clean sheets when a certain defender's on the pitch isn't anyway. But if you're curious.
Johnson: 27W-13D-12L (1.81ppg)
Agger: 20W-13D-11L (1.66pg)
Skrtel: 20W-9D-13L (1.64ppg)
Enrique: 16W-9D-3L (2.04ppg)
Carragher: 8W-7D-1L (1.94ppg)
Wisdom: 6W-6D-1L (1.87ppg)
Sakho: 6W-2D-4L (1.67ppg)
Toure: 6W-1D-3L (1.90ppg)
Cissokho: 4W-1D-2L (1.86ppg)
Flanagan: 4W-1D-2L (1.86ppg)
• 17 of the 22 clean sheets ended in wins. There were five 0-0 draws last season; every time Liverpool have kept a clean sheet this season, they've won.
• The back four which has kept the most clean sheets under Rodgers was Johnson-Carragher-Agger-Enrique, responsible for six of last season's 16. I miss Carragher.
• Liverpool have used 16 different defensive line-ups in this season's 21 Premiership matches. Only one back four has featured more than twice: Johnson-Skrtel-Sakho-Flanagan, in three consecutive matches in early December. Liverpool won all three, but kept a clean sheet in just one: against hapless Tottenham. Johnson-Skrtel-Agger-Enrique, last season's most-used back four (despite Enrique's recurring injuries), has featured in just one match: the 1-0 win against Manchester United.
That sort of defensive rotation doesn't usually lend itself to defensive solidity. Incidentally, Liverpool's longest stretch without keeping a clean sheet – seven matches – came this season. Aside from Rodgers' first six league matches last season, conceding at least once in all six, the longest Liverpool went without keeping a clean sheet in 2012-13 was three matches.
• Liverpool have started with a back three/back five in seven matches under Rodgers: twice last season, five times this season. Liverpool didn't keep a clean sheet in any of those seven matches. Although, to be fair, Liverpool kept Everton scoreless in the second half of last season's 2-2 draw at Goodison by switching to a back five.
• The usual caveat about defensive error statistics. These are via Squawka, which uses Opta's definition, and doesn't include being beaten down the flanks and allowing the winger to cross or cut inside (*glares at Johnson and Cissokho*) or endlessly grabbing the opposition on set plays (*glares at Skrtel*) or failing to mark that big striker you probably should be marking so he doesn't have a free header (*glares at pretty much every center-back*). Among other things.