As always for Europa League matches, all data from WhoScored.
(Nota Bene: Here's the formation diagram usually included in match reviews.)
From two weeks ago:
Liverpool's next four matches are at home. Liverpool's next four matches are against Norwich, Carlisle, Aston Villa, and FC Sion. We're all aware that Liverpool have the potential to lose any match against any opponent on any day, and usually in the most comical fashion possible, but those are four winnable matches, especially considering what Liverpool's fixture list has looked like so far.
Welp. At least Liverpool didn't lose any of them?
4 #LFC homes in a row vs Norwich, Carlisle, Villa and Sion 111 shots to 33 43 on target to 12 6 goals to 5 3 draws and a 3-2 win— Dan Kennett (@DanKennett) October 1, 2015
I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest that more-than-tripling your opponents' shot total but only scoring one more goal is a bad thing.
23 shots against Villa. 47 against Carlisle. 21 against Villa. 19 against Sion. Six goals from 111 shots. Six goals from 43 shots on-target. Meanwhile, that murderers' row slate of opponents scored five goals from 33 shots, five goals from 12 shots on-target. I'm not sure which is worse.
Every outfield Liverpool player, including all three subs, created at least one chance. Nine of the 13 took at least one shot.
Liverpool had six Opta-defined clear-cut chances: "A situation where a player should reasonably be expected to score usually in a one-on-one scenario or from very close range." Six! Liverpool only created nine combined through its first seven league matches, with no more than three in any of the matches (against Bournemouth and Norwich, one of the three scored in each).
• 4' - Lallana Goal
• 16' - Ings blocked
• 39' - Can saved
• 64' - Origi saved
• 69' - Origi saved
• 74' - Lallana saved
One goal, one blocked, and four saved. Goal, Ings' touch allowing Pa Modou to recover, free header straight at the keeper, shot straight at the keeper, shot straight at the keeper, shot straight at the keeper. I reiterate: 'Reasonably expected to score.' That's not good.
It wasn't as if Liverpool took bad shots yesterday, which we've seen in more than a few disappointing performances since the beginning of last season. Those six clear-cut chances. 15 of 19 shots inside the box, with eight in the Danger Zone. Only five of 19 shots blocked. An overall shot accuracy of 42.1%.
Unlike in the first six matches of the season, creativity wasn't the problem. Which, I guess, is a modicum of progress. Liverpool. Simply. Could. Not. Finish. And not for the first time.
We worried about whether the Villa result was a Sturridge-inspired fluke, and yesterday did nothing to dispel that notion. If you can't consistently finish your chances, you're not going to win many matches, especially when you concede at least one regrettable goal per game. Yesterday's equalizer looked a bit like Carlisle's: Liverpool concede possession, Liverpool get caught out by pass in behind the defense (against Carlisle, a throughball; against Sion, a long cross-field over a failed offside trap), Liverpool's keeper fails to save a savable shot. It wasn't the insanity we saw against Norwich or the misfortune against Bordeaux, but it was disappointing all the same.
Brendan Rodgers didn't miss all those chances. Brendan Rodgers didn't pass directly to Kouassi when Liverpool were quickly pushing forward in transition. But those misses and errors could well end up costing him his job. For the fourth consecutive match, admittedly against less-than-impressive opposition, he set his team up in a way that should have led to a Liverpool victory had players done what they're supposed to do. But Rodgers picked those players, Rodgers signed those players (endless transfer committee debates notwithstanding). Once again, Rodgers' side is incapable, whether due to morale, talent, or tactics, to come back after conceding. Insert your very original *character* joke here.
In Liverpool's last four draws, beginning at Bordeaux, Liverpool conceded 16, 13, 11, and 14 minutes after scoring the opener. It's followed the same script, whether Liverpool score in the 4th, 23rd, 48th, or 65th minute: a brief flurry where Liverpool could maybe almost get a second but unsurprisingly don't, and then an opposition stomach punch. Rather than put supposedly weaker opponents to the sword, Liverpool let them get back in the game not long after. And this all happened at Fortress Anfield. Aside from the match at Bordeaux, where Liverpool scored the latest and were away from home, Liverpool had a long time and multiple chances to retake the lead. Yet couldn't, yet didn't.
And it's not as if this is a new phenomenon.
The Merseyside Derby in two days' time somehow became even more important.