19 February 2016

Visualized: Liverpool 0-0 Augsburg

Previous Match Infographics: Aston Villa (a), Sunderland (h), Leicester (a), Stoke [League Cup] (h), Norwich (a), Manchester Utd (h), Arsenal (h), Stoke [League Cup] (a), West Ham (a), Sunderland (a), Leicester (h), Watford (a), West Brom (h), Sion (a), Newcastle (a), Swansea (h), Bordeaux (h), City (a), Crystal Palace (h), Rubin Kazan (a), Chelsea (a), Southampton (h), Rubin Kazan (h), Tottenham (a), Everton (a), FC Sion (h), Aston Villa (h), Norwich (h), Bordeaux (a), Manchester United (a), West Ham (h), Arsenal (a), Bournemouth (h), Stoke (a)

As always for Europa League matches, all data from WhoScored.

(Nota Bene: Here's the formation diagram usually included in match reviews.)

At least Liverpool are consistent?

For the third time this season, Liverpool have followed up a five-or-more-goals performance by failing to score. 6-0 at Southampton followed by 0-2 at Newcastle and 0-0 at Sion; 5-4 at Norwich followed by 0-1 v Stoke, 0-0 v West Ham, and 0-2 at Leicester; and, now, 6-0 at Aston Villa followed by 0-0 at Augsburg.

Stop using up all your goals in one match, Liverpool.

That's a stretch going back four managers: Hodgson, Dalglish, Rodgers, and Klopp. Matches in Germany, Switzerland, Russia, France, Turkey, Italy, Scotland, Belarus, Portugal, Czech Republic, Romania, and the Netherlands. Liverpool failed to score in nine of those 16 games, with Liverpool scoring more than once in just one: an insane 5-3 win at BSC Young Boys in 2012-13.

Liverpool are Liverpool and European football is European football.

Liverpool are consistent. And consistently inconsistent.

As much as it was a very Liverpool-after-scoring-a-bunch-can't-score match, it was even more a very European away match.

Liverpool average 16.1 shots per match in the league, Augsburg allow 16.6 shots per match in the league. Liverpool took 16 yesterday: eight in the box, eight outside the box, six on-target. Liverpool average 1.5 goals per game in the league, Augsburg allow 1.5 goals per game in the league. Liverpool, as I suspect you remember, failed to score.

Liverpool's performance, at least in attack, was slightly worse than usual, but not much. The highs can be high, the lows can be low, and there's also some meh. Yesterday was quite meh. Liverpool had a handful of half-chances and one very good, clear-cut chance for Liverpool's best goalscorer, and that goalscorer missed. And that's football and that's life.

But it's not as if Liverpool completely held Augsburg at arms' length, did to them what they did to Villa, and did to Sunderland for the first 80 minutes. Liverpool were the better side and Liverpool had the best chance, the only clear-cut chance. Yet Augsburg took 12 shots, a total only eight sides have surpassed in Klopp's 32 Liverpool matches. At least three of those Augsburg chances could have easily resulted in a goal: Esswein in behind Toure on the break in the 45th minute, but shooting too close to Mignolet from close range; a 75th-minute back post cross that an open Stafylidis mis-hit; and an 86th-minute shot by Ji from Caiuby's knockdown off the outside of the woodwork.

That said, Liverpool are still the first side to hold Augsburg scoreless in a Europa League match this season. And despite Liverpool's repeated underwhelming performances in this competition, Augsburg are only the second side to hold Liverpool scoreless, following the 0-0 draw at Sion where neither side even tried to score.

0-0 certainly isn't the worst situation to be in going into the second leg at Anfield. Just win, by any margin, on your own ground, and you advance to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2010-11.

And Liverpool should win on its own ground, even though Liverpool is frequently better away from home and Augsburg is frequently better away from home. Augsburg also have a weekend game, while Liverpool don't, although we got 0-3 at Watford the last time Klopp's Liverpool had a week between games.

But just one mistake – a bad pass, a giveaway in the defensive half, a set play, a goalkeeper error – and Liverpool could be in trouble. One Liverpool mistake, even if only one, is certainly within the realm of possibility, if not even probable.

Away goals are crucial in this competition. An away goal would have given Liverpool breathing space, as well as the option of resting Henderson or Sturridge or whomever before the League Cup Final three days after the next leg. An away goal for Augsburg next week will require Liverpool to score two, something they've done just once in this competition.

Liverpool's next two matches have become Liverpool's two most important matches of the season. And they could well be the last two important matches Liverpool play this season.

1 comment :

E Coutinho Can said...

Studd surely needs to play in the 2nd leg to get more match fitness before Citeh in the League Cup Final!