21 April 2016

Visualized: Liverpool 4-0 Everton

Previous Match Infographics: Bournemouth (a), Dortmund (h), Stoke (h), Dortmund (a), Tottenham (h), Southampton (a), Manchester United (a), Manchester United (h), Crystal Palace (a), Manchester City (h), Manchester City [League Cup] (n), Augsburg (h), Augsburg (a), 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, match data from Stats Zone, except shot location from Squawka and average player position from ESPN FC.

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

Chances are that you will never, ever see that level of humiliation in a Merseyside Derby again.

6-0 wouldn't have flattered Liverpool. 8-0 wouldn't have flattered Liverpool. Everton were outclassed, then outgunned, then embarrassed, then gave up. That it finished just 4-0 is another demonstration that Liverpool's finishing isn't where we'd like it to be. 37 shots – the most Liverpool have taken in a league match since August 2004, an average of a shot every 2.43 minutes – with just three goals, 19 of those shots from outside the box, clear-cut chances by both Lallana and Firmino saved in the first 30 minutes. Only five of Liverpool's 18 shots inside the box were on-target: three goals and the two saved clear-cut chances. Everton were down to 10 men and playing with two central midfielders as center-backs for the final half-hour and Liverpool only added one more goal, an outside-the-box strike from Coutinho which Sturridge is still trying to claim because it brushed his backside.

Here I am, "complaining" about Liverpool's finishing after the most comfortable of Merseyside Derby wins, after scoring four goals for the third time in the last three home matches. What a world we live in.

The list of mind-boggling, utter domination statistics is nearly endless.

While Liverpool took 37 shots, Everton took just three, the last in the 31st minute. Lukaku, Everton's attacking centerpiece, who'd averaged 3.0 shots per 90, 0.70 goals per 90, and 1.4 key passes per 90 in his first five matches against Liverpool for Everton, registered none of those things. All three of Everton's shots came from outside the box, none were on-target. Simon Mignolet could have spent the 90 minutes sat in a lounge chair, blind drunk on daiquiris, for all that he mattered to this match. A +34 shot differential is simply unconscionable, regardless of Everton reduced to 10 men for the last 40 of yesterday's minutes.

The fewest shots Liverpool had allowed this season prior to yesterday was four, versus West Brom. As you'll probably remember, Liverpool conceded twice, on two set plays, and drew 2-2 thanks to Origi's exceptionally fortunate 96th-minute equalizer. The last time Liverpool allowed just three shots in a league match was February 2013, the 5-0 win over Swansea (Chelsea took just two in the home leg of last year's League Cup semi-final, scoring with Hazard's penalty). And Swansea at least put two of their three shots on-target, took two of their three shots inside the 18-yard box. Everton did neither, limited to three half-cocked counter-attacking chances from outside the box, two well-off target from Mirallas, one blocked from Barkley. Everton's best chance saw them fail to take a shot, with Sakho's wonderful, timed-to-the-millisecond tackle on Lukaku in the 21st minute after the striker looked like getting clear. Maybe it's a different game if Lukaku gets away. It's definitely a least a little different if Sakho's slightly earlier or later with his tackle. But he wasn't. And that was it from Everton.

Those are the only times I've seen just three opposition shots in the league since starting these infographics in 2012-13. 147 Premier League matches. It's happened twice.

Put another way: four different Liverpool players – Coutinho, Sturridge, Lallana, and Moreno – took more shots than Everton.

Even in the early stages, long before Liverpool's first two goals or Funes Mori's red card, Liverpool controlled possession, created chances – the best the counter-attack long passes to Lallana and Firmino, but others after sustained control of play – and limited Everton to marginal opportunities. And they did so with a two-man midfield of Lucas and Milner, a personnel decision which absolutely terrified me when announced. Up against Barkley? Lukaku on the counter? Eek. Which again shows what little I know.

Meanwhile, 10 of Liverpool's 13 outfield players registered a key pass. 12 of 13 took at least one shot; the only who didn't, James Milner, created eight (!!!) chances, including two clear-cut chances, and had two assists. Milner's eight chances were the most created by a Liverpool player in any match since Luis Suarez in the aforementioned 5-0 win over Swansea in February 2013. That's the only time it's happened since I began these infographics in 2012-13.

Five key passes in one match? Not that uncommon: Milner, Coutinho, Lallana, Moreno, Firmino, Can, and Ibe have all hit that mark this season. Six? Milner, Coutinho, Can, and Moreno. Seven? Milner and Coutinho. Eight? Just Hamez Thrillner.

Incidentally, Milner also created seven chances against Dortmund, registering two assists while taking no shots, starting in a two-man central midfield. As he did yesterday. File this one under: "Things I didn't expect to work which are actually working." Yet both of his assists yesterday came from open play crosses, as did his assist for Origi's first against Stoke. He's somehow invented a new central midfielder + winger position, able to do so because Stewart against Stoke and Lucas against Everton offered enough protection in case of counter-attack – not that either opposition offered much of a counter-attack. Of the 14 goals that Liverpool have scored in the last four games, Milner's had the assist on six of them, as well as the assist for Origi's goal at Dortmund five games ago. Woof.

Origi's now averaging a goal or assist every 103 minutes in all competitions, Sturridge is averaging a goal or assist every 111 minutes in all competitions (88.75 in the league), Milner's averaging a goal or assist every 146 minutes in all competitions, Coutinho's averaging a goal or assist every 155 minutes, Firmino's averaging a goal or assist every 159 minutes (111 in the league). Liverpool are scoring open play goals and set play goals. Counter-attack goals, possession goals, pressing goals, crossing goals. When Liverpool's attack is in form, Liverpool's attack is actually good. Surprisingly good. And it could and probably should have been even better yesterday.

Everton's red card certainly exacerbated matters, but Liverpool were well on their way to a rout before Funes Mori's attempted manslaughter. Liverpool had outshot Everton 16-3 prior to the two quick goals just before halftime. The shot count was 18-3 before Funes Mori committed ALL THE EVIL. In a Merseyside Derby. It's seemingly never just a matter of time with Liverpool, but it truly seemed just a matter of time before Liverpool pulled away from a very much below-par Everton. And it was.

Everton clearly aren't in a good place right now. The defense, rarely Roberto Martinez's strongest area, is in a very bad place: two important defenders – Jagielka and Coleman (no, not Tony Hibbert) – were injured (which led to the odd idea that it was a good idea to play a one-footed left-back at right-back up against Coutinho and Moreno), Funes Mori saw red, Stones had to go off with "stomach cramps". They ended the match with Besic and McCarthy as center-backs. They've had a player sent off in four of the last eight matches. They're now winless in six, only two points above 16th place, with multiple blogs and forums calling for Martinez to be sacked just days before an FA Cup semi-final.

But the last time Everton lost a league match by four goals was the last time Liverpool beat them 4-0 at Anfield in January 2014. And that's the only other time they've lost by four under Roberto Martinez. The last non-Liverpool four-goal loss for Everton? 0-5 at Benfica in October 2009, in that season's Europa League. Ah, the days of David Moyes in Europe. And the last time it happened in the Premier League was two months earlier, 1-6 against Arsenal on opening day of 2009-10. Both of those losses were more than six years ago.

And, as mentioned above (and I'll keep mentioning it!), Liverpool have scored four goals in each of the last three home games: 4-3 Dortmund, 4-1 Stoke, and 4-0 Everton. That sort of streak hasn't happened since 2013-14, when Liverpool scored four, four, and five against West Brom, Fulham, and Norwich, then four, five, and four against Everton, Arsenal, and Swansea later that season. But not counting the Suarez-led aberration which was 2013-14, the last time Liverpool scored at least four in three successive home games was January 1996, against Nottingham Forest (4-2), Rochdale (7-1), and Leeds (5-0). More than 20 years ago. Divock Origi was just nine months old.

Including the 2-1 win at Bournemouth, Liverpool have now scored 14 goals in the last four matches. As a reminder – although I suspect you still remember – Liverpool didn't score its 14th goal this season until October 28th, in the 15th match of the season. Four matches after Brendan Rodgers was relieved of his managerial duties.

It's all coming together. An indescribably emphatic victory over the next door neighbors after an April of good results. It's all coming together at a very good time, despite the difficult-at-times season so far, despite playing some very tough matches during this stretch, despite injuries to some very important players.

But that, after the three weeks we've seen before, can't be the capstone to Liverpool's season. There's still much more to play for over the next month.


Anonymous said...

if you told me in october that we'd be playing meaningful games this late in the season I'd have called you a damn liar. but here we are! regardless of what happens with villareal, i think we've seen enough to be incredibly optimistic for next season, which of course makes me nauseous. but still, better that than a funeral march like last year.

Gabe said...

if you had told me in october that we'd be enjoying Klopp I'd have called you a damn liar! lol

Ryan McKain said...

As always, Nate, a great recap and my favorite post-match reading. However, I'm compelled to point out that there cannot be an "attempted manslaughter," since by definition manslaughter occurs without a conscious effort. I jest - of course - as that jujitsu kick would likely be a criminal offense had it occurred on the street. Keep on doing what you do!

Anonymous said...

Everton had a total of 3 touches inside our box. Three. Touches. Hahahaha. Funny.

What's the deal with Sturridge trying to claim Phil's goal because it brushed his shorts? Neither the direction or momentum of that shot was changed to impact the keepers read or attempted save. Sturridge's shorts touching that ball was COMPLETELY IRRELEVENT. Who even cares what the actual "rule" states. Common sense should conclude its Phil's goal. Remember Origi trying to award the first goal of his hat trick against Southampton in the cup to Moreno? Even though it was Divock's touch that changed the flight of Moreno's shot and caused that shot to beat the keeper? This example set by Origi is the one Sturridge should be following?!!

nate said...

Daniel Sturridge is there to score goals. He's made himself a top, top player by scoring goals. He self-identifies by scoring goals. He's going to claim any goal he think he has even the slightest claim on. And I don't blame him an iota. It ain't a "ME ME ME ME" selfish thing; I detest that narrative. It's a most-strikers-in-the-world thing, even remembering what Origi did back against Southampton.

criynwa said...

Can't be said often enough really: You do a great pre- and post- match write up. Thank you so much and keep it up. BTW, It seemed clear to me that Studge was joking about claiming that goal. It's practically a patented Couch goal.

Anonymous said...

“He would claim it is his but it touched me so it is my goal,” Sturridge later declared. “If it touches you, you claim it wherever it touches you – eyelash, wherever. So my goal. I know there are some guys out there hungry for goals but I’m not that hungry. There have been some dubious decisions but that is not dubious, it is clear for everyone to see.”

Not hungry? He sound positively ravenous. A streak of selfishness is not necessarily a bad thing for a striker but Sturridge is straying dangerously close to being referred to the Dubious Team-Mates’ Panel.

Daniel Taylor has it SPOT ON!!!!!!!!

Shirts and shorts don't count son!!!!!!

Dubious Team-Mates' Panel indeed!!!