22 August 2016

Visualized: Liverpool 0-2 Burnley

Previous Match Infographics: Arsenal (a)

All match data from Stats Zone and Who Scored.

No side can go from "We gonna win the league!" to "The sky is falling!" as fast as Liverpool.

We are damaged as a fanbase.

Admittedly, that was bad. Really bad. It was everything Liverpool did badly in similar matches last season taken to the extreme. An inability to score despite an overwhelming disparity in chances. Unpromising chances created despite multiple shots. A reliance on speculative shots from distance. Dismal shooting accuracy. An early, avoidable goal conceded through an error allowing the opposition to bunker in even tighter; a second goal conceded on a counter-attack to put the match further out of reach. Two goals conceded from three shots – the joint-fewest allowed against any opponent since Klopp took over – with all three from outside the box. It was Liverpool's highest passing and possession totals under Klopp, and Liverpool failed to score. Failed to come close to scoring.

But Liverpool were never going to be fixed in two matches. In less than a season under Jürgen Klopp. It takes time, as much as we'd prefer that it didn't. It took Klopp time at Dortmund, and it takes time for any team to adjust to the type of style that Klopp wants to play.

Saturday was just the second match of the season. It's just the second time we've seen this new 4-3-3 formation. It's the second time that Lovren and Klavan have played together, and also the second time Henderson has been used as the sole deep-lying midfielder. It's the second time that Milner's played at left-back for Liverpool. It's Wijnaldum's second match for Liverpool. Etc., etc.

It is still safe to assume that things will get better, as hard as that might be after that result.

That said, it's not as if we haven't seen these issues before.

Dan's tweet includes cup matches against City and United – two wins and a draw (well, a loss on penalties), conceding just two goals. For consistency's sake, let's just look at the league results.

The above table includes Tottenham, City, Chelsea, and Arsenal home and away, and United at home in the "Big Five"; Newcastle and Watford home and away, and Norwich, Villa, Bournemouth, and Burnley away in "Promoted and Relegated."

It doesn't make for good reading.

There's Liverpool's inability to prevent goals by lesser opposition. There's the goal difference against those opponents; if not for the 6-0 win at a horrific Aston Villa, Liverpool's goal difference would be -3 against promoted and relegated clubs. There's Liverpool's shot creation and accuracy against that opposition. There's that 44% (!!!) save accuracy against those opponents – 14 goals from 25 shots on-target. There's Liverpool's inability to save the opposition's fewer clear-cut chances.

There's the fact that Liverpool have conceded three more goals in the eight matches against promoted and relegated clubs than they have in nine matches against the best of the league. Two at Newcastle, three at Watford, four at Norwich, two against Newcastle, two at Burnley. Liverpool conceded more than once in just two of the nine matches against the "Big Five": three in both games against Arsenal, matches that Liverpool drew and won.

There are lots of bad things that have happened in those matches. But there's also a lot of good things that Liverpool did against better opposition. I'll again remind that Liverpool consistently failed to perform or win against good opposition in the vast majority of matches under the previous manager.

We know where Liverpool need to improve: decision-making at both ends of the pitch. Better movement and intelligence in attack, the elimination of errors (especially when transitioning) in defense – something that's now cost Liverpool the opening goal in both matches this season. The players missing yesterday – Mané and/or Ojo in attack, as well as not using Sturridge as a winger; Matip, Sakho, Can, and Karius in defense – should all help in these regards.

Even after this dismal result, I still believe Liverpool have the players and manager to put it right. Ideally, that'll happen sooner rather than later.

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