23 May 2017

Liverpool Goals Scored and Conceded 2016-17

(Here are similar versions from 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16.)

The short version is Liverpool improved in all of these categories compared to last season. Total goals, number of players with 10 or more league goals, goals conceded, minutes per goal, set play goals conceded, etc.

That's a good thing! That bodes well for next season!

But the slightly longer version is that improvement was the minimum standard required, especially in regards to goals conceded, considering how Liverpool fared in both 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The second-best season in regards to goals scored – no prizes for guessing the best – in the last five seasons, and the best in regards to goals conceded.

Sure, Liverpool's goals conceded mark is nowhere near what Liverpool did under Rafa Benitez (41, 25, 27, 37, 27, 41 in his six Premier League seasons). It's still worse than Liverpool's average league goals conceded over the last 20 seasons – 1.03 per game. Liverpool's opponents scored a higher percentage of their goals in the Danger Zone than Liverpool did, and a vastly higher percentage in the six-yard box. Liverpool's opponents scored a higher percentage of their goals in the final 15 minutes of matches. All of those aren't good things. Here, more than at the other end of the pitch, is where Liverpool still most needs to improve. But improvement is improvement is improvement. It's better than last year. It's better than the four previous seasons. It is actually better, despite how we feel whenever an attacker is one-on-one with Dejan Lovren or the opposition's lining up for a corner.

And, despite more than a few horror shows, the amount of goals conceded from set plays has gotten better as well.

I know, that's not how I remember it either. But, to be meaner, there were some costly ones.

Eight of 13 conceded in draws or losses. Five of 13 conceded at 0-0. Bournemouth's two late equalizers, Benteke's winner. Three coming from defensive errors: Karius on Payet's direct free kick, Mignolet at Hull, and Wijnaldum against Bournemouth. Fewer set play goals conceded is better. Even fewer would be best.

Still, it's hard to complain about Liverpool's scoring return, aside from the doldrums over the winter months with Coutinho's injury and Mané's absence.

Liverpool's second-highest goals per game average in all competitions in the last ten seasons8, and Liverpool's second-highest goals per game average in the league since the Premier League began in 1992-93.

Sure, it was fueled by the first third of season – four goals against Arsenal and Leicester, five against Hull, six against Watford. Sure, it got really, really bad in the middle third of the season. But Liverpool did bounce back, despite lingering injury and depth issues, despite teams working out how to defend against Liverpool's preferred system. And the last two games make the final third of the season look a lot better than it felt three weeks ago.

But Liverpool did at least bounce back. At both ends of the pitch.

And because of that, Liverpool finished fourth.


criynwa said...

Wow. Great stuff, Nate. I posted a link to it on North American Liverpool Supporters Clubs facebook page. I hope you don't mind.

nate said...

Don't mind at all, thanks for doing so

Anonymous said...

Thanks for another season of great write-ups. Let's hope this team can keep the improvements coming. I'm excited for next season already

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the good work - I'm sure you look at your Stats for website visits and wonder why more people don't comment during the season. Keep it up and well done. Jamo, Australia (via Stoneycroft)