11 December 2017

Visualized: Liverpool 1-1 Everton

Previous Match Infographics: Spartak Moscow (h), Brighton (a), Stoke (a), Chelsea (h), Sevilla (a), Southampton (h), West Ham (a), Maribor (h), Huddersfield (h), Tottenham (a), Maribor (a), United (h), Newcastle (a), Spartak Moscow (a), Leicester (a), Burnley (h), Sevilla (h), Manchester City (a), Arsenal (h), Hoffenheim (h), Crystal Palace (h), Hoffenheim (a), Watford (a)

Match data from WhoScored, except average position from the SofaScore app. 

We have said it before, we will say it again.

Liverpool live and die by the goals they score. And they only scored one on Sunday.

The finishing pixie is a cruel mistress. Liverpool had been on an almost unsustainable scoring streak. That ended against Everton.

The three above pieces showing Liverpool's shooting should be sufficient. That shots, assists, chances created graphic. That shot-by-shot graphic. That shot location graphic. Ouch.

23 Liverpool shots, but only three on-target: Salah's goal, Mané's egregious bicycle kick attempt from just outside the box, and Coutinho's free kick from 30 yards out. 13% shooting accuracy, when the side had averaged 42.5% in the six previous league matches since the Tottenham defeat.

Three Opta-defined clear-cut chances, all with Liverpool up 1-0, and all off-target: Mané's miss with three players waiting for the tap-in, and Salah and Gomez's second-half headers. Liverpool converted 13 of 18 clear-cut chances – 72.2% – in the six previous league matches since the Tottenham defeat.

Sure, Liverpool's shot quality was a good deal worse than in previous matches. 13 of 23 from outside the box, and an average xG per shot of 0.087. Liverpool's xG per shot this season prior to Sunday's game was 0.116 and since Spurs it had been 0.149.

But Liverpool still had the chances to win that game.

One of which will live long in the memory.

This game hinged upon two moments. Sadio Mané's miss in the first-half added time was the first.

*screams internally*

Remember Liverpool's second goal against Spartak Moscow? Mané to Salah to Firmino to Coutinho. Quick passes, unselfishly looking for a teammate rather than doing it yourself. The final pass taking the chance quality from – and this is a rough guess here – something like 15% to 40%. Do that. Always aim to do that. Don't do this.

If Liverpool get a second goal, going into halftime two-up rather than one, there's an excellent chance that Liverpool score more. Everton have to come out, whereas they can stick deep and continue to hope for just one moment and one mistake at 1-0, and even though two of Liverpool's best counter-attacking players weren't on the pitch, Salah and Mané should have thrived with more space in behind compared to how the match played out at 1-0. Two Liverpool goals had led to at least three in eight of the previous nine matches. Liverpool have finished with just two goals twice this season, and never in the league, and it hasn't happened since early September.

But 1-0 still should have been enough. Because Everton's penalty in the 77th minute was the second moment. And that was not a penalty. (Edit: I don't know why the GIFs aren't loading here; click on them to open in a new window and play)

Come on, now.

Okay, yes, camera angles can lie.

So, here, this is a worse angle for Lovren – which unfortunately, was also the referee's angle – but you can still see Calvert-Lewin move towards and into Lovren, then fall to the ground as Lovren's pulling his arms away from him.

I don't care that Lovren's caught on the back foot and gets too close and "gives the referee a decision to make." I don't care that Lovren has previous, which makes us extra likely to extra blame him. That you're giving that penalty against Liverpool on Liverpool's own ground when Everton have had just two shots and next to no possession is a crime against humanity. Especially after the non-penalty which Brighton got last weekend. That was forgivable because Liverpool were cruising by that point. That made it almost funny. This was assuredly not funny.

I also can't help but think that was Grade A "Big Sam's an English manager and Calvert-Lewin's an English striker" beef.

Without one of those two moments, the other doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter that Liverpool rotated more heavily than expected, that Liverpool left out both Firmino and Coutinho, as well as Can and Wijnaldum. Liverpool should have done enough, even if 1-0 is rarely ever enough for this side.

And now we get a result that brings memories to the mediocre old days. Liverpool's fifth 1-1 draw of the season, the most common score line so far. Three of those 1-1 draws came with Liverpool taking the lead but losing it – the last three of them.

The mediocre old days of an inability to break down incredibly deep sides, with a bunch of possession and a bunch of shots but not enough good shots and not enough of those shots converted. The mediocre old days of drawing a match that Liverpool *should* have won against a side they *should* be beating. Something we thought we'd mostly gotten past with the wins over Huddersfield, Maribor, West Ham, Southampton, Stoke, Brighton, and Spartak.

So, yes, it's a set-back. But it's not the end of days. It's one match, one during a spell overloaded with matches, against seven before where Liverpool did what they couldn't on Sunday.


Lucky said...

And Liverpool are still in 4th and gained a point on 2nd and 3rd.

P.S. At least Jagielkas 30 yard screamer that gave Everton a draw a couple of years ago took some talent. This BS was hard to take.

Anonymous said...

Are 99 successful passes the lowest number for a prem team ever in a match, or just very close?