16 April 2018

Visualized: Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth

Previous Match Infographics: Manchester City [CL] (a), Everton (a), Manchester City [CL] (h), Crystal Palace (a), Watford (h), United (a), Porto (h), Newcastle (h), West Ham (h), Porto (a), Southampton (a), Tottenham (h), Huddersfield (a), Swansea (a), Manchester City (h), Everton (h), Burnley (a), Leicester (a), Swansea (h), Arsenal (a), Bournemouth (a), West Brom (h), Everton (h), 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. 

Unlike last season, I'm starting to enjoy Liverpool's games against Bournemouth.

Whether Bournemouth try to attack Liverpool – as in the game at Bournemouth – or try to sit deep – as on Saturday – Liverpool still absolutely Liverpool them.

Liverpool get chances. 20 Liverpool shots, the first time they've reached that total since the 4-1 win over West Ham back on February 24, ten matches ago. Two clear-cut chances within seven minutes, the first missed but the second scored. Liverpool took 21 shots the last time these sides met, in a much more open match.

Liverpool get goals. An opening goal in the first 15 minutes for the 12th time this season.
Mané, Salah, and Firmino all score in the same match for the seventh time this season. Mo Salah does moreMo Salah things, and "finally" gets to that 40-goal mark. Sadio Mané's now on 17 goals for the season, his highest total since moving to England. Firmino's scored 25, the highest total in his career.

Liverpool can press. Even though Bournemouth played deeper than usual, Bournemouth also still tried to play out from the back. And it went not so well. 12 of Liverpool's 26 successful tackles came in Bournemouth's half. That's the highest amount of tackles in the opposition half in a Liverpool match this season, and not far off the highest proportion of successful tackles. Only Tottenham (h), Hoffenheim (h), Maribor (h), Sevilla (h), and Bournemouth (a) saw a higher percentage of successful tackles in the opposition half. Incidentally, the other match against Bournemouth was the second-highest proportion of the season.

Liverpool's top tacklers on Saturday? Henderson with six, Oxlade-Chamberlain with five, and Firmino and Wijnaldum with four. All of each's attempted tackles were successful. The midfield, breaking up the opposition before the opposition could get going. But also breaking down the opposition. All three starting central midfielders created at least two chances, something that hadn't happened since the 1-1 draw with Burnley back in September. And Wijnaldum led the team with four, which is his high for the season.

And, yes, once again, Liverpool can defend.

That's now nine clean sheets in the last 14 games. There have been only three opposition clear-cut chances scored over that stretch, with Karius saving seven and five put off-target. Liverpool haven't conceded from a corner since Swansea's winner at the end of January – 57 corners ago. Bournemouth had five corners on Saturday. Bournemouth took zero shots between the ninth and 81st minutes, with the game kinda sorta still in the balance. Or, more accurately, Bournemouth were allowed zero shots between the ninth and 81st minutes.

Liverpool did this even with four potential starters missing – Can, Gomez, Matip, and Lallana – and with Lovren picking up a knock in the last 15 minutes. Liverpool did this despite a potential let-down, drained after the mid-week euphoria. Liverpool have not been especially good after European matches this season.

Four wins prior to Saturday's, but two of those early in the season after the qualifiers against Hoffenheim and the other two against West Ham. More importantly, five draws and two losses. Losses at United and Tottenham – annoying but almost understandable – but those draws, 0-0 and 1-1 with both tired and rotated sides. Hangover games. This was not Liverpool at its best, but it was not a hangover game.

This was Liverpool finishing the season as they should. Finishing what they started. This was Liverpool doing Liverpool, despite opportunities to do otherwise.

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