At the midway point of Brendan Rodgers’ first season in charge at Anfield, Liverpool are sitting 8th in the Premier League, into the fourth round of the FA Cup and with knockout European action restarting in February.
Things could be a lot worse for the Reds, whose supporters should have a lot more optimism about them than last season under Kenny Dalglish. The former Swansea City manager has blooded a number of youngsters this season, including Raheem Sterling, Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom and Suso.
Luis Suarez has more Premier League goals already this season than he did throughout the whole of the 2011/12 campaign. And even Stewart Downing has scored a Premier League goal! Aside from these feat, here’s how the numbers look for Liverpool:
Steven Gerrard continues to play a pivotal role in this Liverpool side, leading the team in tackles after 21 games. Doing a solid job in midfield, both offensively and defensively, the 32-year old club captain has made 40 tackles on opponents this season ranks in the top 25 in the Premier League in tackles won, along with several other central midfielders.
Full backs Glen Johnson and Jose Enrique make the top 5 for Liverpool who are one of a handful of teams not to have a centre back towards the top 5. Only Gerrard and Luis Suarez have played more minutes in the Premier League than Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger so far this season for Brendan Rodgers’ side. The Slovakian defender has made 21 tackles, whilst the Dane won just 10 this season.
Forward Raheem Sterling does his fair share of tracking back and tackling the opposition in their own half, winning 31 tackles in his 18 starts.
Whilst the aforementioned duo of Skrtel and Agger have not won a great deal of tackles this season, both have been solid in the air. Both have won over 60 aerial duels already this season, winning at least 60% of their battles with the opposition.
Glen Johnson ranks high for Liverpool in aerial duel successes. The England full back has even connected on the end of a number of corners this season, although has yet to convert one into a goal.
Brendan Rodgers brought Joe Allen along with him from former club Swansea City for £15 million. The little central midfielder has helped protect his defence with a team high 41 interceptions. The Welsh midfielder is best-known for his high pass completion percentage with a high number of short passes, but Allen leads his team in tackles and interceptions combined through 21 games.
Centre backs Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger have shown good anticipation off the ball in picking off passes from the opposition with both ranking in the top 3 of their team in interceptions.
Errors Leading to Goals
When it comes to errors leading to goals, goalkeeper Jose Reina has been at fault for more than any Liverpool player this season. The Spaniard has been at fault for 3 already this season; his first was in a 2-0 home defeat by Arsenal when he was badly at fault for the Gunners’ second goal of the game and season; Santi Cazorla’s first in English football.
During Liverpool’s 5-2 win at Norwich City at the end of September, Reina fumbled Russell Martin’s shot that was straight at him, into the path of Steve Morison who was on hand to convert. The Spanish goalkeeper was also left rooted from a 25 yard free kick from Gareth Bale in a 2-1 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
It should come as no surprise that controversial Uruguay forward Luis Suarez leads the team in fouls conceded. Whether it’s a bad tackle on an opposition player in their own half or simulation, Suarez has tallied up 32 fouls conceded this season. 7 of these have resulted in yellow cards.
Whilst he makes his fair share of tackles, teenager Raheem Sterling has also racked up a number of fouls. Sterling has only received 1 yellow card and that was for a nasty tackle in the Reds’ 2-2 draw at Goodison Park this season.
Both Daniel Agger (versus West Bromwich Albion) and Jonjo Shelvey (versus Manchester United) have received red cards this season. These turned out costly as Liverpool ended up losing both games. When it comes to receiving cards though, Luis Suarez’s 7 yellows are more than twice as many than any of his team mates. No player in the Premier League has received more than the Uruguayan so far this season.
Joe Allen was brought in during the summer after completing 91.2% of his pass attempts in his debut Premier League season. Only Leon Britton, Nigel de Jong and John Terry were more successful. And like Allen, none of those 3 are noted for their ambitious passing style.
This season, Allen has completed 90% of his passes. Only Steven Gerrard has completed more passes than the 1,114 made by his Welsh team mate this season. Gerrard’s completion rate of 86% is slightly lower, but the club captain is much more attacking and ambitious with his passing.
As well as completing the most passes for the Reds, Steven Gerrard has also created the most chances for his team mates. Liverpool team mates have fired in 59 shots following passes from the England Centurion.
Luis Suarez is narrowly behind his influential team mate, setting up 56 chances.
Raheem Sterling has created 31 opportunities for his team mates down the wing this season. Sterling does only have 2 assists in the Premier League however. There is certainly room for improvement in his crossing.
Both Steven Gerrard and Luis Suarez lead the team with 7 successful through ball attempts this season. Jose Enrique has chipped in with a further 4 and young midfielder Suso has succeeded twice already in his career.
Steven Gerrard leads both Liverpool and the Premier League in assists with a total of 8. 5 of these have come in his last 4 league games, with 2 in a 4-0 thrashing of Fulham, 1 against Queens Park Rangers and another 2 during the 3-0 home victory over Sunderland last time out in the league.
Jose Enrique had a couple of good games in left midfield in November, recording 2 of his 3 assists during this period. Luis Suarez also has 3 to his name.
Steven Gerrard leads nearly all of the categories in midfield for Liverpool and his 33 accurate crosses this season is 16 more than second place Stewart Downing. An excellent crosser of the ball, Gerrard has completed 22% of his crosses so far this season, 3% more than the team average.
Although he’s taken a lot of criticism from the media and opposing fans since joining Liverpool, Stewart Downing has completed 28% of his crosses from the wings and full back this season.
Luis Suarez knows when to cross the ball, completed 12 of his 33 attempts which is amongst the best in the league.
Luis Suarez is in a league of his own when it comes to running with the ball this season. Of the 165 occasions in which the Uruguayan has taken on defenders this season he has been successful 39% of the time. Newcastle’s Hatem Ben Arfa is the only other player to attempt more than 100 dribbles this season (110), although his success rate is significantly higher at 58%.
Raheem Sterling has used his pace to his advantage on a number of occasions this season, having been successful with 43% of his 97 dribble attempts. Full backs Jose Enrique and Glen Johnson too like to venture forward with the ball at their feet, taking on opposition players.
Free Kicks Won
Youngster Raheem Sterling has been on the receiving end of the most fouls this season from the opposition, winning no less than 46 free kicks for his side. Only Everton’s Steven Pienaar (52) and Norwich City’s Robert Snodgrass (48) have won more in the Premier League this season.
For all his antics and willingness to take on defenders, Luis Suarez has been on the receiving end of 35 fouls to date. We can expect several more decisions to go his way in the second half of the season too.
Sometimes described as greedy and selfish, Luis Suarez leads his club and the league with an incredible 123 shots through 21 games. Chelsea’s new signing Demba Ba is second on the list with a mere 89. Along with Swansea City’s Michu, these are the only 3 players to have had more than twice as many shots as the next nearest player for their club, counting Ba for Newcastle.
Surprisingly, full back Glen Johnson ranks third for most shots on goal for Liverpool this season. As mentioned earlier however, Johnson has got himself onto the end of a few corners this season with headed attempts at goal. He also likes to shoot from outside the penalty area.
Only Joe Cole (17%) has a higher conversion rate than Suarez (16%) for Liverpool in 2012/13, but only Queens Park Rangers (8%), Aston Villa (11%), Newcastle United (11%) and Wigan Athletic (12%) convert fewer of their shots on goal into goals themselves (excluding blocked shots).
The 15 goals scored by Luis Suarez this season has already surpassed his tally of 11 for last season. Only Robin van Persie (16) has more league goals so far this season as the Uruguayan proves doubters wrong with his goalscoring ability.
Steven Gerrard is the only other player to have scored more than 2 goals for Liverpool this season, weighing in with 4. The Reds have benefited from 3 own goals to date.
Written by Barrie.