Liverpool 1 – 1 Norwich City – Match Report

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The lynch mob went into overdrive yesterday following the 1-1 draw with Norwich. The sheer volume of over-the-top reactions to the game was astonishing. Away from all the blood and thunder, a statistical analysis of the draw offers us a calm, rational sense of perspective.

Norwich will not give points away easily in the league this season, as they proved against Manchester United. Their league position of 8th is justified and they gave a good account of themselves again yesterday.  They had 8 shots on goal, one less than the total United managed last week and on par with Arsenal’s shots against us at the Emirates. They were, therefore, somewhat of a force to be reckoned with.

Defensively, it was just a normal day at the office. We tend to concede about one goal per game and we are prone to making the occasional defensive mistake. Our league position is where it is because we are better at attacking than we are at defending. Johnson, Carragher, Enrique and Reina can all be pointed at as scapegoats for the goal, but the fact of the matter is that we should have been out of sight long before the incident happened. This is shown clearly by the attacking stats.

From an attacking perspective, Liverpool (and Suarez in particular) were phenomenal. We managed 29 shots on goal against a season average of 17, with 9 on target against a season average of 5. In total, we shot at goal 1.7 times more against Norwich than we do in an average game. We passed more (496 vs 458) and were more accurate in our passing (81% vs 79%) than our season average. We played more forward passes, more final third passes and more crosses and than our season average. It was an attacking performance that was well above par.

The one part of our attacking game where we have let ourselves down all season is chance conversion. On average, we convert 8% of our shots at goal. Manchester United, on the other hand, convert 18%. This is something we have to improve upon.

Yesterday was even worse. We only converted 3% of our shots at goal and this statistic above all others cost us the win. Our shooting accuracy was 31% which is on par with our season average of 32%. We hit the woodwork and had numerous near misses. On an average day, with 29 shots on goal, Liverpool would have comfortably scored 2 or 3. United, by way of comparison, would have scored between 5 and 6.

This offers us two conclusions: Firstly, it was just one of those days. If we approach the next game against West Brom with the same spirit, energy and determination as we showed against Norwich, the law of averages strongly suggests that we will come out on top. Secondly, improving our chance conversion percentage is critically important if we are going to get back into the Champions League next year.

As fans, we need to have patience and faith. It is surely only a matter of time before Suarez starts to convert at least 18% of his shots on goal. Had he managed to yesterday, he would have had a brace. Suarez is the fulcrum of our attack, and once he gets his goal scoring touch back we will regularly be out of sight by half-time in games like the one yesterday.

To put the first 9 games into perspective, this time last year we were second from bottom with 6 points. If we can be more clinical in front of goal and stop making silly mistakes in defence, it will not be long before we are challenging at the top of the table once again.

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  1. Joe you say ‘To put the first 9 games into perspective, this time last year we were second from bottom with 6 points. If we can be more clinical in front of goal and stop making silly mistakes in defence, it will not be long before we are challenging at the top of the table once again.’
    Objectively since last year we have also spent Stg 100 million on players, new owners, new manager ecc, ecc. But then that is not the point is it?
    Patience, perhaps next game, and on we go. When you criticize your team you are not lynching anyone. NO ONE is above criticizm and where we were last year has absolutely NOTHING do to with it.
    We woulda, coulda, shoulda won the last two games. We are now 6th in the table when had we cemented these results we would be 3rd (only on a worse goal difference) and in with a better shot for long term aspirations.
    The point is that Liverpool really should not have ‘one of those days’, not at home to Sunderland, not at home to Norwich!

    1. Net c.£40m spend. Not exactly going to buy the title. We are work in progress and, importantly, making progress. United really shouldn’t have “one of those days” and neither should Arsenal, but all teams do. There was a lynch mob for Johnson on Twitter last night, believe me.

  2. We are creating chances by the bucket full this season,it will be easier for someone to start taking these chances then for the team to start creating them.
    We could have won every game this season except for Spurs, the problem now a days is some fans are hysterical in their reactions to the games.

  3. Very true. We just cannot rely on Suarez. We definitely need someone who can be an alibi to Suarez. Gerrard still needs time to get to his best. Johnson was a disaster. Kenny should have started with Kelly. what was the need for Agger to come in at the end when we needed a goal. Maxi should have come in instead.I just did not understand the substitutions.

    1. Agger was introduced so that Johnson and Enrique can remain upfront and provide support! I think it was a good move actually, just too late in the game… I also think Johnson was good he offers more in attack in my opinion. Also, I think KK is briliant (again my opinion) however his changes come too late and i think its coz he has been out for a while so he is a bit rusty with his risk taking… we are all upset about the draw because we created so many chances and conceded easily…

  4. I’m sorry but this “wait and see” whilst we develop into a more cohesive unit doesn’t really hold much water for me. For us to stand a credible chance of getting back into the top four, we simply cannot afford to allow average or newly promoted sides like Norwich to come to Anfield and get anything. We should have dislocated Norwich. Plain fact of the matter is that LFC is too wasteful when in front of the goal. We need more clinical precision to kill off chances. 29 attempts on goal and only one deflected goal to show for it?!!?!? C’mon mate! Wake up and stop drinking that delusional juice. We need better distribution of goal scorers across the team – we’re slipping back into the mode of relying on one or two players to always score our goals – what happens if Saurez gets injured?!?! (a distinct possibility given the amount of fouls he endures week to week). Why isn’t Carroll starting more games? Why is Coates being played more? Why is Maxi Rodrigez being sidelined from week to week? Don’t get me wrong, I believe in King Kenny – he is the King – but we need start smashing up weaker opposition. The players we have should have no trouble dislocating average EPL sides like Norwich but we always make hard work of it!!! Plus what the hell is going on with King Kenny’s buying policy?!!? We need several match winners in the squad – impact players who can come off the bench and swing the game. FSG better get the cheque book out and go shopping come the new year!

  5. Tactically Kenny got this matchup just right, as the chances and overall dominance clearly show, and it wasn’t just a matter of finishing as it took a deflection and three really good saves by Norwich’s keeper to stop Luis from netting two or three goals.

    BUT Kenny’s substitutions were very odd.

    By and large Adam was fairly average and I thought for certain Hendo, given his solid play coming in for Lucas last week, was a no-brainer swap. Instead he takes out Bellamy, moves Downing to the left (after he’d done a solid job on the right) and Hendo plays the right where we all KNOW he’s struggled.

    Bringing Carroll on with ten minutes remaining was also strange and felt to many of us watching at the pub to be about 15 minutes too late. Norwich were ripe to be picked apart by more of an aerial approach and Andy’s presence opened up chances for either Luis or Kuyt to poach a goal off a bobbled save or deflection. We saw each of these circumstances immediately upon Andy’s entry so the proof was in the pudding.

    Finally, the Agger for Kuyt switch was plain bizarre. Don’t think anyone either expected or could explain that one. Seemed overly negative and realigned the entire complexion of our attacking players. Surely Kuyt had earned the two minutes left off the pitch but I have yet to hear any explanation for the switch.

    So tactically we were definitely on top, overall, but some of the late-game decisions we’re seeing of late (only one sub v. ManU last week) do give some pause, albeit minor. Obviously it’s early days but as a fan I’d like to see better use of our now deeper bench when the time calls for it.

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