Did you know Liverpool have conceded the fewest shots in the Premier League and have conceded only one second-half goal of any significance?
This week’s Liverpool blog takes the form of 10 key stats.
I love a good stat so to mark Ben Woodburn’s special achievement on Tuesday night, so Red Letter will take the form of a top 10 of notable current stats or facts.
No doubt which is the deserved No. 1 but do they actually mean anything?
1) Ben Woodburn becomes Liverpool’s youngest ever scorer
A total of 444 players have scored for Liverpool and, with a net-busting volley in front of The Kop against Leeds, Ben Woodburn became the youngest of them. His age? 17 years and 45 days. It beat Michael Owen’s mark by 98 days and the ex-Anfield wunderkind was quick to acknowledge it on Twitter. “Another record taken from me!!! Congratulations @BenWoodburn on becoming the youngest ever scorer for @LFC”.
In all likelihood, Woodburn won’t see that much first-team action this season but what a great option to have if we need him again.
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) November 29, 2016
2) Liverpool are unbeaten in 18 games at Anfield
You have to go back to January to find the last time LFC fans trudged home after seeing us lose at home. Stoke were the last team to win although there were celebrations anyway as that merely sent the League Cup final to a shootout which the Reds won.
It means the last proper loss-based disappointment was suffered after the 1-0 reverse by Man Utd on January 15. Of the 18 games since the Stoke loss, Liverpool have won 12 and drawn six. That old idea about Anfield becoming a fortress again has had too many false dawns down the years but opposing teams are showing enough respect these days (Man Utd, Sunderland) to make you believe the idea is getting through.
3) Matip and Mane have never lost in a Liverpool shirt
It’s now December and two of our main summer signings have never played in a Reds defeat. Joel Matip was an unused substitute in the now mysterious 2-0 loss at Burnley while Sadio Mane missed the game through injury. Given the way they’ve quickly established themselves as first-team regulars, they were clearly missed that day.
Overall, Matip’s 13-match LFC career comprises 10 wins and three draws. When he’s played, the Reds have conceded just nine goals while he got one of his own against Crystal Palace. For Mane, it’s 11 wins and three draws from his 14 games. We’ve scored 39 goals in those matches, Mane netting six of them.
4) Liverpool have covered more distance than any other team in the Premier League
Our boys have clocked up 1,514.2km this season and, of course, thanks to Jurgen Klopp and his backroom staff, all that running has been controlled and planned rather than of the headless chicken variety.
Leading the charge, appropriately, has been skipper Jordan Henderson who’s covered a Premier League-high 155.1km. His tally of 1,132 passes is also chart topping, as is the team’s combined total of sprints (7,706). Henderson is vital to the balance of this team and, although doing it a slightly different away, seems just as important to us as N’Golo Kante was to Leicester when they won the title last season.
5) Liverpool have had more shots on goal than any other top-flight team
While it would have been more obvious to just say we’re the Premier League’s top scorers (32 in 12), it’s interesting to drill down a level or two. Rather than just being a case of everything we hit turning to gold/goals, it’s happening because we’re having more shots per game than any other team.
The count is 19.4 per match which is nearly two more than second-placed Man City. What’s more, we’re also ranked No.1 in shots on target per game with 7.3 – (1.3 per game higher than anyone else) so, to bend the cliché slightly, we’re buying the most raffle tickets and winning the most prizes.
6) Liverpool have conceded fewest shots per game
What? Yes, there was even a stat last week that we’ve conceded less shots per goal than any other team in Europe. Burnley face an average of 20.5 shots per game; we allow the opposition just 7.5 (a whole shot less than second-best Man City).
If we keep those standards up, the goals against column will reflect it and we’ll start racking up the clean sheets. Talking of which…
7) Liverpool have kept three successive clean sheets
Not an amazing stat but I trawled through the records and we haven’t kept four clean sheets in a row since February 2011! We could match that by shutting out Bournemouth this weekend.
If, as some say, a solid defence is what title bids are made off, the foundations are being laid.
8) Liverpool have conceded only one second-half goal of any significance
The Reds have entered the final 20 minutes of the last two games with the contest in the balance. They stepped it up and won both matches 2-0 – v Sunderland in the Premier League and v Leeds in the League Cup. They’re finding a way to get it done. But again, a word for the defence.
While Liverpool have conceded five times after the 70th minute this season, four of them didn’t change a thing. They were either consolations or the start of a failed comeback which the Reds, already in the driving seat, managed to stave off.
The only time a post-70th minute goal has hurt us is Danny Rose’s 72nd-minute equaliser at Spurs in August.
9) Liverpool have four players in the top 18 of the Premier League scoring charts
Let’s give that stat context. The next best represented teams are Chelsea and Arsenal with two each while no-one else has more than one. The significance? Liverpool look better able to cope with the loss of a key man.
That will be tested after it was confirmed that Philippe Coutinho is out until January. It’s a big blow but one we can hopefully absorb. Would Chelsea be able to deal with the loss of Diego Costa?
Liverpool’s goals are being shared around. Not relying on just one main striker means all our eggs aren’t in one basket.
10) Lorius Karius has booted a goal-kick out for a corner-kick more times than any other goalkeeper in the Premier League
Okay, after all that back-slapping, it’s time for a little self-deprecation. What was Karius doing? How is it possible to pass the ball out of play behind you? Some say he saw someone coming and, like a golfer aiming away from the water and missing the green on the safer side, he opted for the lesser of the two evils. It was all very strange but hopefully nothing more than a ‘what happened next?’ moment.
In isolation, many of those 10 stats/facts may just be good enough for a bit of pub talk.
But put them all together and this title bid is being based on strong, significant numbers rather than wishful thinking or hype.