Everyone knows how important the (relatively) common appearances of Daniel Agger has been to the defensive performance of Liverpool this season. With the Dane on the pitch, the Reds have conceded a goal every 130 minutes. Contrast that to the fact that without Agger, a goal has been conceded every 59 minutes and it is painfully clear that the quicker he returns to the starting side the quicker the performances will improve.
Other than Arsenal’s goal machine Robin van Persie, I doubt there is a side in the Premier League that is so heavily reliant on one player to achieve results. It is no coincidence that Liverpool’s recent run of form has occurred whilst Agger has been injured.
A million chances, another wasted penalty, one more strike hitting the post and no goals has been the story of Liverpool’s season so far. Have they been unlucky? Have all the chances they have created been good ones? Statistics can never tell the whole truth, particularly on something as subjective as ‘what is a good chance’ but it is worth having a look at a few different statistics to analyse why Liverpool have been struggling to find the back of the net this season.
It seems Damien Comolli will forever be a polarising figure. Applauded in some circles for his work at Tottenham and laughed at from others. He is viewed as anything from the best at his craft to overrated and the one responsible for Tottenham’s disasterous start to the 2008/09 Premier League campaign.
A recent article on Backpage Football is blunt in its attack over the Frenchman’s reign as Director of Football Strategy and now Director of Football at Liverpool. Cian Fahey makes some startling comments about the signings Comolli has made.
He might have only hit the back of the net four times in twelve Premier League appearances this season, but Liverpool’s Uruguayan forward Luis Suárez is rapidly becoming one the league’s most dangerous forwards and world’s best players. Key to this is his versatility and ability to adapt to different roles.
Against Chelsea Liverpool lined up in a 4-4-2 with Craig Bellamy partnering Suárez in an attempt to counter Chelsea’s high defensive line with the pair’s pace. The first goal may have come through excellent pressing from Charlie Adam, however a number of chances were created with quick balls to the two pacey forwards – particularly in the opening half hour. Suárez’s role was to play off the shoulder of the Chelsea’s central defensive pair of John Terry and David Luiz and use his pace and the space to create scoring opportunities.
With most football leagues around the world becoming increasingly dominated by unimaginably wealthy owners and their fantasy-like teams, the A-League stands out as one of very few leagues where it is plausible for any of the competing sides to finish the season as champions. Whilst the idea of West Brom or Wigan winning the Premier League borders on insane, current A-League cellar dwellers Wellington and Gold Coast still have realistic chances of making strong challenges this season.
I was interested in how the A-League stood up against other leagues and have put together a few tables that compare competitiveness across leagues. I have compared the EPL, Bundesliga, La Liga, MLS, J-League, the Brasileirão and A-League. This gives a good mix of top European leagues, more competitive Asian and South-American competitions and the only other league that I am aware of that has a salary cap (the MLS).