Champions League final

2019 Champions League Final Preview: Defence Key To Victory

The 2019 Champions League final between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur promises to be an intriguing encounter. Since Jürgen Klopp took over the reigns at Anfield, the two teams have met eight times in the league. The record reads three Liverpool wins, one for Spurs and four draws.

But despite the balance tilting towards the Reds, the goal difference between the two is only one in their favour. Only one of the Liverpool victories has been by more than a goal, while Spurs’ sole triumph was 4-1 in October 2017.

We can therefore expect it to be a close run thing. Only two of the six previous Champions League finals between two teams from the same country have been won in normal time, with one of those – with Jürgen Klopp’s Dortmund on the wrong end of it – requiring an 89th minute winner.

With this in mind, which will be more important: attack or defence? Read More

Liverpool vs Chelsea Premier League Preview

Liverpool vs Chelsea Preview: Can the Reds avoid the Hazard in the road?

Liverpool vs Chelsea. Is any game more loaded with significance for title challenges? Five years ago, Steven Gerrard fell over after receiving a pass, allowing Demba Ba to give the Blues the lead at Anfield. It was ‘the slip that shook the world’, or at least it was based on the amount of fans of other clubs who still go on about it.

Half a decade on, and the Reds are in a far better place than they were then, whether they win the league this year or not. A victory here and they’ll reach 85 points, which is one more than they finished 2013/14 with, despite having four games left to play. But winning won’t be easy, as they’ll be taking on arguably their arch nemesis. No, not Demba Ba. Read More

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Premier League Preview

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur Preview: Mané vs Kane

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspur is the first fixture in the post-international break run-in for two teams who currently lead their respective races but can’t be confident of winning them just yet.

Jürgen Klopp’s team are two points ahead of Manchester City at the top of the table, but have played a game more. Spurs currently lead the four team chase for two Champions League qualification spots, which is just as well as their league form has nosedived.

In their last five games in all competitions, the Lilywhites have scored a total of four goals with Harry Kane bagging all of them. Only the European game at Dortmund has been won, so the return of Tottenham’s talisman hasn’t had a particularly positive effect upon their results.

The natural assumption would be that Kane has done little other than score in these matches. His dashboard from the league games neatly puts that notion to bed. Read More

Manchester United vs Liverpool Preview

Manchester United vs Liverpool Preview: Will the fixture flops come good?

Manchester United vs Liverpool is still arguably the biggest match in English football, even if it’s been rare that they’ve been competing with each other for the title in the last quarter of a century.

Jürgen Klopp’s side will hope history repeats itself. Liverpool victories at Old Trafford are rare events – there have been just 13 in history – but they have won in each of the last two seasons where they were embroiled in the title tussle. As this is their game in hand on Manchester City, three points here would do Liverpool’s championship challenge the power of good.

The most fascinating match up in this game is between two players who probably won’t come into much direct contact during the match. But according to our algorithm they’ve been the top man for each side, so will surely have key parts to play on Sunday. Read More

Liverpool vs Bournemouth

Liverpool vs Bournemouth Preview: How’s your nerve, Reds?

Little over a week ago, Liverpool supporters were starting to get giddy. Manchester City had surprisingly lost at Newcastle, giving the Reds a four point advantage and a game in hand. Eight days later and the latter remains, but their lead has been worn away.

Fortunately for Jürgen Klopp and his team, a home match with Bournemouth represents an excellent opportunity to secure three points. The Cherries have lost their last seven away games in a row, which is the longest current streak of defeats on the road in any of Europe’s top five leagues. Only one team has had a longer run of away day blues at any point in 2018/19 too. Liverpool might like a visit from SD Huesca, but Bournemouth will do for now.

Read More

West Ham vs Liverpool

West Ham vs Liverpool Preview: Battle of the flank

West Ham vs Liverpool is a massive game for the league leaders. But then they all are now, this is just the first of the fourteen which remain. This is the reverse of the fixture from the opening weekend, in which Liverpool battered a sorry looking Hammers side 4-0. It was Manuel Pellegrini’s first match in charge, though, and the former Manchester City manager might be able to do his old side a favour here.

After all, West Ham have beaten Manchester United and Arsenal at home this season, putting themselves alongside Wolves and Leicester as the sides from outside the top six who have the most wins against the big boys. However, the fly in the ointment is the Hammers’ treatment room, which is more crowded than the city of Liverpool will be if the Reds manage to clinch the league title.

West Ham injuries
Current West Ham injury list

Ouch. Several of the names listed there are in West Ham’s top performers for the season on a points-per-minute basis too, according to our algorithm, as you can see here. Read More

Liverpool vs Leicester City

Liverpool vs Leicester City Preview: Leading from the front

Liverpool may not have won the league for 29 years, but this is not their first title challenge in that period. However, they have usually been the hunter rather than the hunted; according to Stats Zone, this will be the Reds’ 10th Premier League game where they’ve started top of the table this season, more than they’ve played in every other individual campaign since 1992.

And in the next few weeks they will be very much the hunted. Liverpool haven’t played after Manchester City in any of the last six match weeks, yet will do so twice within the next week, and a further two times later in February. At the time of writing, it seems safe to assume the Reds will kick off just one point clear at the top of the table (unless Newcastle pull off a miracle result  – which they did! – Ed). Will the pressure start to tell on Liverpool? Read More

Mohamed Salah Leroy Sane Premier League wingers

Tactical Analysis: Contrasting Style of Premier League Wingers

The Premier League has seen an array of wingers in years gone by. But with managers willing to try different things to adapt to the modern-day game, we have witnessed the wingers performing different roles in different set-ups. Below we will analyse the distinct types of wide players, focusing on England’s top flight.

Firstly, let us define the role. A winger is an attacking midfielder who plays in wide areas, from where they can cross the ball and dribble past defenders. All in all, they are present to support the attacks from the sides of the field. Generally, a player playing in this position possesses pace to make runs in behind the defence, especially on counter-attacks.

The “yesteryear football” in England was predominantly about teams playing the 4-4-2 system with two wingers high and wide, crossing the ball on a regular basis with two strikers present in the box to attack those deliveries. Sir Alex Ferguson won countless trophies with Manchester United playing the flat 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1.

Back then the full-backs were defenders first, who would move forward if given the opportunity. However, the tale has changed in the modern game. The full-backs are like half-wingers themselves, hence they move forward whenever the team is in possession. It has made their job tougher in a positive sense, as they have to run up and down the pitch for the whole game, with a chance of making an impact at both ends of the field. Read More

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace Preview: Injury woes to hobble the Reds?

Four points clear at the top of the Premier League but as many defenders short would be the easiest way to describe the conundrum Liverpool find themselves in at the moment.

Bad news arrived from Melwood this week as Trent Alexander-Arnold became the latest injury setback to add to Jürgen Klopp’s defensive headache.

The 20-year-old right-back played through the full 90 minutes against Brighton but the extent of the knee injury he picked up during the warm-up revealed itself fully after the match. At the moment it is extremely difficult to put a definite timescale on TAA’s return but it’s certain he will be out of contention for Crystal Palace.

The England international has been one of the outstanding performers for Reds this season and will be greatly missed against the Eagles. The Twelve algorithm rates him as the seventh most valuable Liverpool player after 22 league matches, which can be considered quite an impressive feat given the attack-oriented nature of Klopp’s side. Read More

Brighton vs Liverpool

Brighton vs Liverpool Preview: Seagulls to ground Liverbirds?

Brighton vs Liverpool is a massive game for the league leaders. Have they gone off the boil with two defeats in a row? Is this the point their title challenge crumbles into dust now their unbeaten record has gone? And who is going to play at centre-back since Dejan Lovren hobbled off inside six minutes at Wolves?

The answers, at least to my mind, are: no, no and, er, Fabinho I guess? To address the first point, while the Reds have been beaten in their last two fixtures, the stats suggest they were unlucky to lose at City on the balance of chances. The same stats would imply they deserved to lose at Wolves, but the Liverpool team sheet confirmed that was always likely, whatever numbers were eventually totted up by both sides.

There’s no reason their bid for a first title 29 years will fall away any time soon either. If anything, their expected goals figures suggest they’re getting stronger at the moment, not worse.  Read More