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.

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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

Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool

Manchester City 2-1 Liverpool: View From The Press Box

As his side became the first to defeat Liverpool in the league this season, Pep Guardiola was asked why he changes his tactics when he plays them. It was a bold question, and one which was thrown straight back by the City manager.

“What did I change today? From the way we normally play? At Anfield I would agree with you, here no way”

“More direct?” came the reply, and Guardiola explained why this may have appeared to be the case.

“Yeah they stay high, we spoke with [Raheem] Sterling and Leroy [Sane] to make runs in behind.”

“Today I have the feeling we tried to do what we have done in sixteen months, that is my feeling but maybe I’m wrong.”

He had played a different system in the draw at Anfield earlier in the season, using Bernardo Silva as a holding player in a 4-2-3-1 but here he took a risk, and commented that if Fernandinho did not win his duels his defence would be isolated against some of the best attacking players in the world. Read More

Manchester City vs Liverpool

Manchester City vs Liverpool Preview: The Big One

Manchester City vs Liverpool. This is the big one. The game for all the marbles. The two best teams in the Premier League square off for a second time to see if Liverpool’s march to a first title in almost three decades will be assured or if who will win the Premier League is still an open question.

With over half of the season now gone, we’ve gotten answers to many of the big pre-season questions. One of mine was how Liverpool would fare as a more possession-based team. The addition of Alisson in particular suggested that Liverpool were going to play as more of a possession-oriented side. Given the Reds often struggled when they couldn’t rely on their press and were forced to break down an opponent last season, it made sense to focus in that area.

Though Liverpool’s results against lower sides have improved, it can’t really be said they’re playing more of a possession game, as their possession percentage this season is slightly lower than last (58% to 57% per Whoscored). As expected, Alisson has turned the ball over about 2.5 fewer times per 90 compared to the Karius/Mignolet duo, but the percentage of possessions ending in a turnover hasn’t decreased. Read More

liverpool vs arsenal

Liverpool vs Arsenal Preview: Expect(ed) Goals At Anfield

When it comes to this fixture, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal never really recovered from a remarkable match in February 2014. Liverpool were four goals up inside 20 minutes, and the visitors were fortunate to ‘only’ lose 5-1.

The Gunners have picked up just two points from their four visits to Anfield since, conceding a total of 12 goals across those games. But since Unai Emery took charge, Arsenal have generally shown far greater levels of fortitude. Liverpool vs Arsenal certainly won’t be a walkover for the home side as it has been in the past two seasons.

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Liverpool vs Newcastle

Liverpool vs Newcastle Preview: Can Rafa spoil the Reds’ festivities?

On November 3rd, when Newcastle United hosted Watford, the situation for Rafael Benitez’s men could hardly have been more precarious. Had they lost at St James’ Park that day, it would have been the first time the Magpies had ever failed to win in their first eleven Premier League games. Victory kick-started their season, and they haven’t looked back since.

Fast forward to Boxing Day, and Newcastle head to Premier League leaders Liverpool in a very favourable position. Avoiding relegation is still the primary target, but 14 points from their last eight games have eased their fears. Benitez is incredibly popular with both sets of fans after six successful years at Anfield, but he will be focussed completely on getting a result and nothing else. Key to the visitors’ chances, in more ways than one, is striker Salomon Rondon. Read More