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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Wolves vs Liverpool

Wolves vs Liverpool Preview: Van the man to stop Jiménez?

After beating Napoli and Manchester United in the space of five days, Liverpool are in seventh heaven at the moment. They have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League after coming out of a difficult group, and are the league leaders in England. Hence we can feel something is going well at Anfield under the tutelage of charisma itself, Jürgen Klopp!

However, the season doesn’t end here and games come thick and fast during the Christmas period. Next up for the Reds is a tricky away game against newly-promoted Wolves at Molineux on Friday.

Historically, away fixtures at promoted teams haven’t been easy for established Premier League clubs. And Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are looking anything but a side who were playing Championship football last year. Read More

Premier League Team of Week 13

Premier League Team of Week 13: Aladdin Sané

Our Premier League team of week 13 features six debutants. Some are from struggling clubs, and some are Leroy Sané. But all have earned their place here, and can be found in the upper echelons of this week’s leader board. Let’s see who our algorithm has selected for the XI.

Goalkeeper: Wayne Hennessey. Manchester United 0-0 Crystal Palace.

Hennessey topped the defence leader board in week 13, thanks mainly to making five saves (including one from a clear-cut chance). But he also won four aerial duels, which was the joint-most by any player in their own half in this match. For context, Ederson, Fabianski, Lloris and Schmeichel have won four in total this season. Read More

Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Whisper it, but fantasy football games are really difficult to do well at. We certainly proved that with our attempt at Draft Kings‘ Saturday contest prior to the recent international break. Long-term Twelve favourite Roberto Pereyra was the best of our bad bunch, but as none of our players got into double figures, that’s damning the Hornet with the faintest of faint praise.

As always, we go again. Here are the matches which are included this week.

Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13

Using our algorithm, we create a leader board (which you can see here) from which to choose our eight players. Here’s our Premier League Fantasy Football selections: Week 13. Take heed. Read More

Premier League Team of Week 11

Premier League Team of Week 11: Well played, Mr. Anderson

You know the drill by now. We compile a leaderboard for the weekend’s games, and pick the bones out of it to hammer it into a vaguely cohesive XI. Here’s our Premier League team of week 11.

Goalkeeper: David de Gea. Bournemouth 1-2 Manchester United.

Rival fans like to joke about where United would be if de Gea ever left; ‘League One’ is the most common response. That may sound extreme, but with six saves (including one clear-cut chance) he kept his side in the game long enough to win it yet again. Read More

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Premier League Preview

Tottenham Hotspur vs Liverpool Preview: Just Score First

The ‘head-to-head record’ may well be the weakest statistic used in football but the sport is changing. The top teams, at least, are firmly out of the era of the reactive and into that of proactive tactical approach. Alternatively phased, we now have a lot of managers who are accused of not having a plan B.

As a result, the last seven games between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur – in the period since Jürgen Klopp took over – have been largely very similar.

Screenshot from 11v11.com

Spurs open themselves up with possession football. Liverpool turn the ball over in midfield and counter-attack with rapid pace. Spurs do a decent job of pressing in return to suffocate the counters, and are less tired by the end of the game so can rally back (as evidenced by the fact only two of their goals in these fixtures have come before 60 minutes). Read More

Real Madrid vs Liverpool: Who have been their best players in Europe?

In my last article I took a look at who Liverpool’s player of the year has been when it comes to the stats in the Premier League. With the Champions League final coming up on Saturday, it’s now time to take a look at how the players of Liverpool and Real Madrid have fared in Europe in 2017/18.

It won’t surprise anyone to see Cristiano Ronaldo lead the way from Liverpool’s fabulous front three, as those four players are the top four scorers in the competition this season. However, it will probably confound people to see Dejan Lovren sneak into the top five, just as he did when looking for the Reds’ top players in domestic football.

While the top four have clearly relied a lot on shots and goals (the blue bar) to reach their high scores, Liverpool’s Croatian centreback has understandably relied upon his defensive (red) points. But his off ball bar (yellow) is relevant too, and in fact Lovren leads the way on this particular attribute, either in total or on a points per minute basis.

Jürgen Klopp appears to value Lovren’s brand of front foot defending, even if it has Liverpool supporters tearing their hair out at times. Twelve value his contribution here too, as we can see on his map.

However, if anything is more surprising than Lovren’s inclusion in the top five players, it’s the fact Ronaldo has racked up far more defensive points than any of Liverpool’s front three, as that feels counter-intuitive when the Reds love to defend from the front.

The Portuguese legend is a useful asset when defending set plays though, thanks to his aerial prowess. Ronaldo has made one more clearance than the Reds’ attacking trident have between them, and here’s his defensive chart.

In terms of actual defenders, both Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos have amassed more points for defending than Lovren has, and in fewer minutes on the pitch too. So how have Liverpool conceded two fewer goals in the competition this season?

An easier batch of opponents has obviously helped, but any Kopite will utter three words when asked why the Reds’ defence has improved recently: Virgil van Dijk. Sure enough, the Dutchman is top of the defensive pile when the scores are sorted on a points per minute basis.

That’s impressive work from the former Southampton man, and let’s not forget he has only featured in the knockout stages as he joined Liverpool in January. Van Dijk’s figures have not been boosted by facing lesser sides in the group stage.

Will his impact help in the final though? After all, Ronaldo is more inclined to drift to the left anyway (as his attack map testifies), and that is where the weaker side of Liverpool’s defence resides too. Then again, van Dijk should prove to be useful in marking Ronaldo on set pieces, even if they don’t face up too often in open play.

In the attack stats, it would be natural to assume James Milner would lead the way, as he has clocked up eight assists in the 2017/18 Champions League, yet he only takes the silver medal.

The fact the winner in this category has set up a single goal in the competition illustrates the random nature of assists nicely. Toni Kroos has created 24 goal scoring opportunities in the Champions League this season, so perhaps should’ve assisted more goals. Mohamed Salah is the only player on either side to create more chances, and he is behind Kroos on a per 90 minutes basis.

The German international has boosted his creativity figures with set plays, but he clearly contributes plenty to Madrid’s attack. While Liverpool will need to be wary of Kroos in Kiev, there’s clearly players on both sides who can cause damage. That makes the match both a mouthwatering prospect but also incredibly difficult to call. Don’t be surprised if one of the top four players in the Twelve rankings makes the key difference in the final.