Monday, 8 April 2013

Liverpool 0 - 0 West Ham United

Sunday 7th April

Liverpool vs West Ham United

A point from Anfield is a point more than I was expecting. Our terrible winless run in the red side of Liverpool may have stretched to another game, but a well deserved draw means it doesn't really matter that much.

So, how did we do it? Well, one of the key elements of the performance was the way in which the midfield and defence frustrated Liverpool. Time and again they were forced to shoot from outside of the box. West Ham have been very good this season at restricting the opposition to long range attempts, and that continued on Sunday. 60% of Liverpool's attempts on goal were from long range, with a number of these blocked or off target. On the occasions that Liverpool did make there way into the box, they were met by an inform Jussi Jaaskelainen.

The chart below shows Liverpool's attempts on goal (Purple = Saved; Red = Off Target; Orange = Blocked; Blue = Woodwork). From this, it becomes clear what great work the defence did in blocking shots, with James Tomkins and James Collins racking up three blocks each.

I wrote before the game about the importance of stopping Steven Gerrard from getting into attacking areas. Well, we weren't too successful in keeping him out of danger zone, but we defended so well it scarcely mattered.

The chart below shows Gerrard's action zones. The England skipper took around a third of his touches in the penalty area and central attacking third. But, he struggled to create. He created four chances throughout the game, but only one of these was a pass into the box, meaning his team mates struggled to stick the ball in the net.

Something that I have found particularly interesting in recent weeks is the changing roles of Kevin Nolan and Mohamed Diame. Early in the season, we often saw Nolan playing in the hole, as a kind of deep lying striker, whilst Diame stayed deeper in the midfield. In recent weeks, however, their roles appear to have morphed.

Diame is often now the furthest forward midfielder, whilst Nolan appears to be player a deeper role. The image below shows the average positions for the teams. As you can see, Diame (# 21) is right up alongside Carlton Cole (# 9), while Nolan (# 4) is actually within his own half.

This change in tactics has allowed Diame to use his natural athleticism to drive at defences and attack the box, rather than driving through the midfield like we are used to. This has meant that he often has a strike at goal (admittedly a little wayward on Sunday!) but this has made the team feel a little more unpredictable in attack, and has removed the slightly laboured feel that we've seen commonly this season.

The image below shows Diame's take ons on Sunday. The green are instances when Diame went past a Liverpool player, and the red where he was tackled.

So, an unexpected point that edges us ever closer to mathematical safety. I said last week that I believed the West Brom win to have made us safe, but a point at Anfield makes those three points even sweeter.

The 50 years without a win at Anfield may stretch into its 51st year, but a well earned draw means we're likely to get to try again next year.

General Play
4-3-3 Starting Formation 4-2-3-1
27.5 Starting XI Ave. Age 28.5

Glen Johnson Best Performance Jussi Jaaskelainen
68.48 CI Rating 66.95

Stewart Downing Worst Performance Carlton Cole
55 CI Rating 60.68

62% Possession 39%
(averaged from whoscored, bbcsport, skysports & squawka)

82% Passing Accuracy 64%
74% in Opp. Half 58%
Jamie Carragher 96% Best Accuracy 87% Matt Jarvis

641 Passes Attempted 342
Lucas Leiva 96 Most Passes Attempted 56 Gary O'Neil

59 Long Balls 58
Steven Gerrard 13 Most Long Balls (excl. GK) 5 James Collins

Offensive Play
20 Attempts on Goal 11
8 On Target 1
7 Off Target 6
5 Blocked 4
12 From Outside Box 3
Luis Suarez 5 Most Attempts on Goal 3 Mohamed DiamE

12 Corners 2
4 Offsides 0

21 Crosses 15
2 Successful Crosses 6
Luis Suarez 7 Most Crosses Attempted 5 Matt Jarvis

41% Aerial Success 59%
Daniel Agger 2 Most Duels Won 7 Carlton Cole

Defensive Play
18 Tackles Attempted 29
16 Successful 25
Lucas Leiva 7 Most Tackles 8 James Collins

18 Clearances 47
Daniel Agger 6 Most Clearances 9 James Tomkins

15 Interceptions 8
Glen Johnson 4 Most Interceptions 2 Guy Demel

4 Shots Blocked 4
Glen Johnson 3 Most Shots Blocked 3 James Tomkins

8 Fouls 5
Lucas Leiva 3 Most Fouls 1 Jack Collison

0 Yellow Cards 1
Joey O'Brien (WHU) 85'
0 Red Cards 0

Head to Heads
Pepe Reina vs Jussi Jaaskelainen
0 Goals Conceded 0
0 Saves 7
3 Crosses Claimed 0
69% Passing Accuracy 45%
13 Total Passes 22
7 Long Balls 22
38% % Long Ball 00%

Jamie Carragher vs James Tomkins
33% Aerial Dules Won 0%
4 Tackles 2
0 Blocks 3
2 Interceptions 1
5 Clearances 9
1 Fouls Committed 0

96% Passing Accuracy 54%
56 Total Passes 13
7 Long Balls 4
.5% % Long Ball 08%

Steven Gerrard vs Mohamed Diame
84% Passing Accuracy 83%
77 Total Passes 24
13 Long Balls 2
69% % Long Ball 33%
4 Crosses 2
1 Successul Crosses 1
4 Chances Created 1
0 Assists 0

1 Tackles 2
0 Blocks 0
0 Interceptions 0
1 Clearances 2
1 Fouls Committed 0

3 Attempts on Goal 3
1 On Target 0
0 Goals 0

Luis Suarez vs Carlton Cole
0 Goals Scored 0
5 Attempts on Goal 2
2 On Target 0
33% Aerial Duels Won 78%

74% Passing Accuracy 62%
46 Total Passes 39
3 Chances Created 1
0 Assists 0

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