Comparing Liverpool’s stats to the halfway point last season

Quick Reads

Liverpool have undoubtedly been the story of the festive fixtures so far, given they’ve shot ahead to become the bookies’ favourites to lift the Premier League title.

By winning back-to-back games against Wolves and Newcastle, they’ve capitalised on Manchester City’s mid-season wobble to move seven points clear of the overwhelming pre-season favourites. They’re also six points clear of Tottenham.

Last season they finished fourth, 25 points behind the champions City. Here are the stats that demonstrate their stratospheric rise over 2018.

Midway Point

Liverpool are 16 points better off than they were at the midway point last season. Remaining unbeaten, they’ve won 16 of 19 league games so far.

Last season, they’d already lost twice in the league and drawn eight times, winning fewer than half of their matches at the halfway point. They were well out of the question for the title and 21 points behind Guardiola’s record-breaking City, and only in the Champions League qualification places by a solitary point.

The starkest contrast is with the defence. This time they’ve equalled the all-time record for the fewest goals conceded at this stage of a season, letting in just seven goals and keeping 12 clean sheets.

Last season, before the signing of Virgil van Dijk, and later Allison, Liverpool had conceded 23 goals after 19 games – more than three times as many as this season.

By this time last year, Klopp’s side had conceded five to City, four to Spurs and three to Watford in the season opener. In no game this season have they conceded more than one goal.

Last season, Liverpool’s attack had scored 41 goals after 19 games, still with Philippe Coutinho who had contributed seven in the league before transferring to Barcelona in the winter window. The front three were beginning to establish themselves as the force that would fire them to the Champions League final.

But they’ve actually scored more in the league after 19 games this season, with 43, which flies in the face of the perception that they’ve not been clicking offensively in the same manner.

They’re four points behind last season’s City at the halfway point, but that’s good going given that Guardiola’s side had dropped just two points. Liverpool have conceded five fewer, too.

If you extrapolate their record so far over the full season, they’d break City’s record from last term and hit 102 points – but going the full campaign unbeaten and repeating their record from the first 19 games will be remarkably difficult.

If they can manage it though, doing so would mathematically guarantee the title.

Corresponding fixtures

Having played every team once, you can pinpoint the exact fixtures in which they’re improving.

In only one of the 19 corresponding fixtures to last season – Manchester City at home – have Liverpool picked up fewer points. Last season, they won 4-3 but were held to a goalless draw back in October.

However, with the trip to the Etihad coming up, they have a chance to improve on the three points they took from the two games against City last time.

In total, Liverpool are up eight points from the same fixtures last season, in terms of the same 16 teams.

Fixture: /

This season: /

Last season: /

Difference: /

Newcastle (H)

4-0

2-0

Man Utd (H)

3-1

0-0

+2

Bournemouth (A)

0-4

0-4

Burnley (A)

1-2

1-3

Everton (H)

1-0

1-1

+2

Watford (A)

3-0

3-3

+2

Arsenal (A)

1-1

3-3

Huddersfield (A)

0-1

0-3

Man City (H)

0-0

4-3

-2

Chelsea (A)

1-1

1-0

+1

Southampton (H)

3-0

3-0

Spurs (A)

1-2

4-1

+3

Leicester (A)

1-2

2-3

Brighton (H)

1-0

4-0

Crystal Palace (A)

0-2

1-2

West Ham (H)

4-0

4-1

 

One of the key areas in which Liverpool have improved this season is the week-to-week fixtures against the less glamorous sides; they’ve maintained a 100% winning record from every single game against opponents from outside the traditional “big six”; something they struggled to do consistently last season.

But in terms of the same opponents, the biggest improvements so far have actually come against the sides from the top six.

Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United were unable to hold Liverpool to another bore draw at home as they did in the last two seasons, while Daniel Sturridge’s late equaliser from Stamford Bridge yielded one more point than the same fixture last term.

The win against Spurs at Wembley is a big improvement on last season’s 4-1 defeat, meanwhile, and it ultimately proves the six-point difference between the two sides so far.

In regards to Liverpool’s other biggest game, thanks to Divock Origi’s bizarre last-minute winner a few weeks ago, they’ve already taken more points from the Merseyside derby after drawing with Sam Allardyce’s Everton at Goodison and Anfield in the league last season.

They’ve also beaten Wolves away, and Fulham and Cardiff with an aggregate score of 8-1. Last time against the newly promoted sides, they dropped two points away at Newcastle, but beat them at home and did the double over Huddersfield and Brighton.

But if you’re to draw an equivalence with the teams replaced, Liverpool dropped nine points against last season’s relegated teams. They drew home and away against West Brom, drew at home to Stoke and lost away to Swansea.

If they can beat the newly-promoted sides again each time, that’s a nine-point improvement on last term.


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