In fact, competition is always about comparison. When teams measure themselves against each other the result provides the answer as to which team is superior. The rest in between is a mixture of conjecture and analysis. So 12 months on I wondered how we compared to last season.
After reading a highly enjoyable statistic that we have had 39 points after 27 games for the last 3 seasons, I decided to do my own examination as to how we measure against last season’s performance.
I am not as keen on the ‘after this many games we had this many points last season’ as a valid form of analysis. It’s all well and good having the same number of points but if the remaining fixtures are Man Utd, Arsenal, Man City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Everton away, well the current points tally doesn’t really make a genuine comparison.
So I have looked at the like for like results for LFC this season against the same opposition last season and there are some very interesting results. Of course, I have had to manipulate the results slightly as the same teams don’t compete in the Premier League every year. So, I have swapped the bottom 3 from last season with the newly promoted sides.
|Aston Villa||1:3||Aston Villa||1:1||0:2|
|Man City||2:2||2:2||Man City||1:1||3:0|
|Man Utd||1:2||2:1||Man Utd||1:1||2:1|
Reading, as Champions of the Championship (yes, that does sound ridiculous!) have switched places with Bolton, Southampton replace Blackburn’s results and West Ham take the place of Wolves.
It was acknowledged last season that home form had not been good enough and Brendan Rodgers has clearly wasted no time in addressing that problem so far this season.
Liverpool’s defence has appeared to be a problem this time round and indeed Rodgers’ charges have conceded 4 more goals against the same opposition. However, that is counteracted by the staggering 21 more goals Liverpool have managed this season in the same fixtures. Given how much fans have pined for extra firepower this season (until Sturridge arrived) that fact is truly remarkable.
The improvement across these games means that Rodgers’ reds have amassed an extra 0.33 points per game in these fixtures. If the same improvement holds out until the end of the season Liverpool will finish with 64-65 points some 12 or 13 points improvement on last season’s performance. So while our final league position could well be very similar to last seasons, our points haul would actually be much closer to Champions League standard.
If Liverpool repeat their results of last season, then they will finish with 61 points. While this is hardly a ground breaking haul, it is an improvement nonetheless.
So while it may well seem that the team is performing at a similar level to last season, it must be said that Rodger’s has actually brought an improvement to results, especially given we have already scored more goals than we managed in all of last season.
Rodgers may have his work cut out to convince fans that he’s the right man for the job but if he can make another improvement in results next season, he could well silence some detractors.