The holidays are over, new players have come in and some have left. The training has already been going on for the last two weeks but Liverpool kicked off their preseason in earnest yesterday, with a 4-0 win over Preston North End at Deepdale. Looking for more football scores? Try http://www.footballscores.com.
Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring from the penalty spot early in the first half. Jordon Ibe added Liverpool’s second later on with a shot from just outside the box.
Raheem Sterling did well on his return from injury with the third goal in the second half, and new signing Iago Aspas finished the game with a fantastic goal.
The Reds had some notable absentees. Pepe Reina is still on holiday after playing in the Confederations cup, as is the club’s star striker Luis Suarez. Steven Gerrard and Daniel Sturridge were also absent due to recovering injuries. This allowed Brendan Rodgers to throw in some of the younger players, such as Andre Wisdom and Ibe, and use players such as Jay Spearing and Oussama Assaidi, who the club are believed to be looking to move on.
Places were also available for the club’s new signings, with Kolo Toure staying on for the first half and Luis Alberto and Aspas coming on for the second. Simon Mignolet was in goal for the majority of the game before coming off for Danny Ward.
Liverpool were in control for the majority of the game and while the fans will be pleased, the focus was obviously on fitness and the level of the performance. Now, we know that Rodgers likes to play attacking football and so it is worth noting that the team of the second half created more chances than the first.
Twitter’s @AnfieldIndex (a well-known contributor to this website) had the first half team creating five chances overall and the second half side creating nine. Coutinho created two during the first half which made him the most creative player, while Stewart Downing was the best in the second half with three chances created.
Looking at the players for both halves, the second half featured more of the regulars at the attacking side of the pitch. Both Downing and Sterling featured in this half, with Aspas playing up front and Alberto and Dani Pacheco playing behind them.
Liverpool kept good possession off the ball against Preston, and while this may be expected against a League 1 club, it’s still interesting to look at how successful the Reds were with their passing. According to @AnfieldIndex, Liverpool attempted 616 passes overall with an unbelievable 91.23% accuracy rate. 352 of these passes were in the central third of the pitch, with the fewest amount of passes coming in the final third with 109.
While this may worry some fans who were expecting Liverpool to play more at the top of the pitch, it’s worth remembering that Rodgers and Liverpool’s style of play is to keep the ball and pass it around to find an opening in the opponent’s defence.
Henderson attempted the most passes of any Liverpool player with 56, 89% of which found one of his team mates. However, it’s worthwhile and perhaps even somewhat strange to note that it was Glen Johnson, not an attacking player, who attempted the most passes in the final third of the pitch with 14.
Looking at these stats so far, it’s fair to say that side of the second half were much more effective going forward in attack, but what about the defensive stats?
@AnfieldIndex noted that the Reds regained possession through pressing of opposition players 21 times during the course of the game. However, it was the team that played in the first half that were most effective here with 14 of these coming during their time on the pitch. This is reflected in which player regained possession the most through pressing, with Ibe winning the ball back on four separate occasions.
Looking at the wider scale of things defensively speaking, the Reds conceded nothing to Preston and only allowed one troubling shot on goal in the entire game, when Scott Laird forced a save from Mignolet.
It was a good performance by Liverpool, and one that will give Rodgers and his coaching staff a measure of satisfaction. However, it is only one match and there are still a few games to go in the Far East and in Australia before the season starts for real.
Please note that the stats below are recorded manually by @AnfieldIndex and they are not presented by any official body. The collection of stats can take up to four hours per game so it is a very long process. This represents the work of a dedicated fan however it may have inaccuracies as many on-ball events are missed because of replays and crowd reaction shots.
Please do credit @AnfieldIndex if you are going to reproduce any of these stats by linking back to his Twitter account.
Passing Stats divided into thirds of the pitch
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