Following the first half, most Liverpool supporters would have expected all three points over the next 45 minutes. The performance up until half time had been great and it was unfortunate they only had a single goal to show for it. Norwich eventually came back to tie the game from a headed goal.
So, what went wrong for Liverpool FC then? There isn’t much to discuss here unfortunately. Most who watched the game will come to a common conclusion. Liverpool did not complete their chances. The following tables will give you an idea of their performance. The majority of the stats will demonstrate how they dominated the game, in my opinion.
Right off the bat, Liverpool created chances. Skrtel headed the ball onto the cross bar within minutes of the starting whistle. Suarez also hit the bar within the first half and Liverpool would strike the frame a third time over the course of the game. After the first half performance, Liverpool should have had 2-3 goals at the very least. Unfortunately, bad luck and carelessness in front of goal only managed to get them a goal at the tail end of the first half through Craig Bellamy.
Norwich started the second half strong and maintained a level of performance through the last 45 minutes. It thus saw Liverpool lose out on some of the mighty possession they held in the first half. Regardless, they still managed possession of 55.3%. The glaring stat for Liverpool related to the chances they created; 20 in total. In addition, they had 21 shots as well as 8 that were blocked. 10 of those shots belonged to Luis Suarez who unfortunately left his shooting boots at home and was unlucky not to find the back of the net.
A couple more of the stats will demonstrate just how strong of a shift Liverpool put in. A total of 496 passes saw a pass completion of 81%; well above the season average of 76.52%. They put in 37 crosses with a completion of 32%; well above the season average of 23%. They created 20 chances in total, with a chance created every 4.8 minutes. Once again, a lot better than the season average of 7.9 minutes. In terms of Liverpool’s attacking game then, they were definitely on form, bar their finishing. Their completion for the game ended at 5% which is nearly half their season average of 9%. While some of it was attributed to poor play, some was just bad luck. They averaged a shot on target every 10.6 minutes which was a lot better than the season average of 17 minutes.
If we were to do a comparison, Liverpool’s performance was much like their performance against Stoke; Everything down to the disappointing result. They dominated the game, but just didn’t take their chances. For example, they averaged a shot on target every 13.7 minutes, managed a pass completion rate of 76%, created 18 chances and put in 34 crosses. Observing these stats, it is clear Liverpool performed similarly, if not better against Norwich.
As far as analyzing the game stats go, this is it then. Liverpool failed to convert their numerous chances.
I would like to take it a step further though and perhaps bring to light a couple of things that do bother me.
The following are the passing maps for Liverpool against Norwich.
Kenny set the team up in a similar 4-4-2 formation much like we’ve seen for the majority of the season thus far. I am not a big fan of this formation at all. The absence of Lucas was apparent from some of Liverpool’s defensive stats. However, the one thing that does bother me is the lack of creativity in this game. Liverpool’s attacking game seemed rather predictable and a majority of the game was played out wide. This is apparent from the maps that illustrate how much of the ball was passed around the CAM zone. The central players generally had a tendency to move to wider positions. This resulted in the large number of crosses recorded. While it is great that Liverpool have developed some width, the corresponding reduction of play from central areas is a slight worry. And I believe the two man midfield is a major cause of this. Furthermore, we played Gerrard and Adam today. Adam, in my opinion doesn’t fit the trequartista role very well. His game is more suited to that of Alonso’s. Gerrard had to sit back a fair amount to maintain some cover for the back line as well. Especially so in the second half. As a result, when Norwich began attacking in the second half, Liverpool could not create a good link between midfield and attack.
The next thing that bothered me and has been for most of the season is Kenny’s substitution process. He has generally left it rather late and some of the subs have also been questionable. He brought on Jordan and played him out wide. He subbed Bellamy when we were chasing the game. He took of Downing and brought Carroll on. Surely if Carroll is being brought on, while Liverpool are chasing for a win, wide players with the ability to cross are a necessity.
Another outlier from this game was the number of times Liverpool players were caught offside. (9 times)
The biggest worry for Liverpool supporters is their team’s lack of ability to finish their chances. With all due respect to the Norwich team and their fans, Liverpool was definitely expecting to win this game. It is worrying as they look to secure a Champions League spot this season. Beating the top teams of Chelsea, Arsenal, United and City are great. However, failure to kill off teams that should be wins and dropping points where unnecessary will hamper their progress in the long run.
Liverpool currently sit in 6th spot after 9 games with 15 points. Unless Liverpool sort out some of these issues, that CL spot could be missed yet again.