Suarez & Carroll | High price, high hopes

Suarez & Carroll | High price, high hopes

Almost one year on after Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll joined Liverpool FC in an astonishing January transfer window, that also saw the much loved Fernando Torres depart for a record fee of £50m, we’re going to look at how the £57m duo have performed for Liverpool FC over the last year.

We’re going to be using our Statistical Comparison area from our Opta Stats Centre (Subscribe Now) to show how they’ve got on for the second half of last season and the first half of this season. Both players came at a very high price and even though they were paid for with the income from the Torres deal to Chelsea this should not be used as a reason to justify their cost. Liverpool have spent a record amount on two players and the expectancy from the fans is inevitable.

Andy Carroll Statistics

Let’s have a look at Andy Carroll’s stats from last year to this year.

Current Season | Last Season

In all honesty Andy hasn’t really played many games for Liverpool FC. Last season (on the right) was mainly due to his injury issues however he’s started just over half of Liverpool’s games this season mainly due to his form and the change to the shape of the team when Andy plays. Andy has played a combined 1,492 minutes so far in his Premier League career for Liverpool. This is equivalent to just over 16 and a half matches.

Let’s take a look at this shooting stats, courtesy of our Statistical Comparison area:

Current Season | Last Season

So just four goals in 16 starts for Andy Carroll resulting in one goal every four games for Liverpool in the Premier League. I honestly thought it was much worse than that but to be fair to Andy it’s not really a lot of games to judge on. He actually had a better statistical record last year by scoring those two goals against Manchester City. Unfortunately his chance conversion this season (6%) is one of the poorest in the Liverpool squad. Suarez isn’t far off this number but we’ll get to that in a little while.

His shooting accuracy has dropped from 54% to 39% this year however he’s attempting more shots as he’s averaging a shot on goal every 29 minutes this season. The unfortunate part is that he’s managing one on target every 75 minutes. He was hitting the target every 64 minutes last year. The minutes to goals statistic works out at a goal every 373 minutes. Simply not good enough for a striker.

You can argue that the service to Carroll hasn’t been good enough but the three attempts he’s managed against the woodwork this season really should have found the back of the net. A few of them have been headers a few yards out that you’d expect him to finish.

Luis Suarez Statistics

So we move onto Luis Suarez. We’re not going to go into any mentions of any of the controversies in the last month and are going to be solely concentrating on the football statistics. Just thought we’d get that one out of the way.

Luis Suarez has been said to be a revelation at Liverpool FC. Every time he has played he has added a lot more to the Liverpool attacks, more in terms of creation than goal scoring and we’ll go on to his stats to see how he’s done in the Premier League since joining Liverpool FC.

Current Season | Last Season

Since he joined Liverpool, Luis Suarez has started 29 matches and played 2,568 minutes of football. He’s pretty much played every game and only been rested a few times. Once against Arsenal springs to mind and then just when he joined he didn’t play against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Apart from that he’s pretty much played every game that he’s been available for.

Current Season | Last Season

So in those 29 games Suarez has scored 9 goals in the Premier League. For a striker, again, it’s not a very good come back. You’d expect a striker to around 13-17 goals if they were to be classed as an out and out goal scorer. So if we go by these Opta stats, Suarez is obviously not an out and out goalscorer. In the last year Suarez has had 116 attempts at goal (these do not include blocked shots, only shots on target and off target are used in our Comparisons) with 52 of them being on target therefore achieving a shooting accuracy of approximately 45%. This is not such a bad figure, the real draw back of Suarez is his chance conversion. If Andy Carroll’s is bad at 6%, then Luis Suarez isn’t far behind at all this season with a 7% chance conversion. He didn’t do much better last year either as he converted on 9% of his chances.

Suarez has also hit the woodwork seven times since joining the club. However his strikes against the woodwork have been a little different to Andy’s (who is usually hitting the crossbar from headers around the six yard box) as he’s had his shots tipped onto posts more often than not. Still this is not an excuse for Suarez he should be finishing the chances and not giving the keepers a chance with his finishes.

So from a goalscoring point of view Luis Suarez cannot be deemed a success statistically however the reason why Suarez is much loved by the Kop and why he is renowned as one of the most dangerous players in the league is because of his ability to create chances for himself and his team mates. A fair percentage of his shots on goal are created by himself, we don’t have any stats to back this up right now (maybe Opta can start to do a self-chance creation stat?) but he has the ability to turn and beat players at any time. Over the last year he has completed dribbled past or beaten an opponent 79 times which shows his ability to beat a man. I think you’ll find it difficult to get another striker with that number.

Current Season | Last Season

Suarez has created 61 chances for his Liverpool team mates over the last year. A very good amount for a striker. Remember these do not include the amount of chances Luis Suarez creates for himself and I believe that would add a fair amount onto that total. He’s creating a chance every 42 minutes for his team mates however we’ve watched every Liverpool game since Suarez joined and we can tell you that he’s been in a position where he’s beaten a player and looks up and there is absolutely nobody supporting in the box or getting on the end of an excellent ball across the six yard box. None of these will be counted in the stats above so there is plenty to be satisfied with when it comes to Luis.

Clear Cut Chances

Opta have a clear cut chances statistic which we’re going to briefly analyse now for Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez.

Since joining the club Suarez has scored 7 out of 21 clear cut chances and Andy Carroll has scored 2 out of 12.  Suarez has therefore converted 33% of his clear cut chances which isn’t too bad however Andy Carroll has converted just over 16.5% of his, which is almost half of his colleagues return. Both of these figures should really be much higher as a clear cut chance is one that is either a one on one or a free header / no pressure shot on goal.

How are their rivals doing so far this season:

Van Persie: 9/21 = 43%
Rooney: 7/12 = 58%
Aguero: 10/18 = 56%
Demba Ba: 5/13 = 38%

As you can see the Liverpool FC strikers are guilty of not taking their clear cut chances as well as their rivals either!

Summary

It’s going to be harsh to read (and for me to write), but I don’t believe the stats are lying on this occasion.

The fact of the matter is that no striker is judged on how many chances they can create or how many players they can dribble past. They’re judged on goals and as far as goals go they have not been flowing for either of the players. Combining their time on the pitch the strikers have played for 4,060 minutes scoring 13 goals. This translates to a goal every 312 minutes or a goal every 3.5 games. As a strike force or individually that will not strike fear into any opponents. A combined chance conversion of 7.8% is also very poor.

Our advice to Liverpool FC this January would be to go and buy another striker that can actually put the ball in the back of the net!

All of the statistics used in this article are from the Statistical Comparisons section from the EPLIndex Stats Centre (powered by Opta Stats) which is available in the Full Stats Package for £3.95 per month! Subscribe Now!