Justifying Cattermole to Liverpool: Stats Don't Lie, or Do They?

Justifying Cattermole to Liverpool: Stats Don't Lie, or Do They?

Lee Barry Cattermole

December 1st 2014 – Day one of the outbreak.

The rumour wasn’t expected and because of this it wasn’t contained.

Liverpool were supposedly making a January move for the best defensive midfielder in the world. How are the fans supposed to control their excitement when news like that is spreading?

Well, it’s pretty straightforward when the defensive midfielder in question is, to use his full name, Lee Barry Cattermole.

AI Tees

Justifying Cattermole

I had to double check the date to be sure it wasn’t April 1st. Lee Cattermole was being touted as the best defensive midfielder in the world based on favourable stats geared towards him.


Image A 

If you dissect the stats a little you get to see what exactly the table shows –


Some Liverpool ‘fans’ were trying to justify the signing of Cattermole, for the fee of £12million, stating he had matured this season (Zero red cards so far) and having been part of a Sunderland side that kept a clean sheet against Chelsea. I’ve seen stats floated around twitter how Cattermole is good in possession and retains the ball, averaging 82% pass success rate in games. Yet if you isolate the games, and look at his contribution against the bigger teams he averages a measley 61% pass success rate.

The table above doesnt show minutes played, nor does it take into account the positions each of the players fill and finally the posession the teams have on average. Afterall, a defensive midfielder isn’t going to do much defensive work if his team rarely has to defend. Likewise, Xabi Alonso may be the deepest midfielder for Bayern at times but by no means is he a DM. Cattermole has played almost 500 more minutes than De Rossi this season, in a team that averages 43% posession this season, so will be doing a momumental more defensive work than a Busquets or an Alonso, so comparing the players in this way is a naive way to manipulate people.

Those are the sort of stats you can’t factor in when comparing players, teams play different types of football and demand different traits from their deepest midfielder.


Image B

Take the above sample, the two best DM’s in England (as written about here by Zak Forster – http://eplindex.com/61194/player-comparison-nemanja-matic-vs-victor-wanyama.html ) Wanyama and Matic, alongside the man in question and the enigma that is Lucas Leiva.

You will note when certain stats are selected, randomly may I add, that Cattermole is inferior in all three. He gets more cards for bad tackles, he wins less tackles per 90 mins and far less passes.

Cattermole goes from “world’s best” in Image A to being worse than Lucas in Image B. That’s how easlily stats can be manipulated to suit arguments.  Image B is a fairer assessment too when you look at games played and their position for the team they play for.

As stated earlier some fans wanted Cattermole at Liverpool, another argument pro his signing is the fact he’s being considered for and England call up in the media. A Southampton fan wrote this on his blog following the 8-0 victory (http://leagueoneminus10.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/premier-league-match-8-southampton-8.html )

It’s getting silly now and the Cattermole attitude has rubbed off on even the usually reliable players.  O’Shea wafts a lazy backpass to Mannone who instead of belting it, tried to sidefoot it out to van Aanholt but succeeded only in passing straight to Tadic who simply curled it round him with his left foot as Mannone dived on the ground late, in the hope that an earthquake would swallow him up.”

He then continued with –

“Then we get to the midfield engine room of Larsson and fucking Cattermole.  Larssson got taken off but he was the better of the two. Cattermole had given up at half time.  He couldn’t be arsed to track his man and just jogged back.  He did the same with Big Vic’s goal having lost the ball.  Even Matt le Tissier put in more effort to get back if he’d lost the ball himself.  There has to be an element of pride in yourself, especially if you’ve screwed up, to win the ball back.  Cattermole is the captain for Christ’s sake and can whoever touted him for an international call up, simply because he hasn’t been sent off for a few weeks, please have a word with themselves. Not only is he bang average, he also has a shocking attitude when the going gets tough”

The International call up is being touted purely because the British media seem to think England need some bite, to bully teams. Yet Lee Cattermole is a walking talking red card. No red cards so far this season but he has 7 bookings to his name already.

Wednesday 3rd December – Cure has been found.

As quickly as it arrived the Lee Cattermole rumour left. Today’s rumour was William Carvalho. A player befitting Liverpool Football Club.

Why have I spent time writing about this one particular rumour?

Well because Twitter has highlited that some Liverpool fans would accept such mediocrity and it pains me that if Liverpool were to sign a player of that standard some fans would invent some positives for the deal.

“Old school player, just what we need. Some fight in the team, look at how he wears his shorts. Would suit the teams from the 70’s”. Tells you all you need to know, he’d have been an average player in the 70’s.

“That’s the kind of player we need, someone who understands how big Liverpool is”. Nope, he just wants a big payday.

If you’re trying to find positives in being linked to a player whose shorts cover his nipples then I worry for you.


If Cattermole scores this weekend it doesn’t change the fact he wears his shorts too high.