Liverpool swept aside Southampton with a confident, composed performance, as goals from Firmino and Salah saw them win 2-0 at Saint Mary’s. But what were the key stats from the game?
With Mo Salah now up to 29 goals for Liverpool this season, and Bobby Firmino adding his 20th, this is only the 3rd time in 17 years that two Liverpool players have hit 20 goals for the club in the same year, and the first time since the infamous 2013-14 season where Suarez and Sturridge both hit that target. On top of that, Firmino has 11 assists and Salah has 8, meaning that Firmino averages a goal or assist every 90.5 minutes and Salah every 75.4. Absolutely insane numbers.
Once again these two were the key men, both notching a goal and an assist, as well as both collecting the highest xG’s and xA’s. Salah had 0.83 xG and 0.85 xA, with Bobby 0.51 and 0.56. Both played three key passes, both had three shots. Both fantastic players.
Big Virg Stands Tall
Another terrific performance from Liverpool’s new centre-back, who was at the heart of an excellent defensive performance. He won 100% of his 5 aerial duels, 100% of his 2 attempted tackles, and notched 7 clearances as well as 2 interceptions. His partner helped him out too, as Matip won 8 headers, made 4 clearances and also picked up a pair of interceptions.
Shoutouts on the defensive side also to Bobby Firmino, who made 6 tackles, and Loris Karius, who made 4 saves and denied Saints a goal despite the opposition having a xG of 0.87.
Domination, Control, Possession?
Southampton had more of the ball, but by every other conceivable metric, Liverpool dominated this game. Although the home team shaded possession (52% to 48%), Liverpool had more shots (16-6), a higher xG (2.35-0.87), and ultimately never looked like throwing away the game at 2-0 in the second half. Whilst Saints will argue they were the better team in the first half, Liverpool still had two big chances in the period and executed both.
Two is the Magic Number
Liverpool don’t win 2-0 very often. They haven’t won by that scoreline before this season, and in fact this is only the fourth 2-0 win they’ve amassed under Jurgen Klopp. As the tweet below underlines, the last win we secured 2-0 was against Spurs, a year to the day.
FT: 2-0. A rare 2-0 win in the league for Klopp's Liverpool. A year to the day since the last one. pic.twitter.com/Xhs6cFHGwP
— Andrew Beasley (@BassTunedToRed) February 11, 2018
Liverpool do, however, seem to be scoring 2 goals a lot. Liverpool have now scored at least 2 goals in 11 of their last 12 games, winning 8 of those games and losing just 1 of the 11. Liverpool haven’t scored exactly one goal in a game since December’s Merseyside Derby. Liverpool have scored twice in all but 12 of their 38 games in all competitions and in the league Liverpool have 45 points from the 17 games where they’ve scored at least twice. Compare that to 9 points (and just one win) from the 10 games where Liverpool have failed to score twice. Huge difference.
To put that into other terms, that’s 2.65 points per game (or a 100 point season) compared to 0.9 (34 point season) when we don’t. The crucial stat being of course, that we have reached that marker 17 times. Two is the magic number.