Liverpool are into the last eight of the Champions League following a tepid 0-0 draw with Porto, seeing them through 5-0 on aggregate. But what were the key stats that emerged from the game?
Pass, Pass, Pass. Don’t Shoot, Shoot, Shoot
This was a game that Liverpool dominated, dictated, and played at their own tempo. The Reds played 780 passes but ended up only having 12 shots. The control of the game was mostly in the defence and midfield, as you would expect, even more so than normal. Matip, Lovren and Gomez all played over 100 passes, with Bobby Firmino making just 17. You’d expect some discrepancy, especially as Bobby only played an hour, but not normally that high a difference.
It’s very telling then, that this was the first Champions League game of the season without a shot on target in the first half, as it took Porto 50 minutes to test Karius, and Liverpool didn’t register a shot on target until the 67th minute, although Mané did hit the post before then. Even though the Reds did notch five on target, in the end, only one less than in Portugal, that was largely down to Salah and Ings off the bench.
It was notable then, that Salah was the man who off the bench had clearly the most influence on the game. Liverpool as a team created eight chances in 90 minutes, with Salah creating two of those in the 17 minutes he was on the pitch. He created Liverpool’s arguably best chance of the night, with a wicked cross for Ings, only for Danny boy to be denied by Casillas.
The other main creative spark for Liverpool was James Milner, probably the man of the match on the night. He created three chances, with his delightful chipped pass to Mané worthy of an assist, only for Sadio to rattle the inside of the post. Milner was everywhere, with 83 passes, three key passes, nine crosses and a 90% accuracy. He’s really starting to nail down a starting berth, and he absolutely loves a European tie – his average of 2.9 key passes per 90 in the UCL is second only to Phil Coutinho of players who have played 100 minutes or more for the Reds.
Defensive Solidity, Quiet Night
The lack of goals at either end of the pitch made for some interesting and promising overall reading. This is Liverpool’s fifth clean sheet in six Champions League games and their fourth in their last five overall. It’s Karius’ 10th clean sheet in 19 games this season, which is very solid overall.
At the other end, this is only the third game this season in which Liverpool have failed to score at Anfield, their third 0-0 draw at home of the season. The previous two were against West Brom and Man United. It’s the first time the Champions League’s leading scorers have failed to net in this competition.
Quirky Stat of the Night
It’s been nine years since Liverpool reached the UCL knockout stages. In that year, they won 5-0 in the last 16 against Real Madrid, with a trip to Old Trafford the weekend after their second leg at Anfield. They won 4-1 at Old Trafford and were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Chelsea. Here’s hoping we get one of those without the other, eh?