Liverpool’s Champions League hopes took yet another battering, this time in Paris, where Liverpool suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of PSG. But what were the key stats from another humbling night for the Reds, which sees their Champions League campaign hanging by a thread?
No Anfield? Big Problems.
Liverpool completed a hat-trick of shambolic away performances and results, making it three away defeats out of three in Europe this season, and five defeats in a row away from Anfield in Europe. It’s the first time that the club have lost all three away games, and are now relying on a third win at home against Napoli to scrape through.
This was a result that arguably could have been worse for the Reds too, as PSG ripped them apart time and again, accumulating 2.21 xG and Alisson bailing out his side on multiple occasions. PSG had eight shots on target to Liverpool’s one, as Buffon wasn’t forced to make a single save. The Reds were comprehensively outplayed, yet again, away from home in Europe, and were forced to pay the price.
Attack Stalls Again
Whilst this attacking performance didn’t hit the historic lows of Napoli away, mostly thanks to the efforts of Sadio Mané, it remained a truly disgraceful attacking performance from LFC. They created just 0.44 non-penalty xG and failed to muster a single shot on target from open play. The front three failed to create a single chance between them, and the entire team completed just three dribbles – two of which were by Sadio and one of which led to the penalty, the sole attack of merit that the Reds had in the game.
Whilst a large portion of this blame will justifiably be put on the midfield, Mo Salah was completely unable to get in the game, and Bobby Firmino had yet another absolute stinker by his standards. He was 0/1 for dribbles, 0/2 for tackles, created 0 chances, had two shots – both off target – and gave the ball away consistently – only James Milner had a lower pass accuracy of the starting eleven.
With big questions being asked of this Liverpool team, and certain tactical decisions that Klopp has made, it’s frustrating that when they did have half-chances to do something with the ball at their feet, for the most part the front three were unable to generate anything.
Sneaky PSG Play The Savvy Game
This was an ugly, at times unsporting game of football, with Paris determined to make the game as difficult as they could for Liverpool. The French team dived, kicked and pleaded their way through the match, and the net result was that things got ugly. Liverpool gave away 20 free-kicks, with every single member of their outfield ten giving away at least one foul and seven of them giving away at least two.
They also picked up six bookings, three of them coming in added time (which as Andrew Beasley notes here, is more than the two picked up in the first four games combined). Marco Verrati went on to give away three snide fouls after being booked (yeah I know I thought it was closer to 10 too) and got away scot free, as did other members of the PSG team, as they conceded just 12 free-kicks and got just two bookings.
These numbers hardly seem intuitive given the game that we’ve just watched, but they illustrate both what an appalling job the ref did of controlling the game, but also how much PSG’s antics paid dividend. The Reds lost their heads at the end, whilst the home side remained street smart right up until the final whistle.
Milner Curse Broken
Liverpool were so bad that even James Milner scoring wasn’t enough, as the English midfielder was on the losing side whilst scoring for the first time in his Liverpool career. Sad.