Liverpool came from behind to see off Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor after an absolutely superb second-half recovery. But what were the key stats from a terrific second half display that saw the Reds keep the pace with City and move clear of Chelsea and Arsenal?
Naby Keita Explodes Into Life
What a player Naby Keita looks eh? Whilst the thread below has a selection of some of his stats from the game, what I found interesting was how quickly he increased the volume of shots from midfield, and the impact that this had on Liverpool’s team.
Keita led in:-
Tackles (3, tied with Moreno)
Blocks (3 of Liverpool's 7)
Alisson also maintains his 5 saves per goal average for the season.
— BabuYagu ✍️⚽ (@babuyagu) December 5, 2018
Keita had six shots, four inside the box and four on target, forcing a brilliant save from Joe Hart and a desperate goal-line clearance from Bardsley to prevent him from scoring. And it was a goal that he deserved, with the highest passing accuracy in the team (93%), despite being predominantly in the opposition half, as well as winning three free-kicks, completing one dribble and having the third highest xG Chain in the team with 0.68.
Salah Off The Bench And Into The Action
Mo Salah had an explosive performance off the bench to lift this Liverpool side. Mo touched the ball just 14 times, but in that period had 2 shots, both inside the box and both on target, created three chances (joint most in the team) including a delightful assist for Shaqiri’s goal. Mo had the joint highest xG Chain (0.73), the second highest xA (0.58) and created one of Liverpool’s two big chance, all in less than half an hour. What a player.
Virgil Van Dijk Leads The Defence
The VVD numbers have been doing the rounds on Twitter, so you’ve doubtless seen them by now. Touches and passes are fine as far as numbers go, but you’d expect those for a CB in which his team has circa 80% possession. But he dominated both ends of the pitch. His aerial duels (12/13 and 10/10 defensive aerials) are legitimately insane, as are his 10 (TEN) clearances. He wasn’t dribbled, he didn’t give away any fouls, and he made an interception.
And then he made an impact in the final third, with three shots inside the box from corners, and of course his assist for Bobby’s goal, worth a whopping 0.96 xA. VVD had an absolutely huge impact on this game, and it’s great to see.
Liverpool’s defence as a whole clearly benefitted from his performance. Whilst their underlying numbers aren’t terrific, Liverpool conceded five shots inside the box, two big chances and shipped over 1 xG, it’s worth noting that so much of that was down to the goal that was wrongfully allowed to stand.
Both big chances came from the goal incident, as did three of the shots inside the box and the vast majority of the xG. In fact, with the goal taken away, Burnley only created 0.17 xG, had two shots inside the box and offered very little in terms of chances. What a performance from VVD and it lifted those around him.
Two final numbers you’ll have seen everywhere. The 50th PL game in which Milner has scored and the 50th PL game when Milner has scored and not lost. And of course, with 39 points from 15 games, this is officially the best start to a top division season in Liverpool’s history, and the 6th best ever start for a side in English top division history. Wow. And it still feels like there’s more to come.