16 Oct 2009

GERRARD and TORRES injured? Liverpool has nothing to worry about. And here's why.

Steven Gerrard and/or Fernando Torres may not be fit for this weekend's game against Sunderland. Panic stations, right? Wrong. Whilst the media love to spin the myth that Liverpool is a 'two-man team' history proves otherwise, and in my view, Liverpool fans have nothing to worry about.


Liverpool do just fine without Gerrard in the side, and history proves this beyond a shadow of a doubt. To illustrate this, I've examined every competitive game Gerrard has missed since the 2000-2001 season. Here are the results:

Total games played without Gerrard since 2000 - 80

Wins - 48
Draws - 13
Defeats - 19

Goals For – 138
Goals Against – 72

* Won 60% of games
* Lost 24%
* Drew 16%

* Average goals scored per game - 1.7
* Average goals conceded per game - 0.8
* Unbeaten in 76% of games

As you can see, these statistics are superb:

* Unbeaten in almost 8 out of 10 games without Gerrard in the side.
* Almost 2 goals per game scored
* Less than 1 goal per game conceded

I don't dispute that Gerrard is important to the side - of course he is - but as the figures above prove, Liverpool can survive without him and have done so many times in the past. Of course, I would prefer to have Gerrard in the team, but if he's not, we should still be confident in the team.


I've looked at the 2008-09 season, in which Torres was regularly injured:

Total games played without Torres: 16
Wins - 9
Draws - 5
Defeats - 2
For - 30
against - 12

* Won 56% of games
* Lost 13%
* Drew 31%

* Average goals scored per game - 1.9
* Average goals conceded per game - 1.3
* Unbeaten in 94% of games

Once again, superb figures. Liverpool without Torres (LwT) actually performs better than Liverpool without Gerrard (LwG)!

* Average goals per game: LwT - 1.9 / LwG - 1.7
* Games unbeaten: LwT - 94% / LwG - 76%

Liverpool tend to draw more games without Torres, which is understandable since he is our main goal threat.


This hasn't happened very often, but the results in the absence of BOTH players are still quite encouraging: (Seasons 2007-08 + 2008-09)

Total games without G+T - 5
Won - 3
Lost - 1
Drew - 1

Ultimately, I would argue that if either Gerrard, Torres or both players are missing on Saturday, there is no reason not to think the team won't come away with a result.

Whoever plays, Sunderland is arguably a must-win game. Liverpool cannot afford any more slip-ups in the league.

Stats courtesy of LFChistory + Soccernet.


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  1. yea something all lfc fans got to put in their big head LFC is not a 2 man team. Gerrard and torres injured ok does this means that we will play 9 against 11? NO!!!

  2. No worry. We have Lucas! One Lucas equals Torres and Gerrard put together.
    P.S. i have nothing against this kid though. Hopefully, he will come good before it's too late.

  3. Liverpool record with Lucas playing. 45 games.
    win 44
    draw 1
    lose 0
    Source: www.InMyDream.com

  4. i wonder if we will ever win the league with players like lucas and babel on board :S

  5. Jaimie, once again your stats don't stand up to scrutiny.  You say it's nothing to worry about not having Stevie & El Nino and provide some winning percentages to back that up.  Moreover, you call these stats 'superb'.

    They aren't.

    Using the percentages above, applying them to 38 league game format, we arrive at a league total of 75 points for playing without Gerrard or playing without Torres (think it's somewht unfair to use the entirety of Stevie's career, as he had not yet blossomed into the 'irreplaceable' player he is today, until around the time Rafa arrived.  Would be curious (since you have the stats) to see the percentages since the '04/'05 season...

    Back on point, 75 points would have given us the following league place in the Rafa seasons (assuming no impact of our point changes on opposition):
    - 08/09 - 3rd place (vs. 86 points & 2nd)
    - 07/08 - 4th place (vs. 76 points & 4th)
    - 06/07 - 3rd place (vs. 68 points & 3rd)
    - 05/06 - 4th place (vs. 82 points & 3rd)
    - 04/05 - 4th place (vs. 58 points & 5th)

    Only the 04/05 season would we have placed better with 75 points.  Bet if we look at the 04/05 season, Gerrard's win percentage would work out better, as he seemed to carry the team almost single-handedly at times (maybe just my anecdotal memories of Europe).

    In two seasons, it was a push.  In the other two seasons, we did much better.

    Suggest you read up on some Mark Twain... ;)

  6. The stats do stand up - your analysis of them doesn't. Of what relevance is 'applying them to a 38 game league format'?

    First of all, the stats are for games in all competitions, not just the league (perhaps I should've made that clearer in the post).

    In any event, i don't see your point. The irrefutable fact is that Liverpool are unbeaten in 76% of games without Gerrard and 94% of games without Torres.

    This is not stat manipulation, it's fact.

  7. i wonder if we will ever win the league with players like Lucas and babel on board:S

  8. Having just had the news confirmed that both Gerrard and Torres will be missing tomorrow, i cant help but very concerned.  Your stats are a little re-assuring but in what was already lookng a difficult game regardless of injuries, the job has been made all that bit harder.  We both know that stats or no stats, a Liverpool team without those 2 will struggle for character, creativity, imagination and most importantly goals. 

    I;m not saying it wont happen, but i was already fearing such a tough game after the International break and i find it hard to see anything other than a disappointing performance/defeat on the cards tomorrow.  I would definitely take a point right now!

    P.S - on the subject of stats, i would love to know our record under Benitez in games where Gerrard has been on the bench.  It just seems to me that whenever he is not 100% fit and only on the bench, that we invaribly win and perform well.  any chance you can dig those stats out to see if i right in that asessment or whether it is my mind playing tricks on me again?

  9. you are mad in the head ,i am a die hard pool fan and to be honest we are shit without torres and stevie g , we only won  so many games before without them because we had alonso  playing , benitez needs to but a striker and stop being so stupid

  10. Applying them to league format is entirely relevant.  It provides a gauge of how well we performed in aggregate versus how well we did without Torres and/or Gerrard.

    It matters because you describe those results as 'superb'.  Tell me, if we drew every game this season, would you describe those results as 'superb'?  No, because on 38 points, we might very well get relegated.  Quite simply, wins versus draws matter.  I'm not saying the results are terrible, but if we used those percentages in the league format, we would have done worst than most seasons in the last five years.

    There are any number of relevant issues that you choose to ignore by simply looking at the aggregate numbers.  For example, Steve and Torres not playing, unless injury related, is more likely a situation where we are playing weaker teams.  Thus we can expect the games without them to be somewhat skewed to a higher win percentage.  You also look across all competitions and include at least three years of Steve's performances, when he was an up-and-comer, rather than captain and key driver of the squad.

  11. Wait, I thought this was the reason Liverpool did not win the title last seasons ?

  12. I understand what you are trying to say dave, but i actually agree with Jamie on this one.  For me, applying the %age over a 38 game season is not necessary because we are not going to play 38 games without them.  I know that wasn't what you were saying, but i think it's much more releveant to look at the games where they didn't play and just look at those stats and see how may points were dropped etc.

    If we play 4 games this season while missing the both of them and win them all, i wont for 1 minute think woow thats a 100% record and over 38 games we would win all 38.  what that would tell me is that when games come around when neither are available, we have the quality to pick up 3 points.  It may be sandwiched inbetween 2 games we drew when they were available but thw point being we are able to win games without them.

    P.S Jamie, please see my other PS regarding stats where Gerrard has been on the bench.  I would love to know that answer!

  13. Jaimie you are spot on mate, Liverpool do very well without Torres and Gerrard, Liverpool didn't win the league last season because of draws against poor sides end of!. Ngog has 5 goals in 6 starts which is excellent for a young lad, Voronin is much better than he is given credit for. Stop reading the crap in the papers and look at the player's factually, Voronin was 10 goals in 20' odd games last season in Germany. Of course we want the top players in the side but these lads have got results in the past, the younger lads are very good and may get on the bench. Spearing, Pacheco, etc

  14. I'll grab those stats and get back to you in the next couple of days (or sooner if I have time) ;)

  15. Come on Rafa nobody knows our kids, so throw a couple into the mix from the bench.  Pacheco is a dream of a player with the ball tied to his foot, Spearing is a Danny Murphy with a great touch, have the bollocks to do it Rafa.

  16. lol its a good point... everyone was sayin that.... the formation for liverpool without aquilani:

  17. What would peoples reaction be to playing Carra in front of agger and skertel with Johnson and insua as wingbacks?  Here his lack of pace would not be such an issue but he could affectivly break up the play.   

  18. My makeshift team for tomorrow would be

    Johnson Skertel agger insua
    babbel benny riera
    ngog kuyt

  19. babel for torres
    spearing for gerrard

  20. Jamie, good article and your stats are reassuring but.... I believe we should at least consider league-only stats in isolation and also from the last two seasons only because a) SG is a much different proposition today than he was say 4 or 5 years ago,  b) because the immediate concern (with T&G out) is a league match so that should be the benchmark and c) because the team around T&G is also very different today than it was 3,4,5 years ago. I do, however, hope last year's stats still stack-up.  Finally, I think it's good that the opposition might consider us an easier scalp without T&G. That can only work for us on the pitch. 

  21. I should add that statistical analysis is only useful when as many factors influencing the stats are identical or similar to what is being considered in comparison. Anyone can throw-up a stat from years ago but that does not make it relevant. Recent league-only stats would meet that criteria. As I said, I hope your thesis still holds true.

  22. Jamie:
    Dont quite agree. Without a comparison, it is difficult to gauge these stats. Especially, when you looked at the stats "Without Torres", you included the games with and without Gerrard. That is not correct as you are trying to see the impact of each player in isolation.

    I looked at the Premier league, CL, FA Cup and Leag games for 07/08 and 08/09 season. The best way to judge them is look at points per games as the number of wins/draws/losses is somewhat irrelevant.

    These are the results I get are (note for the purpose of context, extrapolated the points per game across 38 games)

    <span style="border-collapse: collapse; ">
    <table style="border-collapse: collapse;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="261">
    <!--StartFragment--> <col style="mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 1974;" width="54"></col> <col style="mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 2523;" span="3" width="69"></col>
    <tr height="13">
    <td width="54" height="13">
    <td class="xl26" width="69">
    <td class="xl26" width="69">
    <td class="xl26" width="69">
    <table style="border-collapse: collapse;" border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="313">
    <!--StartFragment--> <col style="mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 3876;" width="106"></col> <col style="mso-width-source: userset; mso-width-alt: 2523;" span="3" width="69"></col>
    <tr height="13">
    <td width="106" height="13">Combo</td>
    <td class="xl26" width="69"><span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Games</td>
    <td class="xl26" width="69"><span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Pts/Game</td>
    <td class="xl26" width="69"><span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>Season</td>
    <tr height="13">
    <td height="13">G&T</td>
    <td align="right">72</td>
    <td class="xl24" align="right">2.14</td>
    <td class="xl25" align="right">81</td>
    <tr height="13">
    <td height="13">G only, No T</td>
    <td align="right">24</td>
    <td class="xl24" align="right">1.92</td>
    <td class="xl25" align="right">73</td>
    <tr height="13">
    <td height="13">T only, No G</td>
    <td align="right">12</td>
    <td class="xl24" align="right">1.92</td>
    <td class="xl25" align="right">73</td>
    <tr height="13">
    <td height="13">None</td>
    <td align="right">6</td>
    <td class="xl24" align="right">1.83</td>
    <td class="xl25" align="right">70</td>

    What this is telling me is that there is a significant difference to the performance with the team with G&T together than when the don't play together:
    Playing together = 2.26 points/game
    Not playing together = 1.90 points/game

    This difference equates to 9 points over a season. I would say that is pretty significant.

  23. Ok - my table didnt work. Here are my stats in the following order Combination, Games played, Points per game, Implied points over 38 games:

    G&T<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>72<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>2.14<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>81
    G only, No T, <span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>24<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>1.92<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>73
    T only, No G<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>12<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>1.92<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>73
    Neither<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span> 6<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>1.83<span style="white-space: pre;"> </span>70

  24. Ok. My table didnt work. Here are the stats in the order of combination, games played, points/game and total points over a 38 game season:

    G&T Together:  72, 2.14, 81

    G only & No T: 24, 1.92, 73

    T only & No G: 12, 1.92, 73

    Neither: 6, 1.83, 70

  25. Without Torres = Games only without Torres 

    Without Gerrard = Games only without Gerrard

    In both cases, Gerrard played some games when Torres wasn't available and vice versa.  This is is what I intended.  

    When I wrote the post it wasn't 100% confirmed that both G+T would be out; there was still a possibility one of the two might be fit, hence looking at how the team performs when each is not available.

    Interesting stats you came up with, and I agree it is a significant difference. My overall point was that all is not lost without G+T, and I think that's still the case.  The team has the quality and is perfectly capable of beating Sunderland.

    Having said that, I have a bad feeling about the game - I think we'll see another one of Benitez's weird line-ups - very defensive, just like the Portsmouth away game last season.  Aurelio will probably be in central midfielder, and the team will be full of defensive players.

    Or, Benitez could surprise us....but I doubt it.

  26. Reading this post today for the first time, especially the title, after the game, was quite hilarious. Nothing to worry about except beach balls, I suppose. :)

  27. Well, judging from today's loss to Sunderland, it appears that we in fact are a 2 man team. Even as one who is apt to look upon the pint as half full, I saw nothing positive to take away from this game at all. As many teams here in the states often say, this is now officially "a rebuilding season."

  28. nothing to worry about eh? we all know you're a wum Kanwar