9 Oct 2009

REVEALED: Two surprising new facts about Javier Mascherano and Lucas Leiva

OPTA’s latest statistics have revealed some surprising facts about the effectiveness of two of Liverpool’s key midfielders.

According to OPTA, Javier Mascherano is the top passer in the Premiership this season, with 547 completed passes and an accuracy rate of 87%. Chelsea’s Michael Essien has the same accuracy rate but has completed a lot less passes.

That’s a fantastic result for Mascherano, and I must admit I would never have guessed that the Argentinean would be right at the top, ahead of the likes of Steven Gerrard.

OPTA has also revealed that Lucas Leiva is one of the Premiership’s most effective tacklers, with a 69% success rate! Hard to believe, but the stats don’t lie, and given the fact Lucas has been playing a more defensive role this season, that’s another great result.

Even more impressive is the fact that Lucas is seemingly more effective than Mascherano when it comes to tackling. Food for thought.

There are few positives to take from Liverpool’s current run of form but those stats are very promising.

Having said that, as I argued earlier in the week, I still feel that Liverpool need to use the following line-up for the foreseeable future:

-------------------------------- Reina

Johnson ------------ Carra ------- Skrtel/Agger --------- Aurelio

--------------- Lucas/Masch --- Gerrard

Kuyt ---------------------- Benyoun --------------- Riera

------------------------------ Torres

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  1. I agree with you on the line-up you've listed at the bottom.  I think it's the best XI we can get out of our squad at the moment.

    But hopefully once the Internationals are done, Aquilani will be back, and that will change things.

    OPTA = load of rubbish.

  2. You dont even have Insua in our defense. I think he is pretty much as good if not better than and offers more in attack than Aurelio

  3. I was just thinking of the threat Aurelio offers from set-pieces and his 9arguably) superior passing ability.  Insua would be good at loeft back too, as he's admittedly proved this season.

  4. id have agger and skrtel as 1st choice centre backs, carra needs to be dropped for a while

  5. I agree with Decky, drop Carra for a while and play the Greek lad! He must be wondering what he has to do to get a game!! Also I am not surprised that Javier has better pass stats than Gerard this season as Gerrards passing has been woeful at times!

  6. It's no wonder that Mascherano has a high percentage of completed passes. He rarely pass the ball forward....always the diagonal ball or the defensive ball....

    As for the lineup there can be only one:

    When Aquilani is ready Riera drops to the bench and the attacking midfielders will be Kuyt, Aquilani and Benayoun

  7. Completely agree with that....apart from Insua at left back.

  8. Of course the stats are high when you only do 0-5 yard passes.

    What a stupid post!

  9. As other posts have mentioned, mascherano plays the simple pass most often. Which is fine as he is there to keep things ticking, we didn't sign him for his creativity. I'm suprised about the Lucas stat though! He's playing better but still not world class. I'll never boo him but will be happy when we bring in someone with more quality.  

  10. this stat simply illustrates a fact that many lfc fans already know...leiva is doing masch's job from last year and masch is being used to fill the alonso/acquaman gap...i think comparing last years stats will further prove this. people should stop giving lucas a hard time, as with many and nearly all rafa's signings he is being played outside of his favoured or more accustomed role. many people fail to see rafa's ideas on the game revolve around flexibility, work ethic, and a fluidity of movement (see valencia to prove this as rafa has been trying to bring in this type of player over the past 5 years) the reason we have played a more defensice cautious game until last year was the fact that lfc's players over the past few years have lacked technical quality. its also a contributary factor to the number and type of spanish and foreign players we have bought not top of the range but good overall ability with a good work ethic. it is this reason that i dont like rafa's transfer record being used as a stick to beat him, he's had to spread funds thin to replace in numerous areas (while maintaining a squad to consistently earn money through champions league quals) and if players (who are responsible for their own performances) dont live up or do not put in the required effort (see cisse, pennant). people also forget that alonso was not that fancied in spain for a number of years and in fact was playing a more advanced role behind the strikers until rafa 'reprogrammed' him :)  

  11. good to see some one who knows football and what rafa is all about.

  12. I really don't want to try to sound like I'm big-noting myself but I've said for a while that only Rafa has the full set of stats on the players, how much work they do, how well they play and also how well they train. This is just another example of how fans just don't get it until it's pointed out to them in simple language with numbers to back it up. Rafa maintained consistently that Lucas was playing well but many of us just ignored that and insisted that he was rubbish. It just goes to show that until you have the complete story you need to at least entertain the idea that you just don't know what's going on. These kinds of numbers show that Rafa was dead-on and knew exactly what he was talking about and what he was doing in consistently making this our first choice midfield pairing. 
    So perhaps in future, the next time anyone has this idea that some player is rubbish or not doing their job, remember this, remind yourself that there are plenty of stats out there that we as simple fans have no access to. Football, despite it's overall aesthetic simplicity, is a very complex game to coach. There is a reason why top managers are hard to come by and for the average joe to consistently lay into managers and assume that they are just idiots is absurd. We've barely got the first clue what kind of immense detail goes into how a team is selected and how they should play. Rafa has so much football knowledge in his head, if we truly grasped how much he knows we'd be unquestionably humbled. 

  13. Jamie, you think you know so much about football. You are the worst wannabe 'pundit' ever.

  14. Dipz you are being a Dipz!

  15. This time, I totally agree with your formation. Also, good job of you for trying to find Lucas's stat.

  16. Totally agree with the formation.. n even with insua at left back.. has game intelligence but restricted going forward at times..he is improving all d time.. has a bright future in him for d reds

  17. Why would you break up a partnership that works so well in Torres and Gerrard? They have been the most feared and most lethal front pairing in recent times, and Insua is top class, he should be in the starting line up, even when Aurelio is fit.

  18. I haven't got a clue why we let the world's best defensive mid go for less than we paid for him! It's mental!