29 Mar 2012

Revealed: The 10 Liverpool players who *waste* possession the most....

As a team, Liverpool's passing accuracy in the Premier League so far this season is 80%, which is fairly good, but it means means that 20% of all passes are being misplaced in every league game. Who are biggest culprits when it comes to giving the ball away?

There's usually a correlation between poor ball retention and league form, and Liverpool are no exception. Over the last few months, the club's passing accuracy has regressed slightly, and this has coincided with the a bad run of league results.

Liverpool FC: Misplaced Passes Comparison

Liverpool FC Wasted Passes


* Liverpool's attacking players give the ball away a lot (!), with 7 of the top 10 worst offenders being attacking midfielders and strikers.

* There appears to be an (obvious) correlation between total passes and misplaced passes. The more passes completed, the more possibility of giving the ball away. However, this is not replicated across the whole table: Gerrard, Kelly, Suarez, Carroll and Carra all have (comparatively) low total pass rates, but they're in the top 10 for giving the ball away.

* Surprisingly, Luis Suarez gives the ball away more often per game than Andy Carroll, but overall, Carroll's passing accuracy is worse.

* As a partnership, it seems that Suarez and Carroll are not the greatest at holding up the ball (!)

* With only 2.8 misplaced passes per game, Maxi's ball retention skills and ability to find a man with a pass are unsurpassed in the Liverpool team.

* Charlie Adam and Jose Enrique clearly need to tighten up their passing accuracy.

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Jaimie, have you found anything positive form this season, anything?

    That's not a dig, btw, I'm just depressed at how the season's going after the way we finished last season and (according to OPTA) we bought the best players in the league at their positions who would come to us. Obviously OPTA, or whatever stats were being used didn't work out the way we were told they were, hence us languishing in 7th place.

    I'd say Sterling's debut, Carling cup final win, beating Chelsea twice, Arsenal at the Emirates and 2 derby wins (so far). We DID play some tremendous football at the beginning of the season, right up to Suarez ban in fact but the last 2 games have been poor.

  2. Of all statistics, passing stats are probably most in need of qualification. Centre-backs often have great stats because they just push the ball around the back, taking little chances (apart from hoofers like Carragher). Suarez is always looking to attack and take chances, hence a high turnover rate. Maxi rarely passes more than 10 yards and is risk-averse. Gerrard plays elaborate and offensive passes -and that is partly his role. The stats for Enrique, Kelly and Adam are disturbing.

    BTW, holding up the ball cannot be simply measured by passing rates and it is also not really Suarez's thing. 

    Henderson's stats are meaningless because he rarely attempts anything resembling meaningful.

    On the positive side, Leiva and Spearing have good numbers.

  3. Tornike Khomeriki10:19 am, March 29, 2012

    I always feel amazed how easily many people tend to forget earlier weak performances and only remember last couple of poor games.

    With the exception of several games, we've been a mid table team this season, proven by the table itself.

  4. Strikers usually misplaces most of the passes because they don't get enough space or time, with Suarez its acceptable as he looses the ball mostly in trying to create something but Carroll looses the ball when even when he has to play simple passes but in last few games he has improved and has held the ball better.
    For me Adam needs to improve because he has all the time and space in midfield and he still looses the ball most, his decision making has been really poor, instead of playing a simple pass he tries his hollywood passes or shoots aimlessly, though it works sometimes but mostly it doesn't work. If he doesn't improve immensely next season, i don't see future for him in Liverpool.
    Its surprising to see Enrique playing the most no. of passes but he needs to be less predictable because only thing he does is run with the ball and then cut back and pass backward. If only he had the right foot!!!!!
    Someone needs to show these stats to Kenny, so that he starts playing Maxi again, our most efficient and effective player.

  5. I think some considerations need to be taken with the attacking players, Carroll for example trys about 5 knock downs a game, at least 50% of these don't find a Liverpool player and get put down as a failed pass. Suarez plays creative through balls which sometimes the players around him don't pick on or make the runs for. Attackers are playing the more ambitious passes to get behind the defenders. Whereas Midfield and defenders are playing the simple passes, and more of them so should be aiming for a much higher success rate.  

  6. Good spot!  I missed him out by accident, but I've updated the table. Cheers.

  7. Amazing season, we beat Cardiff on penalties in a cup that most of the top teams don't care about!

    Did you not see the Sterling thread? Beating Chelsea and Arsenal counted for what, exactly? 6 points that keep us 3 ahead of Swansea. How many points did that tremendous football get us? Enough to be challenging for 4th?

  8. Carragher's numbers are awful, not good enough for a centre back.

  9. Have a look at "Successful Final Third Passes Completed Per Goal":
    Quite telling. I am actually swinging between change or no change. Something isn't right though. Could be as simple as numbers getting into the box; I'd like to believe

  10.  Where do you get your data?

  11. That game against Bolton, Adam had under 60% completed passes. He really can be absolutely atrocious at the possession game in midfield. 

  12. is this what its come to,the problem is not pass % so much as the chemistry between the players.KD should concider firing the data cowboys and hire a chemist and possibly a sane scout.

  13. Septimus_severus5:14 pm, March 29, 2012

    The fact that Henderson and Downing are midtable speaks volumes.
    Henderson is like a crab sides and back
    Downing is meant to be a winger and constantly passes back and sideways.
    I'd love to see the stats on assists that would be really useful

  14. A question: do Andy Carroll's headers and knock downs count as passes? If so, will explain his relative poorness. If not- God help us all!!!!!

  15. Well, we all know Downing's- 0.


  16. The Carling Cup prize money is 100,000 pounds. That's it. Hardly a success in the eyes of our owners. There's a reason why no other club cares about it.