Liverpool win Premier League: Dynamic at the back, deadly in attack - the Opta data behind historic Reds team

3 months ago

After Liverpool ended their 30-year league title drought, we crunched the Opta numbers to highlight their all-round brilliance.

It may have taken a few months longer than it should have because of the coronavirus pandemic, but at long last Liverpool are Premier League champions.

Manchester City's 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Thursday finally made it mathematically impossible for Pep Guardiola's men to catch the Reds, leaving Liverpool to celebrate a first ever Premier League title.

Having come close to ending their barren run a few times over the past three decades before falling short, Liverpool were plagued by suggestions they may not be able to handle the pressure in their quest to claim a first league championship since 1990.

But in reality this was a forgone conclusion for a long time, having dropped points just once in their first 27 league matches this term.

Following confirmation of their historic achievement, we crunched the Opta numbers and looked at the key areas of their squad this season.

Dynamic and dependable at the back

Liverpool's excellence in attack is obvious – few clubs in Europe can boast a more effective front three, but at the back they are similarly impressive.

Virgil van Dijk is the key figure, of course, and the Dutchman has led by example from the back again this term. He has started all 31 of Liverpool's matches, the only Reds player to do so, and he has helped keep a league-high 14 clean sheets.

But Alisson's importance is also easy to highlight. The Brazilian missed a chunk of the season due to injury, yet he's only two shy of Van Dijk in the clean sheet stakes.

But in the modern game there is more to defenders than just ensuring the opposition don't score – full-backs are expected to be creative, and Liverpool embody that perfectly.

Trent Alexander-Arnold has laid on 12 assists this season – a figure bettered only by Kevin De Bruyne – and created 78 chances, 29 more than the Reds' second most creative player. On top of that, Andy Robertson has eight assists to his name, the joint-fourth best in the league.

Henderson the unsung hero in midfield

Throughout his career, Jordan Henderson has polarised opinion – but the only point of view that counts here is Klopp's, and the data shows the former Sunderland star's influence.

Since Klopp joined the club, Liverpool's win frequency in the league is 13 per cent better with Henderson in the team than when he is absent.

Indeed, their solitary league defeat this term – at Watford in February – came when Henderson was not in the team.

Henderson has played 125 Premier League matches for Klopp, losing just 11. In the same period, the Reds have lost 10 times from just 50 games without him.

He may not attract the plaudits like those scoring and creating the goals, but there's little doubt his functionality helps Liverpool and aids their more technically gifted superstars.

Triple threat

Is there a better front three in world football than Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah? While difficult to absolutely prove, they are undoubtedly vital to this Liverpool team.

All three are in double figures for goal involvements, with Firmino on 15 (eight goals, seven assists), 22 for Mane (15 goals, seven assists) and Salah in front with 24 (17 goals, seven assists).

Salah has found the net every 137 minutes in the league this term, the best in the team, though Mane's 25 per cent conversion rate is significantly better than the Egyptian's 17 per cent.

All three have a habit of being decisive when it matters too. No one in the entire league has scored more winning goals than Salah (seven), though Mane and Firmino are just behind him with six.

Similarly, Mane's 15 goals have led to 18 points, a Premier League-high in 2019-20.

Liverpool have been utterly ruthless this season, their remarkable 23-point cushion after 31 matches undeniable proof of their relentlessness and brilliance.

Having achieved levels of consistency that have effectively never been seen before in the Premier League era, one has to wonder what it will take to stop Klopp's Reds.

Related news

Liverpool win Premier League: Where the title was won and lost

3 months ago

Liverpool win Premier League: The earliest title wins across Europe's top five divisions

3 months ago

You'd have been sectioned! Dalglish never expected 30-year wait for Liverpool title

3 months ago

Liverpool win the Premier League: Who is the Reds' player of the season?

3 months ago

Liverpool are one of the best teams in Premier League history – Owen

3 months ago

When Liverpool last won the league: Poll Tax riots, ALDI arrives, Germany unites and The Simpsons

3 months ago

Chelsea 2-1 Manchester City: Pulisic and Willian down 10-man visitors to crown Liverpool

3 months ago

Liverpool win the Premier League title

3 months ago

'Incredible' Nketiah thrills as Arteta reminds Saka he has everything he needs at Arsenal

3 months ago

Arsenal rewarded for hard work with Southampton win, says Nketiah

3 months ago

Burnley 1-0 Watford: Rodriguez grabs winner at Turf Moor

3 months ago

Southampton 0-2 Arsenal: Nketiah, Willock decisive as Arteta gets response

3 months ago

Liverpool confirm Clyne departure

3 months ago

Carroll and Manquillo sign Newcastle deals, Longstaff agrees short-term extension

3 months ago

Liverpool to face Man City at Etihad as council rules out need for neutral venue

3 months ago

Tierney: 'Light at the end of the tunnel' for Arteta's Arsenal

3 months ago

Rumour Has It: Man City favourites to sign Koulibaly, Cavani and Aubameyang alternatives for Barca

3 months ago

Matic pleased for Man Utd's hat-trick hero Martial, happy to play with Pogba and Fernandes

3 months ago

It's just a matter of how many points they win it by – Hodgson congratulates Liverpool

3 months ago