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Goal crazy

Martin Tyler - Martin Tyler (Football Commentator & Columnist) Posted 17th April 2014 view comments

Tyler's Teaser

Every week, Martin will set you a question of his own to get your grey matter working. Click above for this week's Tyler's Teaser - which was recorded at Anfield ahead of Liverpool's clash with Manchester City

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I was at Anfield on Sunday to see Liverpool take charge in the Premier League title race as Manchester City's Merseyside misery continued. Joe Hart made his 250th City appearance and during his time there they have never won at Anfield. They have taken victory there just twice in 60 years, with their last success - and solitary win at Liverpool in the Premier League era - coming in 2003.

The crucial win for Brendan Rodgers' men was their 10th straight Premier League victory - last time the Reds achieved this feat was in 2004/05 when they finished third behind Manchester United and champions Chelsea.

Raheem Sterling's opener in the 3-2 win was Liverpool's 100th goal in all competitions this season. His sixth-minute strike was also the quickest Manuel Pellegrini's men have conceded this season in the Premier League - before Sunday they were the only team in the top flight not to have conceded in the first quarter of an hour.

The previous fastest was against the Reds' Merseyside rivals back in October, as Romelu Lukaku netted in the 16th minute to put Everton in front at the Etihad, although on that occasion they turned things around as Alvaro Negredo equalised 90 seconds later before Sergio Aguero, and a Tim Howard own goal, sealed a 3-1 victory.

After Wednesday night's 2-2 draw with Sunderland, they've now scored 142 goals in all competitions this season, and need six more from five games to surpass Chelsea's record of 147 last term.

It promises to be a fascinating climax to the season, and this is the first time since 1977 when both City and Liverpool have been challenging for the title at such a late stage. On April 9 1977 Liverpool beat City 2-1 at Anfield on their way to winning the league a point ahead of their opponents, but who will come out on top this time around?

Three's company

Liverpool beat Man City 3-2 despite neither of Luis Suarez or Daniel Sturridge scoring. When was the last time Liverpool scored three or more in a match without either of these players getting on the scoresheet?Stuart

MARTIN SAYS: Sunday's five-goal thriller was the 20th time Liverpool have scored three or more in the Premier League this season, and I can tell you that was the first occasion on which neither of the Reds' deadly SAS have been amongst the goals.

It is actually the first time this has happened since Sturridge moved to Anfield in January 2013. With Opta's help, I can confirm the 3-2 victory at West Ham on December 9 2012 was the last time Brendan Rodgers' side scored at least three without Suarez or Sturridge on the scoresheet.

Glen Johnson and Joe Cole netted that day, before James Collins diverted the ball past his own goalkeeper for Liverpool's winner, although the panel awarded it to Jonjo Shelvey, much to his surprise!

Beat the rest

After beating Man City at the weekend, Liverpool have now beaten 17 of their 19 Premier League opponents at least once this season. If they beat Chelsea and Newcastle at home, they will have beaten all 19 opponents in the course of the season. How many times has this feat been achieved? Does the side that beats the most teams at least once in a season usually win the league? Steve

MARTIN SAYS: I can tell you Chelsea, with thanks to Opta, were victorious over every other team in the league on their way to lifting the Premier League trophy in 2005/06, as were Manchester United in 2010/11.

The good news for Liverpool, though, is that five teams have beaten 18 of the other 19 sides and have all still won the title, so they could fail to beat one of Chelsea or Newcastle and still be crowned champions.

Chelsea, though, already have victories over 18 sides but cannot improve on that as they failed to beat West Brom in both their meetings, and could become the first side to fail to win the Premier League in doing so, with their trip to Liverpool looking more and more crucial.

Surprisingly, the Arsenal invincibles of 2003/04 aren't in the 18+ club, as they drew with Manchester United and Portsmouth home and away, giving them wins over just 17 of their opponents that year.

Here are the sides who have beaten at least 18 of their 19 Premier League opponents:

SeasonTeamTeams beatenFinal position
2010/11Manchester United191st
1999/00Manchester United181st
2007/08Manchester United181st
2011/12Manchester City181st
2012/13Manchester United181st

Ton up for two

Liverpool and Man City are edging towards 100 goals each for the season - has that ever happened before?Morris10

MARTIN SAYS: You have to go all the way back to the 1960/61 season to see multiple teams score over 100 goals. According to Opta, Tottenham scored 115, Wolverhampton Wanderers 103, and Burnley 102 that season.

This had already happened six times before, so if Liverpool and Manchester City make it to a century it will be the eighth time in English top-flight history more than one team has scored a century of league goals.

That said, the 1960/61 season saw 22 teams in the First Division (as it was then), whereas we're down to a 38-game Premier League season nowadays.

Liverpool need seven more from their final four games to make the ton, while City have five games to net 12 goals.

Charging up the table

Crystal Palace are now up to 11th place after looking bound for relegation before the turn of the year. What's the highest position a club has finished in when they've been in the bottom three on Christmas Day?Romo

MARTIN SAYS: It is, in fact, Manchester City who produced the biggest leap up the table from the drop zone. They were down in 18th place but a superb run saw them sneak into the top half to finish 10th in the table, and this was only five years ago in 2008/09 - just three seasons before they won the Premier League title.

If Crystal Palace keep up their outstanding form and secure their current position of 11th place it will be the second biggest climb by a club in the bottom three on Christmas Day.

In 1996/97 TWO teams managed to push their way out of the relegation zone as Middlesbrough moved up to 14th from a Christmas position of 18th, while Blackburn Rovers leapfrogged the Teessiders as they went from 19th all the way up to 13th.

Thanks to Opta, here are the sides who have climbed the most places after sitting in the drop zone at Christmas:

SeasonTeamPosition on Christmas DayFinal Position
Blackburn Rovers1996/9719th13th
Wigan Athletic2007/0819th14th
Manchester City2008/0918th10th
Bolton Wanderers2009/1018th14th

For and against

Tottenham's 3-3 draw at West Brom meant their goal difference stayed at exactly zero. How many times have teams ended the season with that, and where have they finished in the league?Mark Foster

MARTIN SAYS: Goal difference was introduced in England in the 1976/77 season, and since then six teams have achieved this feat. Believe it or not, if Tottenham finish with a goal difference of zero at the end of the season, it won't be the first time they've done so. Spurs scored 45 and conceded 45 in the 2008/09 season as they finished in eighth place in the Premier League.

The highest finish, though, was achieved by Charlton Athletic, who netted 51 times and conceded the same amount as they ended up in seventh place in 2003/04, agonisingly missing out on a place in Europe after a fine season.

Aston Villa hold the record for the most points with a goal difference of zero as they registered 56 points in 1984/85, and in the 38-game format Leicester City came eighth in 1999/00 with a points tally of 55 which, coincidentally, is the same number of goals they scored and conceded.

Here, thanks to Opta, are the records of all sides who have finished with a goal difference of zero:

1984/85Aston Villa42151116606005610th
1999/00Leicester City381671555550558th
2003/04Charlton Athletic3814111351510537th

Striking droughts

Michu scored 18 league goals in his first season at Swansea and has just two in this campaign. Has any other player experienced a second-season drought as extreme as this after an impressive debut year? Barry

MARTIN SAYS: Our friends Opta have been digging through the Premier League archives, and I can tell you that Michu's drop of 16 goals from 18 his debut season to just two this term is the joint-biggest along with Kevin Phillips' 2000/01 campaign at Sunderland.

It wasn't Phillips' debut Premier League season with the Black Cats, though, and he still scored 14 goals that term after joining the elite 30 club the previous year. Michu, meanwhile, has had a season blighted by injury and has made half as many appearances this term (17), but is nowhere near half as many goals.

Roque Santa Cruz is one behind those two after he endured a barren second season at Blackburn Rovers, netting just four times in the Premier League in 2008/09 after scoring 19 the year before.

Robinho enjoyed a much better season than his fellow South American, scoring 14 Premier League goals for Manchester City after his dramatic deadline-day move to England in 2008/09, but in his second term at the Etihad he failed to score in 10 top-flight appearances before joining Santos on loan in January of that season.

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