Liverpool smash records as scoring rampage continues; Reds' playing shape, attacking threats, scorers, creators, positioning, xG data, shot maps and pass maps analysed
Wednesday 1 December 2021 22:43, UK
Liverpool smashed two significant records as Jurgen Klopp's side moved within two points of league leaders Chelsea with a 4-0 win over Southampton on Saturday.
The Reds have now scored a league-topping 39 goals - their highest ever goal total at this stage of a top-flight campaign - and became only the second English top-flight club to score two or more goals in 17 consecutive games in all competitions.
Sunderland scored two or more goals for 17 consecutive games in 1927.
But the impressive returns extend across a raft of attacking metrics, recording league-high figures for expected goals, shots, shots on target, assists, expected assists and chances created.
The graphic below shows Liverpool's average positions with common passing combinations between positions - with larger circles representing a higher frequency of passes - in addition to attacking threat down the final-third channels.
The visualisations reveal all defenders and midfielders attempt passes in almost equal measure, typically working the ball out to the wide channels - with 41 per cent of attacks building down the right flank.
That right-sided threat can also be seen in the assist map below, with a high frequency of longer passes fired from that favoured channel, while the Reds have notched only one solitary assist from a left-sided pass into the box to date.
Mohamed Salah has clearly played a pivotal role in the recent goal records, scoring a league-high 11 goals and notching a league-high eight assists - culminating in, you've guessed it, a league-high 19 goal involvements.
That tally for league involvements is merely one shy of doubling his nearest rivals: Jamie Vardy and Emmanuel Dennis. Indeed, Salah has been involved in 25 goals in all competitions - more than double that of any other Premier League player.
Salah headlines the devastating attack, but is far from being the solitary source. Three other Liverpool players rank joint-fifth in the Premier League with eight goal involvements: Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Looking purely at goals, the formidable options of Salah, Mane, Jota and Roberto Firmino all produce sensational per-90 returns.
Firmino's game time has been curtailed to merely 369 league minutes, largely due to injuries and the emergence of Jota - but the Brazilian actually has the best goal ratio at the club this term with 0.98 per 90 after his hat-trick against Watford.
In terms of the creators, as previously mentioned, Salah also tops the assist chart, but right-back Alexander-Arnold is one shy of the Egypt international and leads the ways for chances created and assists per 90.
Salah's positioning and movements differ somewhat from the remaining three-man cast in Liverpool's attack, with a concentrated area of touches down the right-hand touchline, inside the opposition half.
The chances created map below shows how that hot spot of activity above is also the Egyptian's prime area for carving opportunities for team-mates, while his drives into the box and customary cut-backs produce almost all of his shots.
In contrast to Salah's heat map, Mane and Jota venture infield far more frequently, with the latter having a higher proportion of touches in the opposition box - while Firmino plays deeper in his unorthodox false-nine role.
Interestingly, Mane and Jota are locked on seven goals each but also fire attempts from similar areas. However, the map below supports the heat maps above - suggesting Jota pops up to convert in the six-yard box more frequently.
Of course, Alexander-Arnold supports Salah down Liverpool's deadly right channel and has matched the seven assists from last season already - on course to smash his season-best of 13 assists set in 2019/20.
The map below shows every pass leading to a shot made by the 23-year-old and counterpart full-back Andrew Robertson, revealing the overwhelming skew of threat coming down the right channel - albeit from Robertson playing 176 minutes fewer.
Finally, it would be unfair to leave Jordan Henderson out of the creative fold, having also notched two league assists this season and ranking behind only Alexander-Arnold and Salah for chances created.
Again, the Liverpool captain typically starts on the right side of a three-man midfield, with the majority of his passes also occurring just inside the opposition half, down that right flank, while also moving into central areas in both halves to sweep up and penetrate.
Next up for Liverpool is the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Wednesday evening, when Klopp's side will look to capitalise on an out-of-form Everton side to maintain momentum in their title tilt. Will the goal rampage keep roaring?
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